After a few weeks of time off from the internship due to a house move, holidays, e.t.c. I was back at Glen Finglas to finalise the audio interpretation work for the internship project.
The blackbox device had been sent off to the manufacturers to get re-programmed in the hope that this may solve the technical problems with uploading sounds which were encountered previously. After some trepidation, two computers and three USB sticks later, Gwen and I finally managed to get the sounds works uploaded! *clapping, cheering, whay hay, whoops*!
We decided on an order for the tracks based upon the upcoming season – Autumn. For this we also used the sound qualities of each piece to provide a variety of sound combinations. E.g. a piece with water is followed on by a piece with walking and we have a variety of different voices featuring for each piece. Once we had the order finalised it was time to install the Blackbox device on site near Little Druim Woods.
After the installation we checked the volume levels on the device to make sure that the tracks could be heard at the listening post area. This was vital as the listening post is situated near a road and it was a concern that traffic noise would affect the audibility of the sound work. I had increased the volume levels as I edited the work to compensate for this perceived issue and I was thankful that I did so as we were able to hear the sound work clearly, even with the traffic noise.
The nitty gritty: The Blackbox device can hold up to 8 tracks in mp3 format. These are installed via a specially provided USB stick and adapter which plugs into the device. All tracks are installed on the device indefinitely and these can be changed as required. A track is selected by turning the dial and power is provided by a dynamo. Once you’ve chosen your track, simply wind up the dynamo until your track plays.
Now it was time for a celebratory cup of tea and a well earned dog walk through the glen with Nacho (who had been waiting patiently all morning).
After last weeks technology issues, I’ve returned to editing new material with enthusiasm. The new tracks below are the written work of Glen Finglas volunteer Gill Walker (@Gillw10). Gill is a keen outdoor and environmental enthusiast and a current upland paths maintenance trainee with the Mountains and the People project in Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. She takes us on her seasonal journey within Glen Finglas.
It’s been a wee while since my last blog update so this post will cover a few things that have developed in the project from June. I have collected some additional field recordings over the last two weeks including some great recordings of walks, four footed friends and a mistle thrush to use. I also got some additional contributions from Glen Finglas volunteer Gill Walker who’s spoken word materials include a quote from John Ruskin and her descriptions of Glen Finglas throughout the seasons. We also did some field and spoken word recordings together.
Once we entered July, I paid another visit to Gwen Raes the site ranger at Glen Finglas. As I now have over 9 recordings completed we wanted to try out a selection on the Blackbox player that will be located on site for visitors to use to play the work. The device works by copying and hosting a selection of up to 8 audio tracks which are then played back through an internal speaker. A visitor selects their chosen track number and winds the dynamo to power up the machine. It is weather proof and we found out that it can play back pretty loud!
Armed with our sound selections we began our first upload to the device with the aim of then taking it outside to the listening post so hear the audio work in situ. Unfortunately our great plan was thwarted as the Blackbox player was unable to communicate with the USB drive as this was password protected. Gwen and I will meet again next week to try again with another USB drive and hopefully we can get our upload completed successfully.
…and it was all going so smoothly…
After a few weeks of reflecting on the audio that I have already completed, I was pleased to receive feedback from the Glen Finglas site ranger Gwen Raes. She is very happy with how the sound work is developing and even has a few favourites already:- Haiku 2 Lendrick Hill and Dam Loop, Poem 3 Lendrick Hill and Dam Loop, Poem 5 Lendrick Hill and Dam Loop and Royal Mail Lower Lendrick Loop.
I have some additional poems to work on that will need to be recorded. I will also need to record some additional field recordings and natural sounds that will sit underneath the spoken words.
It is written on the arched sky;
It looks out from every star.
It is the poetry of Nature;
It is that which uplifts the spirit within us
– John Ruskin, provided by Gill Walker
Bell flowers hanging down, hiding bright white
Calm, soothing little flower
Lightens up ones soul and mind
Here for a short time, they come and are gone
Little clusters unlocking natures beauty early spring
Surrounded by tree, deer and birds orchestra
Carpet of purple and blue covering woodland floor
– Bluebell Poem, Gwen Raes
After a few weekends of editing I have completed some of my tracks for the Interpretation Internship work. Six are finished to date – these all incorporate field recordings, creative writings that have been recorded as spoken word and recordings of movements thorough a landscape such as walking and gates.
After a catch up meeting with the site ranger, we have decided to allocate each recording to a specific area of Glen Finglas. Towards the end of the project we hope to have a body of recordings that provide an interpretation and that will reflect on all the walks that visitors can choose to enjoy on site.
A few more audio recordings to get working on over the next month!