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Suffolk nature reserves hosts first sound artist residency

PUBLISHED: 15:35 06 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:49 09 May 2018

Organiser of the Lowestoft Soundcamp, Danielle Ash. Picture: Conor Matchett

Organiser of the Lowestoft Soundcamp, Danielle Ash. Picture: Conor Matchett

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Suffolk’s nature took centre stage for artists at Gunton Warren in Lowestoft at the town’s first ‘Soundcamp’.

Sound artists Neil Stringfellow and Nathan Merchant. Picture: Conor MatchettSound artists Neil Stringfellow and Nathan Merchant. Picture: Conor Matchett

Organised by 23-year-old Danielle Ash, from Lowestoft, the event successfully fundraised more than £350 to put on the weekend for a select group of artists.

Taking place at Gunton Warren, a small nature reserve between Lowestoft and Corton, the artists recorded sounds of nature on International Dawn Chorus Day, when the sound of nature is at its clearest, broadcasting it around the world via an app as part of a global project called Soundcamp.

The event started on Saturday, May 5, and finished on Sunday, May 6, and is seen by Ms Ash as a precursor to a bigger, more public facing event in the future.

The weekend included a guided trip around the nature reserve and a talk from a member of staff at the Carlton Nature Reserve.

Organiser of the Lowestoft Soundcamp, Danielle Ash. Picture: Conor MatchettOrganiser of the Lowestoft Soundcamp, Danielle Ash. Picture: Conor Matchett

Ms Ash said: “It’s gone really well. We all came together as a group at around 11am before setting up camp and working through the schedule.

“It was nice for each person to have the free time to explore on their own and do what they like to do. Some people went off and got some film footage.”

She added: “We woke up at about 4am to send a livestream recording to Soundcamp, and used their app which pinpoints exactly where you are, which then gets broadcast with the audio all over the globe.

“A couple of artists will be making artworks from the weekend. Fred Bungay has collected a whole bag of palm oil and will be seeing if he can make something sculpturally out of that.”

Neil Stringfellow, who composes ambient and electronic music and often uses recorded audio as the source material, said: “The weekend has been really good. It is a scenic place and therefore brings its own sound.

“I’ve recorded waves and birds in the past but every place you go you find something unique and different. There is a fresh spring area which is very secluded and I probably got the best sounds down there.

Nathan Merchant, who works for CEFAS as an underwater acoustician looking at the impact of noise on underwater animals, said: “This event was a great opportunity to get back into what my background is, sound recording.

“Getting up first thing in the morning to the sound of birdsong was a real joy. You are capturing a really beautiful soundscape with birdsong and waves, two of the most relaxing sounds you can think of.”

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