16/11/17 – 29/11/17

Sonic Mmabolela’ is a 2-week residency for sound artists and composers with previous experience in the area of sound experimentation and sound recordings at Mmabolela Reserve, in the Limpopo province of South Africa, right at the border with Botswana. The residency is led by sound artists Francisco Lopez and Barbara Ellison.
Over the two weeks at Mmabolela we discussed the theory behind environmental recordings and sound art with a special focus on creative approaches to the work with environmental sound recordings, as well as the role of listening, through an extensive exploration of natural sound environments.
The residency also involved various field trips across Mmabolela (both diurnal and nocturnal) where we had extensive listening sessions, recording sessions and outdoor ‘concerts’. We also had studio sessions where we listened to and developed materials, presentations of our own work to the other artists and finally, developed, realized and presented a sound piece with original sound materials gathered throughout the residency (mine was titled Paddabolela and is below).
Paddabolela was composed using field recordings from a sound artist residency at Mmabolela Reserve, South Africa in 2017. Using advance technologies to capture sound, the piece looks to preserve sounds of the natural environment and engage the audience with an immersive listening experience through the use of multi-channel and ambisonic techniques. The piece takes the listener on a journey through different sound worlds of the South African terrain using a combination of natural sounds and sounds that have been abstracted to bring out an alternative sonic reality, creating an all-encompassing listening experience of the soundscape.
Paddabolela was released via the Sonic Mmabolela 2017 Album on the Free Music Archive.
It has been performed internationally, including at BEAST FEAST 2018 (UK) , Spektra 2018 (Columbia), Ecoacoustics Congress 2018 (Brisbane) and The Global Composition 2018 (Germany).
I had a paper published in The Global Composition 2018 proceedings publication titled 'Paddabolela'.

Paddabolela Multichannel Installation at The Global Composition 2018

I have just finished composing a series of four compositions developed using the field recordings made on the Sonic Mmabolela residency.
Limpopo is the second piece in this series, created using field recordings that all contain natural rhythms. The recordings have been filtered, layered and sculpted in to a five minute immersive soundscape composition. Heavily influenced by the work of Francisco Lopez and the discussions on the residency itself, the piece attempts to create a "hyper-reality" of the natural soundscapes heard during our time at the Mmabolela Estate.
Mmabolela is the third piece in the series of works composed using recordings from the Sonic Mmabolela 2017 Residency with Francisco Lopez. The 16-channel piece has been composed using ambisonic recordings and spatialisation techniques and multichannel processing, creating a highly accurate three-dimensional recreation of the natural environment. Rather than keeping the recordings natural, my compositional approach was to create a series of interweaving constructed realities based upon ‘snap-shots’ of the many recording locations visited during the residency.
From the palm-strewn banks of the Limpopo River to the dark depths of the Hippo Pool, Mmabolela transports the listener through the soundscapes of this remote location in South Africa. A series of interweaving ‘snap-shots’ and constructed realities based upon the many recording locations visited during the 2017 Sonic Mmabolela residency transport the listener to this hyperreal time and place. This work has been composed using ambisonic recordings and is the final piece in a series of three works resulting from the residency.
The final piece in the series is a commission for The Paper Museum - Barber Late.
My initial inspiration for this soundscape came from seeing the image of the African Civet from the Cassiano dal Pozzo’s paper museum exhibition. Having recently been on a recording trip to the native home of the animal, sub-Saharan Africa, I thought it would be fitting to use these site-specific environmental recordings. Having looked at the images in the exhibition, further inspiration came from the various bird images, including the Bird Mosaic. Almost all of the recordings from my trip predominantly feature the sound of various bird calls, especially those recording taken during the dawn and dusk choruses. Therefore, this soundscape is almost a mosaic of natural bird calls recorded at various locations and different types of terrains in Limpopo, South Africa. The soundscape intends to immerse the listener in a slowly evolving wave of bird calls that have been shaped and sculpted together, creating a hyper-reality of the natural environment.

Stereo installation for Barber Late 2019. Image courtesy of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Image courtesy of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

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