Sunset inside the listening room

by Stephen Adams

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about

Three human performers join a host of birds on the sonic journey from sunset into darkness in a gully below The Piano Mill at Harrigans Lane.

The focal point for Sunset inside the listening room is a stunning field recording made in a lush fern gully at Harrigans Lane, in which Adams captured a plethora of native birds, insects and frogs, many identified with the assistance of noted naturalist Tim Low. They include: Golden Whistler, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo Spotted Pardalote, Grey Fantail, New Holland Honeyeater, Bell Miner, Superb Lyrebird, and many others. To the rich bed of recorded sound were added live performances by Hannah Reardon-Smith (piccolo, bass flute), Danielle Bentley (cello), and the composer (flute, ocarina). Adams makes a distinction between the “human musicians” and “other artists” captured in the field recording, and this interplay between human and non-human agents is at the core of the work. Small imperfections of the recording process are deliberately included to frame the mix, as if to highlight the fragility of the human-nature relationship.

Sunset inside the listening room was commissioned by Bruce and Jocelyn Wolfe for the 2019 launch of Limeburners, a new listening and reading room in the forest at Harrigans Lane. Limeburners is distinguished by a feature wall made of local native timbres, milled onsite, and by the intimate coziness of its interior. At the heart of Adams’ piece is the superimposition of one acoustical space (the fern gully) onto another (Limeburners). The outside is brought in, and the inside brought out, and we are invited to consider our place in the landscape.

Stephen Adams is well known to Australian audiences in his role as a presenter and producer for ABC Classic FM, where he is a tireless advocate for Australian music.

credits

released March 16, 2020

Human Musicians: Hannah Reardon-Smith (piccolo, bass flute), Danielle Bentley (cello), Stephen Adams (flute, ocarina, field recording installation).

Other artists: Golden Whistler, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Spotted Pardalote, Grey Fantail, New Holland Honeyeater, Bell Miner, Superb Lyrebird, Australian King Parrot, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Crimson Rosella, Laughing Kookaburra, White-throated Treecreeper, Nightjar Owlet, Eastern Yellow Robin, Pied Currawong, Emerald-spotted Tree Frog, Masked Lapwing, and diverse unidentified nighttime insects and more distant birds. (Thanks to Tim Low (author of Where Song Began) for assistance identifying bird calls.)

Recorded by Stephen Adams
Mastered by Bob Scott
Field recording 19 March 2018
Concert recording 21 April 2019 Harrigans Lane
Image by Greg Harm
Design by Zoë Wolfe

Sunset Inside The Listening Room was commissioned by Bruce and Jocelyn Wolfe for the launch of Limeburners, a new listening and reading room in the forest at Harrigans Lane.

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Harrigans Lane Collective Willsons Downfall, Australia

Home of The Piano Mill. Creating explorative interdisciplinary projects in rural Australia with a focus on architecture, music, arts, design, and environment.

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