Saturday, 1 March 2014

The sound of water

One Million Years Ago is possibly my favourite track on Broadcast & The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults etc. I write the odd post about lighthouses and this is the perfect soundtrack for a lighthouse, the rising and falling tone the beam and the tinkling noises are the bobbing tide. They even throw in some seagulls.

And this tune from that Instruments of the Middle Ages and Renaissance album that I got so into a few months ago. It sounds to me, the chiming bit before the recorders start, somehow like water. Like a ripple expanding through water. As with many of the tracks on the Broadcast album I do wish this was a bit longer. I could listen to it for I don't know how long.

But now the actual sound of water (or one of them). Once upon a time, when I was at college, I woke up early one morning. None of my friends would be up for hours, it was a beautiful crisp December morning so I took myself out walking. I headed for a nearby lake and when I got there found it covered in about an inch of ice. After a minute or two of gazing at the loveliness of it all I thought "Right, I ought to try and smash some of this ice" and threw a handy rock high into a steep arc over the water. It didn't smash through but instead bounced off the surface and caused one of the weirdest noises I've ever heard. It went something like: Teckk!, with a slight jews harp sort of effect. Hmm, no, that description doesn't really do it justice. It's a reasonably sized body of water (this is quite a nice picture of it), imagine a sheet of ice that size reverberating....oh fuck it, look I've found this on youtube, it was just like this.


  1. that's almost like a sonar ping... which I suppose it is, in that it's a sound wave echoing out through the water from a single point. A bit late to this post, but all the richer for finally getting here.

  2. Sonar pings are somehow very lonely sounds - possibly because I imagine them travelling for quite long distances. Sound in water seems generally quite interesting. There's a Werner Herzog film about Antartica (or is it the Arctic?) that I've been meaning to check out for a while now. I saw a clip that showed some scientists listening to all these weird noises coming from below them. Most of it creatures I think, but some of it was just the ice. And I was going on about underwater being psychedelic a bit back as well wasn't I.

  3. One of the things that struck me most when I started scuba diving was how noisy it is underwater. Lots of fish chewing away on lots of stuff, I think... and it really sounds like it. When a boat passes anywhere near you too, you know about it as it always sounds much closer than it actually is. Yeah, sound sounds different underwater. Your perception of colour washes out as you get deeper too, and don't even get me started on opening a can of coke at depth.