Andy Backhouse – “A Sonic Map Of Dornoch”


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A Sonic Map Of Dornoch :: I spent the middle of June up in the Highlands of Scotland – in and around the town of Dornoch, Sutherland. My granny lives in Dornoch and it is the one true geographical constants in a life of uncertainty about where I will be next year. We have been going up to Dornoch from all of the places we have ever lived – Kent, Norfolk, Northumberland, Humberside, Bedford and Yorkshire.

Whilst the locals may not associate the idyll the same way I see it, I have come to associate Dornoch with a slower pace of life – there is not the bustle one associates with life anywhere else. Yes, there is the coming and going of tourists, but that is how I interpret the town – I was a tourist.

Is it okay for a passing visitor to leave a mark? I am of the philosophy that one should leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but photos – however, this time I made a sound map. There were around 14 hours worth of recordings taken over the week I was up there and I have spent a solid week sat in front of my editing software preparing the audio files and composing them into something I can present.

So, is this an audio montage? A type of music concrete? I believe it to be a Sound Map – it is a snapshot of the Genii Locus of Dornoch at the height of summer 2017.

The files were edited in a blend of Absentia DX, Logic Pro, Reaper64 and using the Izotope RX Plugins. I composed the piece using Reaper64 due to the fact it has non-destructive editing. I was a bit keen with the Compressor but I wanted a steady ‘throb’ in the recordings – much like the coming and going of the tides. Plus, my granny would have my guts for garters if she knew she featured on a recording.

“A Sonic Map Of Dornoch” is dedicated to an amazing woman – my Granny. Granny Dornoch.

“Thanks to the inclusion of calm lapping waves that come and go, it is very naturally a relaxing and calming thing to listen to- a fleeting bit of audio tourism that allows you to imagine that you are meandering carefree along the beachside, without having to worry about the bitter cold you might really get in the Northerly Scottish town.” – Chain D.L.K.


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