Today I returned to Falls Creek to continue gathering material for the sound map. It was the first time I'd returned to the resort since the regional lockdown began. The place was empty except for the resort staff. I was there to record the chairlift's boarding area at Slalom Plaza, Eagle Express, and Summit. The last time I was documenting at the resort, I had to park the van on BHP road. Jacob and I then trudged around from one location to another in snowshoes, which was tiresome. Today was so much easier; the snow ploughs had cleared the roads, and I was able to drive up to The Bowel. Skiers were enjoying the slopes the last time I'd been there; this time around, the slopes were empty. It was a meditative experience sitting sheltered in the chairlift's boarding area, looking out to the barren slopes, listening to the gusts of wind rise and fall. From time to time, an Australian Ravan would let out a mournful call.
At the Slalom Plaza chairlift, the predominant sound was of water dripping off the roof onto the ground. It formed small puddles and rivulets, which ran into a drain. I finished the day at Windy Corner day car park. The last time I was there, the area lived up to its name. I was with Jacob; it was the end of a hard day. I thought it would be good to get one last recording before calling it a day. It was a lost cause; there was a mighty wind; we were tired and struggled to keep the microphone upright. This time around, the air was still, and the place was quiet; if a pin dropped, you would probably have heard it hit the ground. The car park was empty except for one family. They returned to their car just before I hit the record button. I got a lovely recording of them happily chatting away and the kid kicking a football back and forth. After that, I made my down back to Bogong Village. All up, I made a total of six 15minute recordings. Once again, using the AMBEO and the MixPre-6.
This is my first journal entry, so I thought I'd write about the BHPSM, a Bogong Centre for Sound Culture project that I'm currently working on along with Philip Samartzis, Amy Hanley and Jacob Agius. The map will be a generative website and is being designed by Paul Mylecharane from Public Office. It will comprise of sound recordings of the eco-acoustic characteristics of the Victorian alps to express the effects of climate change, industrialisation and recreational tourism upon this rarefied cold climate ecology. In early July, Philip and Amy (Team 1) were the first to head out in the field and braced the wintery conditions. Then in August, it was time for Jacob and me (Team 2) to pick up where they left off. It was great being out in the field again, roaming around in the snow. I purchased a couple of pairs of snowshoes which made walking on the snow a little easier. In addition to documenting Falls Creek village, Jacob and I went as far as Rocky Valley dam. I got some great recordings of the howling wind skirting across the dam wall. I've been primarily working with Sennheiser's AMBEO microphone and Sound Devises MixPre-6. I can't wait to hear the bounced out recordings. Jacob has been using the trusty Nagra Ares BB+ and an assortment of microphones such as the LOM Priezor EMF and B&K 4006's. The days have been long; besides recording, there is the listening, downloading/backing up and note-taking. After a week in the field, I was exhausted. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to going back up to the mountain again soon to continue the documentation.