Wambuul Sample Sounds

These sample sounds are explored and discussed in a guided soundwalk by field recordist and sound artist, Kim V. Goldsmith. This walk is part of the Sonic Territories: Wambuul project funded by the Country Arts Support Program (CASP), through Create NSW and Orana Arts.

Talking points
  • What does it mean to actively and deeply listen?
  • Is listening actively really about dualities or unities of sound from different sources? What does that mean to us?
  • What is noise?
  • How do sounds influence each other?
  • How are we shaped by the sounds in our environment?
  • How do we shape the natural environment with the sounds we make?
  • What is field recording, acoustic ecology, soundscape ecology and sound art?
  • What’s needed to preserve sounds of the natural world?

Where biophonies and geophonies still exist unimpaired by human noise, we find places of awesome revitalization and inspiration.
Bernie Krause, The Great Animal Orchestra, 2012

STOP 1: Sounds of a regulated river

Recorded with a geofón, shotgun microphone and hydrophone

Water pressing on the dam wall at Burrendong and the white noise of the nearby spillway are signatures of a regulated river. Sounds from the Duke of Wellington Bridge are shaped by the river in flood.
Hydrophone in the river over the side of the Duke of Wellington Bridge, Wellington

STOP 2: Dubbo’s bridges on a Sunday

Recorded with a geofón and shotgun microphone

The sounds of the river on and under Dubbo’s bridges are very different on a Sunday morning to what they are on a weekday in the mid-afternoon. Recorded at the LH Ford Bridge and Yabang Gee Bridge on a Sunday morning.
Geofón probe at the base of a pylon on the LH Ford Bridge

STOP 3: The sonic world of trees

Recorded with a shotgun microphone, contact microphone and geofón

From the wind in the tree tops to the scratchings of insects behind bark, and subsoil rumblings at the base of a giant eucalypt—trees are never silent
Contact microphone on a tree beside a flooded Wambuul

STOP 4: Beneath the surface

Recorded with a lavalier mic, iPhone, hydrophones (two different types) and contact microphone

Ants, crickets, hungry tadpoles, frogs after rain, lush grass and water plants photosynthesising — some we hear when we listen, others we’ll never experience without the assistance of technology.
Contact microphone clamped to grass beside water

STOP 5: Built structures in the environment

Recorded with a geofón mic with a neodymium magnetic attachment

The noises around us are sometimes captured in the built structures in our environment. What do you recognise in this track?
Geofón attached to checkerplate cover on well hole near railway bridge, West Dubbo

STOP 6: Emile Serisier Bridge

Recorded with a geofón, shotgun microphone and hydrophone

Traffic and the force of flood water against bridge pylons create vibrations in the Emile Serisier Bridge that carry through the shallow water at the river’s edge
Shotgun mic inside blimp with windshield aimed at water under Emilie Serisier Bridge

Thank you for being part of this ecoWALK. Enjoy more sounds of the Wambuul/ Macquarie River and those further downstream at Maliyanga ngurra/ the Macquarie Marshes, on the Sonic stories of the wetlands page, showcasing some of the soundscapes and videos produced for MOSSES AND MARSHES.

Tell us what you thought of the walk – we promise this feedback form is a short one! The survey results help us report back to our funding bodies and plan better walks.

Listening opens us to the wonders of communication and creativity…Yet we are increasingly disconnected from sensory, storied relationship to life’s community…To listen, then, is a delight, a window into life’s creativity, and a political and moral act.
David George Haskell, Sounds Wild & Broken, 2022

Follow-up activities

Were you hooked by the power and possibilities of sound?

Here are 6 things you can do to further your listening

Listen to biologist David G. Haskell‘s When the Earth Started to Sing, a narration with soundscapes. Best listened to with good quality headphones or earbuds for the full effect.

Check out earth.fm, a non-profit, free repository of pure, immersive natural soundscapes (with no anthropophony – human-made sound). Kim has become a contributor. Listen to her Sunrise at Tupra soundtrack on earth.fm and then explore the map of other sounds from across Australia and around the world.

  • Take time to listen with your eyes closed, mentally noting what you can hear, how close or far away it is, what direction it’s coming from, and how those sounds make you feel.
  • If you’re in a natural environment with little human-made sound around, take a sound bath! Stop, sit or lean against a tree, shut your eyes and soak it in. Resist the restlessness that might initially threaten to overtake the experience. Or, seek out a place where human noise and natural sounds come together in unity to create something that ‘speaks’ to you.
  • Feel sound through your body—put your fingertips on a surface that carries vibrations, put your hand on your chest and close your eyes when you experience bass sounds in music or thunder, put your fingers in your ears and hum.
  • Take the time to sit quietly every day, without music, mobiles, TVs, or computers. Listen to your breath.
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