Tuesday, 7 April 2015

The Astor

Since learning of The Astor possible immanent closure, These last couple of months I have been visiting the Art Deco cinema almost on a weekly basis and have once again totally fallen in love with the space. Apart from seeing great classics on the big screen the thing that I cherish most is the smell of the place, I just simply can't describe it in words - but it really strikes directly to the heart. I am also affected by the acoustics of the building, and find listening to the sounds of my fellow movie goers to be a very warm, intimate and sensual experience - particularly in those brief moments of silence when a show is about to begin and every one is going into quiet mode. During these times one can appreciate the sounds of subtle movements including: breath, creaking of leather seats, reaching for then eating popcorn, sniffing, coughing, and concentrating. For me these activities are exquisite.

Friday, 13 February 2015

lava-red, ocher and yellow swirling tribal rock formations etched into the mountainside.

Last night, a quest and a battle of the most grave importance was taking place on a fiery and immense, silvery-black mountain. There was a group of us on the edge of a cliff, drawing up a plan of attack in order to defeat whatever lay beyond the ridge. The landscape was exquisite, with laver-red, ocher and yellow swirling tribal rock formations etched into the mountainside, which was illuminated by a fiery-red glow mixed in with a silvery-while light.

After devising our plan we set off for the attack, but in that very instance I found myself frozen in a hidden pocket of the mountain's steep, where, a bed with pearl colour silk sheets stood with three women laying on top of it, all of whom were all having sex with one-another in a single line formation, and at the end of this line sat a crosslegged baby who was mechanically yet intently writing scrolls. At this point, I was told that all this was just an illusion and that I was in fact under the spell of a demon, and that the only way out, was for a potion/wine to be consumed. The next moment the baby was clumsily pouring splashes of golden-white liquid into the mouths of the unconscious then stroking their throats to to guide the liquid down. Eventually the wine began to take effect; although, I just couldn't be certain who it was helping! Were the women actually the demon who was meant to be sedated, or were we the women in need of the potion to break the demons spell? In this instance I realised that I had completely forgotten all the details, actions and meaning of the initial quest prior to this spell, and had no idea where to go or what to do from this point on. I tried focusing with all my might but simply could not remember any past events, nor could I work out any meaning behind the demons, the spell, the women and the baby - I knew they were all important elements - but I just couldn't resolve them.

In this conundrum I semi-awoke back to waking life, but was still clutching onto the remnants of my dream, and still very much tormented by the fact that I couldn't remember any details of the quest before the spell. Sitting up, I absorbed my surroundings and was stricken with fear from the deathly silence of my modern grey bedroom. The scenery was different but the air, time and flow was that of my dream. I lay back down for a minute and once again reconsidered any possible meaning behind the quest and wondered why I couldn't remember it; It was so vivid and important but I just couldn't recall or prove it to myself - the more I thought about it, the more I began to consider that this whole situation was either just the result of a demon implanting the notion of a memory into my head to confuse me, or that I could simply not remember anything because I was still under the demon's spell? The only thing certain, was the mountain, it's patterns, the women on the bed, the child, and the spell.

Needing to go to the toilet, I slowly began to get out of bed but was instantly confronted with the profound sight of my closet door wide open, and the cold blackness inside - I questioned the relationship of the closet door to the situation and remembered how a black abyss can suck ones Qi and memories away. After pondering this this for a minute the door to my room slightly opened and a small amount of bluey-orange light flickered over my walls, trying to signal something to me which I just couldn't grasp. Being now stricken with fear but busting to pee, I cautiously got up and went to the waterloo. As soon as I opened the bathroom door I notices a particular sinisterness to my bathroom mirror, and on closer inspection realised that it was clearly just a guise for a window leading straight back into my dream - where the demon was still waiting. Being pretty freaked out about all this, I shook my head a few times and decided to cerebrally dismiss it all as a strange dream/delusion which I just had to block out. I then relieved myself and returned to my room; still in fear I turned on my bedroom light, closed the closet door, and prayed that there would be no retribution for these acts.

I would definitely say this dreamed leaned closer to a nightmare, but the production quality was so great that I am very thankful to have had such an experience, and the thought of being spellbound by a demon who has implanted false memories has really given me something worth thinking about.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015


Not so long ago I read Bram Stoker's 'Dracular,' which I found to be a fabulously dark and imaginative novel. Having watched Francis Ford Coppola's 90s movie-version several times, and having experienced countless other vampire stories as well, I entered the book with a somewhat preconceived and tainted picture of the world of 'Dracula' and its characters - which at times I found quite hard to shake off. For instance, so many of the myths and tales surrounding vampires (which I imagine would have appeared fresh for the times) came across as quite cliché and predictable. Also, no matter what angle I took, I just couldn't detach Kiano reeves from Mr Harker and Wyona Ryder from Nina  - although by the end of the book these characters did mutate into something more abstract and personal. Interestingly enough though, I did manage to quickly re-mould Dracula himself into something very different - without even the slightest memory of Coppola's character lingering.

