Marcus Leadley

The Sounding Shore

Composition based on field recordings collected along the coast between the Neptune public house and Whitstable harbour

Whitstable Walkabout Number #1

This composition is the result of a fairly traditional, linear approach to soundscape  composition which is not dissimilar to the way a musician might work – or someone  constructing a soundtrack for a film. The pre-selected sound files are loaded into an editing software called Pro Tools. Here you can arrange and structure the sounds to create interesting sonic outcomes which mirror, but do not necessarily follow, real world possibilities. You can also create impossible scenarios where, perhaps, the sound of one place is mapped onto that of another. For example, a dog can run across the shingle which appears to be inside the Neptune pub or what about walking from the busy street outside the harbour directly into the fish shop on the quay? It sounds possible – only there is no door that lets you do this.

As well as create an expanded world of sonic possibility for existing sound where the  artistic intent renders these new and intriguing, this approach to composition also makes it possible to reveal and highlight specific sounds which are often called soundmarks. These are key acoustic events which characterise a location and help create a specific sense of place. In Whitstable two examples of these are the sound of the beach front tennis courts and the noise of electrical equipment near the harbour cold stores.

Whitstable Walkabout draws on recording taken all along the coast between the Neptune and the harbour which were recorded over a two day period. It’s a condensed, hyper real experience  which compresses the very best sonic moments of my experience  into twelve minutes. This is Whitstable as it sounds – well, almost. Part of my intent with this piece is that it should make you want to unpick the sounds you hear and experience them in their full natural environmental reality: visit Whitstable and really listen to this world with open ears. It’s well worth the effort.