All of the sound we hear is only a fraction of all the vibrating going on in our universe.
The work contained in this CD redefines our notions of underwater life by presenting a world of sophisticated communication within a habitat filled by a plethora of intelligent species. Pollardstown Fen is one of Western Europe's last remaining calcium-rich spring-fed fens, a 550-acre alkaline marsh within a glacial valley in Ireland. Tom Lawrence introduces us to this fascinating underwater environment though ten extended tracks recorded in various locations around the Fen. In most cases, Lawrence identifies the beetles we're hearing; he's dug into the research in order to understand as much as possible about what he's encountered there, though a bit of interpretive license is also employed as he interprets some of the strange and wonderful sounds of these tiny creatures.
If you've enjoyed David Dunn's insect projects (Angels and Insects, underwater; The Sound of Light in Trees, in pinyon pines), then this disc will take you even further into the beautiful and surprisingly varied sonic world of our miniscule insect brethren.
Irish Times - To discover the underwater sounds of the insect world – to realise they exist at all – is a mind-blowing event in one’s sharing with nature, rather like hearing whalesong for the very first time or seeing Earth from space. For that I have to thank Dr Tom Lawrence, lecturer in sound and music at Dublin City University, acoustic ecologist and brilliant wildlife sound recordist...The recordings, with great aural presence and atmosphere, are hypnotically alien, an endlessly varying chorus of clicks, chirrup- ings, churrs, buzzes and whines, pulsating and oscillating and sometimes of startling volume.
The Watchful Ear - The sounds then are like buzzing synthesiser groans, or early computer game sound effects, often rhythmic yet remarkably uniform and consistent. The recordings here mostly capture these sounds as different creatures, and in some places bubbling, fizzing plantlife are recorded going about their daily, hidden, and somewhat noisy lives....For those that have not heard anything in this particular area before, but have an interest in field recording this CD will probably be a real ear-opener, as I remember how I felt when I was first made aware of the rich catalogue of sounds to be found under the water’s surface.
The Sound Projector - The German label Gruenrekorder is of course home to many fine examples of field recordings and related sound art, but this new one by Tom Lawrence ought to win some sort of award from whatever papal body or other officiating body in Western Christendom decides such matters. Water Beetles of Pollardstown Fen is an ambitious, meticulously documented and radical work, which aims to set high standards in this area and at the same time reveal new aspects to the hidden worlds of underwater life. Lawrence presents, in stark documentary style, numerous communication systems taking place among insect life, and provides detailed notes with his interpretations and analysis of what these sounds mean. 70 minutes, ten recordings ? compressed down from much lengthier periods of recording, study and research. Lawrence aims to create something that ?breaks with all our preconceived notions of what underwater life should sound like?, and has received support from various archival bodies, educational institutions and national parks, as well as noted individual practitioners in the field (Chris Watson among them, natch). Even the chosen site of study is important from an ecological and conservational standpoint, and these areas too are well understood by Lawrence. Of course I know next to zero about entomology or any of the other subjects mentioned above, so can't really assess the deeper value of the man?s work here, but I sense this release will represent a benchmark of achievement in the genre of field recording, to say nothing of the ideas that are packed into these pages of notes. Might I also add that the disc sounds absolutely fantastic and I can?t recommend it enough ? it is a total triumph.
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The Point of Gibraltar