All in all, I found the novel to be an excellent and engaging read. I actually haven't read all that much from 100 years ago and was surprised how contemporary a great deal of the language/writing appeared.  for me, the greatest strength in 'Dracula' lay in Stoker's exquisitely descriptive writing style, which I found to be highly captivating and immersive. These passages, which mainly manifested through everything to do with the Count; possessed a hypnotic rhythm, bending and distorting the flow of time and space, and very much evoked strong imagery and sensations - which surprised me, as I don't think I have had such experiences watching any explicit modern day horror films.

in hindsight, I think what interests me the most about this novel though, is the delicately balanced dichotomies such as: Good/evil - order/chaos - tamed/wild - that the story plays with, and how these polarities modulated and aroused my attention throughout the chapters . For instance the overly polite and composed language/interactions between the "good" characters (which I was initially irritating by), turned out to actually strengthen the book's dark qualities; as these contrived and controlled twee sensibilities provided  great contrast and added perverseness to the encounters with the unbridled, wild, and brutal Dracula and Renfield. Although, it definitely did have its difficult and often annoying moments that challenged my attention and at times disengaged me from the book. Mainly, the alliance formed to fight Dracula felt contrived and absurdly far-fetched. It sort of painted this all too clever 'murder mystery' type situation where the characters/investigators devise unusually sophisticated and intricate plans with endless well thought-out contingencies - which I felt greatly compromised any sense of panic, confusion, and chaos in the story. Moreover, it really bugged me that through order and planning, the alliance prevailed, to defeat Dracula. Of course, I understand a certain amount of planing had to take place to track his whereabouts, but it just felt all too calculated; I would of much preferred for blind and passionate persistence to lead the characters to a chance encounter with such a supernatural (and I would think to be an incalculable) being, instead of some clever wit.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The ocean

Right, so it's been almost a month since I decided to keep an ACTIVE blog; but sadly, I've been way too lazy and haven't added any new entries - although I haven't given up yet. I have about 3 drafts floating around, which I hope to start posting over the next few days, and have also began a small little writing exercise which involves writing (spurting out in a constant stream) ever morning, whatever nonsense comes to mind. I am really enjoying this process and quite surprised by the (creative yet perverse) material that I come up with; I'm sure that a psychoanalyst would uncover a lot of dark fantasies/fears/secrets from these passages and maybe I shouldn't be putting them online, but saying that, there is something quite therapeutic in posting these entries openly.

Today though, I would like to write a little bit about the ocean. I have always found watching and listening to the ocean; particularly the wild deep-blue ocean, to be a very deep, reflective, liberating and often cathartic experience. There's just something overpowering about an endless volume of water that makes me feel so irrelevant (in a good way), and last week, on my summer holiday at the Victorian coast, I managed to have three of these strong experiences. 

The first encounter was at Cape Patterson. On a super windy day I took my baby girl, who at the time was sound asleep in a harness attached onto me, on a walk over rocks and rock-pools to the end point of the cape (a long triangular shaped group of rocks, stretching a 100mt or so, from the shore into the ocean). It took about 30 min to negotiate a path, as I couldn't see where I was stepping because of Soleil resting on my torso, and the strong winds were really messing with my balance - but in a funny way, having my daughter with me made this risky pastime of jumping from rock to rock all the more special. Apart from the two of us there weren't any other souls on the cape, except for some large black birds who were conjugating in a ritualistic type circle, and I guess, some marine life nestled in-between the rocks. The wind was really fierce at the tip and the waves dramatically danced around, and crashed into rocks, only a few meters from where we were standing. At the end of the walk, I took a few minutes to simply stare out to the deep blue, endless ocean; which has always had this fantastic way of numbing all my thoughts and commanding my complete attention. After a few minutes, my gaze began to slowly drift further and further out, and I found myself pondering what it would be like to live in the ocean, and to be an ocean? This whole process felt like a meditation, as at some point I found that I unconsciously began reflecting on my own existence (past/present/future) in a much more detached way than I usually would. I also find the sound of the ocean very much contributes to the meditation; it's something very close to white noise, but has a very lulling rhythm to it. I guess in many ways, the immense material volume of the ocean very much is reflected in it's sound, which is immense with all frequencies present; slowly oscillating and modulating. 

