Old School House 1

A short recording from the veranda of The Old School House, St Helena, South Atlantic


For Our Argument

The last 12 minutes.
Spilt retina.
Into black lion’s mane around my collar.
And I want to slit it’s throat
And push this day into it.
Extracting the beautiful and deconstructing origami folds
Into unsavoury layers of green at the surface.
The world turns to balloon skin.
And my hairs are eel’s teeth.
I can hardly open my eyes in this black,
And I hardly want to,
So I pull my head in
Exhaling my own surface
Eyes rolling and still can’t see out the back of my head
Picking blackberry out of my teeth
Feeding ungrateful pets.
Black Paper Swan swims down
Along the pouring black waterfalls.
And the black rocks
at the bottom,
recall nothing of crushing their own.


The three small creases on the top of the joint below a fingernail.
A blue grey                         silence a chimney through the window. A headache.
A curve in no direction.

A curb. A foot on the curb. A foot on the road. A foot on the curb. A road. A cigarette. A yawn. A few thousand raindrops sprayed on tarmac by tyres. A red light. Check my phone. A stand still.

A curve in no direction.

See you tonight.

Jewel Wasp to Pipe

Today I was sat on my verandah watching Jewel Wasps crawl across the tiles. Not feeling energetic enough to trek to a location to record, especially before my night shift at “The Muleyard”, especially as my rechargables need recharging, especially as it’s really hot, and especially as I’ve walked  Shark’s Valley twice  and Jacob’s Ladder three times this week. I have a radio jingle to write, asked of me by a friend who hasn’t heard the music I actually make, I don’t want to write a jingle, I also don’t want to let them down, they made me pancakes, will do it later. I also have a radio show to make, an opportunity to make something cool, using the sounds of the island, I’m looking forward to finishing it, but not now. 
It’s too hot to slob out, to do nothing.
I want to record the cactus and rust, but they make no sound. I want to make a sound like cactus and rust. What sound can make you think of cactus and rust?
I watch a Jewel Wasp (a shiny green parasitic wasp from Africa that seeks out to control the minds of cockroaches, there are  plenty of both) climb a beam to the tin roof. I sip coffee.
The last week has been torrential rain, intermitent but regular. Today is hot. Things are dry. The gutters are dry. The pipe that drains the gutter water is dry. I stick a microphone in it. A cheap microphone I brought years ago for £10 from Maplin. I felt more comfortable being a bit brutal with this mic, I’d be too scared to use my semi-expensive ones. 
I use a machete to stuff it further into the pipe. I put the recorder and headphones on the ledge, arms reach from the verandah chairs, I go round and take my seat, I lean forward for the headphones, I hit record.
The pipe acted as a plastic digereedoo. An echo chamber. The sound of cars passing, the wind, Myna Birds, Finches, Cockerels, and barking dogs are all filtered into a synthesizer like resonance. The sound of a car passing, in the pipe, is the sound of 3 cars passing slighly out of phase. The sound is subtle, but obvious. Strong wind makes the best sound. I will record more, I will record more today and on a windier night.

7/11/2015. Bovine Reverberations


Yesterday I experienced the most incredible natural reverb I’ve ever heard. It was at Thompson’s Forrest, around 2pm within a pasture littered with boulders. The boulders dotted the earth, giving the impression of a graveyard of which the tombstones had become globules under heavy erosion. One exceptionally large one, on which we had lunch, bore some
scaled down resemblelance to the volcanic monolith I’m am now a resident (we got our one year stay visa).

Surrounding the pasture, like most parts of the island, were hills thick with trees, plants and vegetation. In equal parts familiar and highly exotic. This particular pasture seemed to be the bottom of a huge bowl. A huge bowl that I’d discover was a resonator.

We finished our lunch, on this rock on a rock, and we thumbed our way through an old guide to walks on the island. Having become lost and confused by our historical (and now irrelevant) walking guide, cows began galloping individually down the hill opposite. After a few had gathered at the bottom, huddled in a corner they began to call, possibly to the
ones left above.

Their gutteral vocalisations, ranging from deep bassy grunts to mid to high whines were astonishing. The range and complexity of their timbres beautiful. But like all of us, they found themselves within a place. My understanding of the science behind reverberation is quite limited, so I can only guess that the curvature of the landscape and a richochet off
of the forest created an incredible echo and reverb, and in exquistly obvious stereo.

The cows in the bottom left of a hillside would call, the echo would appear to the right and then a reverberation, stretched seemingly into forever on the hard right. I imagined this sound as a sheet being pulled over the hill, touching everthing until being eaten by the ocean and popping into extinction as water spray.

Unfortunately I was an unprepared witness, carrying only a small portable sound recorder that is unequipped to deal with the omni-present lashings of the wind. I recorded for 8 minutes. The recording captures this phenemona well, but is of course scattered with distorting low-end wind.