Angus Carlyle

Marshland (Helicotrema Mix)


Photo by Chiara Caterina

The sounds that comprise “Marshland (Helicotrema Mix)” were all recorded on the Dengie Peninsula, an area of tidal mud-flats and salt marshes that lies between the estuaries of the rivers Blackwater and Crouch. Microphones were submerged beneath the rising tide, held above retreating waves, wedged into a decaying wooden watch-tower buffeted by strong winds and lowered through the gun slits of a pill-box, where nesting swifts called to fledglings and flew in and out the Second World War concrete structure’s openings. Though left raw and unprocessed, the sounds have been layered in a series of movements between interiors and exteriors, between what passes over and what happens underneath. This Essex coast once formed part of what archaeologists have named ‘Doggerland,’ a mesolithic land bridge which joined Britain to continental Europe, and the recordings were made during fieldwork for a film project with Chiara Caterina in the weeks before the UK population voted on the referendum to leave the European Union.

Angus Carlyle is a researcher at CRiSAP at the University of the Arts, London, where he is Professor of Sound and Landscape.  He edited the book Autumn Leaves (2007), co-edited On Listening (2013), co-wrote In The Field (2013) and authored the monograph A Downland Index(2016), an exercise in nature writing on the move. His art works have included 51° 32 ‘ 6.954” N / 0° 00 ‘ 47.0808” W (2008), Noli Me Tangere (2009), Some Memories of Bamboo (2009) and Air Pressure (2011 – 2013), a collaboration with anthropologist Rupert Cox. His new project with Cox,Zawawa (2015 – ) extends Carlyle’s fascination with the heard world of people and place, memory and presence.