The next ocean experience was at Wilsons Promontory's Squeaky beach.  The beach and ocean were surprisingly empty, with barely anyone around except for a few boogie boarders. The overall landscape was quite surreal;  the sand was unusually white, the water was a crystal clear turquoise, and some large rock islands sat in the ocean with a sort of primordial presence.  It was a fairly cold day and the water was pretty cold as well, but as the surf were good and strong I decided to jump in and swim through/under/over waves;  a joy i have cherished since being a young boy. I ended up spending a couple of hours on and off,  just diving under the waves whilst they crash, and floating up and over their undulating ridges. This took a fair bit of energy to keep up, but I felt very relaxed  (and sort of cleansed) afterwards. I also had a great time watching my daughter play, apart from some gentle bay experiences, it was baby Soleil's first real (conscious) experience with a wild surf beach, and she was really digging it. She took her tiny little steps along the sand, ever so slowly making her way to the surf. I could only imagine what it would feel like, to encounter this for the first time - magnificent stuff.

My third ocean encounter was viewing the waves smash against the large, pointy, granite rock formations, which sat in the ocean, about 10-15mt from the cliffs at Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island.
Watching the water being sucked towards the cliff was quite a surreal and almost hypnotic experience. As these huge swells and waves appeared to move in slow motion towards the rocks and cliff, then with a forceful bang, exploded on the rock, shooting spray 10mt up in the air. At times I felt quite dizzy looking at it all. The intense winds also added a turbulence to this whole situation. as they seemed to forever draw me into the action below. I also found the wind  quite deafening; to the point where the sound of the ocean morphed in and out of the sound of the wind directly hitting the diaphragm of my eardrum. This got me thinking about how we treat wind in sound recording. So often recordists go to great lengths to prevent wind from hitting the diaphragm, but I think this is untrue to the actual physical experience of listening in the wind. Sure, the wind that hits our eardrum directly is much less disruptive to wind hitting the diaphragm of a microphone, but it is still a valid disruption. 

Thursday, 25 December 2014

It's a new dawn - It's a new day - It's a new life for me.. and I'm feeling good!

ok.... so, after being a long time dead, i have finally decided to rehash this blog; which was originally intended to act as a sort of chronicle of my field recording and art residency experiences, but  ended up dying pretty quickly; as i came to the conclusion that it would be better to just exhibit the results of my efforts on my website  (a permanent exhibition setting), rather than some fleeting blog type thing.

this new attempt however, will be more about trying to keep an online journal of the creative experiences i encounter in my day to day life - a place where i can review and write about things like  music, theatre, books, performances, films, food etc etc. but also just write about non direct instances that i think are noteworthy and relevant to my creative outlook. 

SO WHY BLOG ANYWAY? well to put it simply, i really suck at writing and very much want to improve these skills. i never learnt the basic building blocks of grammar and sentence structuring before (i actually only learn’t about semicolons, illegal split commas and fuzed sentences in the last few days), plus i also find it quite difficult to arrange my thoughts / words coherently; particularly in the form of a formal essay. however, i am passionate about studying and am planning in the near future to to some post-grad studies; so whilst i find that i am a good reader and alright thinker, i feel that my writing suffers on so many levels, and is a significant enough factor to prevent me from perusing any kind of academic path. so through keeping an active blog i hope to flex my (writing skills) muscle and become a better writer who can effortlessly express and crystallise his innermost deepest thoughts through words.

lastly, as a sort of a disclaimer. i would like to say to anybody that reads this blog; please do not expect anything good, interesting, or coherent to come out any of these posts. i really don’t want to be trapped in a world of political correctness nor be restricted by a desire to be culturally / socially savvy, clever and interesting. moreover, i just don’t think i can offer anyone anything worthwhile, as these posts will primarily be  just written renditions of my personal (unresolved) thoughts. of course i realise that i could just keep a PRIVATE written journal instead and not indulge myself by entering into the public realm; BUT i feel that revealing my thoughts and writing in this way will make me more self conscious about my work; which should force / encourage me to do a better job.

if anyone picks up on any mistakes in the writing, or could offer a way to arrange these words better, then please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Bats - 5 Segments by Mountain Black Sound

5 consecutive recordings of bats, wind, distant traffic and rain captured within 1 hour at Yarra bend park captured through a beer bottle

Bats - 5 Segments by Mountain Black Sound

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Bogong Electric

Photos from a recent residency in the Victorian high country, where I got to spend a week recording the clover dam and power station for a upcoming festival called Bogong Electric

A mono hydrophone recording of turbines and intence movement of water , split and rearranged into two channels for stereo effec Turbine by Mountain Black Sound

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Sapporo, what can I say - it really feels very different than anywhere I've been in Japan - much quieter than the southern cities and more still as well. The most interesting aspect for me though, is the care one must take before even setting of outside, like putting on warm gloves sturdy shoes and starting up the car 10 min befor even leaving the apartment etc, also the care it takes to simply walk around and negotiate the city, like the side walks are covered with thick lumpy layers of ice, which force everyone to really take there time just walking around.

For now I will post just a couple of recordings I did in and around the city. The first was captured from the main strip in town and the sounds are from two sonic advertisements for male entertainment clubs. One coming from an ilumented sign to the left, and the other a speaker attached to a pole to the right of me.

these sounds were then picked up by  placing surface mics on a street light in between the two sound sources.

The second recording is from Mt Moiwayama and is simply of the wind blowing against a rusty old sign and the vibrations of very subtle distant sounds from the city below, again I used surface mics for these recordings. this is quite possibly one of the most subtle and quiet recordings I have ever taken. i have experimented with applying different noise reduction processes and raising volume of the recording, but the recording only seems to work when played at a VERY quiet level

note *** the second recording should be listened to on headphones or hi fidelity speakers***

Advertisement for male entertainment venue through street light by Mountain Black Sound

  T221 wind edit 1 (Snippet) by Mountain Black Sound

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Recording With Hiroki Sasajima at a off season recreational fishing farm at Hinohara.After Recording some some streams and waterfalls we stumbled accross this out of season fishing farm. The place was full of scrap metal, various pipes and and bits and pieces to record the surrounding environ through.

Water through Pipe (air) - Hinohara fish pool by Mountain Black Sound Water through Pipe (suraface) - Hinohara fish pool by Mountain Black Sound Water and rocks - Hinohara fish pool by Mountain Black Sound

Friday, 28 December 2012

Tokyo Crows

Today I went to record trains and cars underneath a bridge at Futako Tamagawa, but instead I ended up capturing the magic voice of some unexpected visitors.

Tokyo Crows by Mountain Black Sound Weave World by Mountain Black Sound Subtle bass vibrations by Mountain Black Sound

Monday, 24 December 2012

Nikko & Chuzen-Ji Onsen

I have just spent the last couple of days in and around Nicko & Chuzen-Ji Onsen.

Nikko shrines

                                                                   Chuzen-Ji Onsen

Bubbling hotsprings Chuzen-Ji Onsen by Mountain Black Sound                                                             KEGON- FALLS

Listening in the cold. what can I say - there's something really special about it. like, all the sounds I hear are more sharp and somehow more dangerous/alive. This  recording session was done in -10/15 degrees which is REALLY cold for an Aussie! By the end of the session my jaw felt locked and I could only mumble my words for about 5 minutes. I found this whole experience to be a real natural high and I very much look forward to taking this to another level in Hokkaido. 

Friday, 21 December 2012

Futako Tamagawa

Upon my arrival I ended up having a nightmare of a time with  pre-organised Tokyo accommodation. After racing around the city in circles trying to meet the manager of the guest house, I finally arrived at my room in Gotanda (a sought of red light area) at about 1am - only to realize my promised 6 Mats room with a window was really a 2 mat room without any windows next to a pulsating washing machine on top of a massage parlor :(

The next morning I  received an email from a New Zealand dude Chris, who was responding to a Tokyo/Northcote house swap advertisement which I had posted online a few days before my departure with very little expectation.

Anyway, Chris GENEROUSLY saved me from Gotanda and is now letting me share his house in the awesome Futako Tamagawa district, alongside his 8 month Pregnant wife Mika and his freind Jordie - the kindness of strangers.

Futako Tamagawa is a very interesting area which is next to the Tamagawa river that seperates Tokyo with Kanagawa prefectures (more on this river and its sounds in future posts)

Here are some photos from the apartment I'm staying in, and also some recordings of rain hitting a steel roofing on the balcony.

Rain falling on Iron - Futako Tamagawa by Mountain Black Sound Undernaith a bridge - Futako Tamagawa by Mountain Black Sound

Flying To Japan 17/12/12

Flying on the way to Tokyo from Melbourne, sleep deprived, slightly drunk and projecting my mind over the sky whilst listening to William Basinski. Yes, it all is quite corny but non the less a very moving experience.