Mewnwedd / Inscape


Mewnwedd/Inscape was an Arts Council Wales funded collaboration which aimed to bring my works with soundscapes to an exhibition environment.

When we experience an environment, we intuitively connect to sensory perceptions which are not usually apparent e.g. we can assume time, predict weather and can even experience distant memories.

Mewnwedd/Inscape by Huw McGregor and Ronan Devlin, is an immersive augmented environment experience. Visitors are invited to drift in the installation; designed to expand audience perception of sound through its immersive audio and generative visual materials. This will provide a connection with the self and collective contemplation.

This collaboration explores the possibility of expanding the principal of the augmented soundscape with Ronan’s visual response through light movement and colour. To help develop this interaction between both sound and video, the collaboration developed the Inscape software, which adjusts the opacity and colour in response to the recordings.

To discover more about the softwere developed for Inscape, please visit here.

1.Caernarfon Docks 2020 (Geleri - 11’48”)

Introducing the fascinating world of soundscapes, we are hit by Storm Brendan (14.01.2020), its blowing winds race and swirl around the docks at Caernarfon. As we hear nature expressing its dynamics and movement as it whistles and clangs through the masts with rhythmic attorn. It’s a fascinating place to return and listen for a moment…..and compare how changes in the environment will also change our sonic surroundings.

2.Διύληση Μετάλλου 2019 (9’14”)

Pronounced Dee-eelee see Me ta loo

This work developed from 'The Natural Oscillations Project' (NEO) exploring my experiments in soundscape distillation. This project takes aspects of a soundscape recording and distils the information such as frequency into pure tones and rhythmic structures. This project aims to abstract from soundscape recordings as much musical information as possible. The idea being is that by combining our musical understanding with our understanding of the physical structures of sound and environmental sounds, we gain a greater appreciation and understanding of their growth and development over space and time.

This work returns to one of my favourite urban soundscapes of the Metro in Athens and distils it further by combining frequency and spatial analysis and reintroducing their timbral equivalents by filtering.

3.‘Xhosa Click’2017 (Exerpt - 4’05”)

This stereo recording was one of the first soundscapes I recorded back in 2000. This Soundscape arrangement is taken from Port St John, which is surrounded by one of the last remaining indigenous forests in South Africa. This soundscape is a rare scene even in South Africa, and the recording was taken from the peak of a hill, which overlooks the town and forest enclaves. This stereo recording has been arranged from a larger recording taken from three in the morning, and its spatial depth sets the tone.

4.Fall Walk  2018 (15’00”)

Soundscape Recordings Taken from the Tree for Life Project in Dundreggan, Scotland.

Priority Site Water Falls, these falls are a small tributary of the River Moriston which finally leads to Loch Ness. In addition to this, some of the recordings have been very subtly changed to bring out the hidden depths of such a complex sound. My approach utilizes several different methods of production. To begin the work, we find a long rather unnerving sweep from the imaginary underwater world into the full saturation of pink noise of the Water Falls. This section of the work then juxtaposes between the dense pink noise of the rapids with the rumbling pitches of nearby rivulets. Fades in this early section of the work are obviously conducted in post-production, but halfway through the work, the fades are conducted predominantly by manually and mindfully moving the microphone in a careful, measured, and controlled manner between the rapids. The Work concludes with a beautiful tinkling sound of a rivulet with the distant noise of the falls, which accompanies the local species higher up in the trees.

5.Wolf Pack 2019 (12’01”)

Wolf pack is a work developed from soundscape recordings collected at the Tree for Life Project Dundreggan. The recordings have been very subtly changed to bring out the hidden depths of these soundscapes, in texture rhythm and frequency.

Wolfpack follows a group of researchers as they stalk deer, through the Caledonian forest at the Tree for life’s priority site in Dundreggan. With alarm calls and Wolf howls, these dedicated volunteers prepare the way for the reintroduction of Wolves to this area. The piece contemplates through augmented soundscapes, and as we pass through these created environments the work finishes with the call of the pipes cascading through the Forrest.

 6. Karlsruhe 2020 (14’26”)

This work fully expresses my holistic approach to the augmented soundscape. That is to treat the material in such a way that enhances the work to create a deeper emotional link to that environment. The characteristic sounds of Karlsruhe are very distinctive and colourful in nature, and sadly no longer exists in this form as they no longer use trams with air brakes which give the city soundscape its distinctive sound.

7.Metronic 2015 10’41”

‘Metronic’ is the soundscape of the Metro in Athens in 2014. The soundscape is an unusual Athraphonic lattice, which requires no treatment to express its sonic diversity. How we go from one different conceptual space in sound traversing and to another can be an obstacle in composition, and using soundscape recordings the issue becomes highly complex. The work demonstrates some methods of these issues. To explore this as a study in my theory, I selected two sine waves for the left and right speaker, which would express their gestural signatures in the Acousmatic field of the performance space. The sine waves give no more impression than exactly what they stand for, pulsating sonic enter-ties that explore a given space or a synthesized voice performed in abstract and crystallized within the sound field of the performance space. The soundscape of the metro sits within distal space, and the sounds are within proximity, and do not explore the depths of the observable space, but are within an enclosed environment of perception. However, the recording acquires another depth as the sound travels to a from the tunnels, and as the sound is received and perceived, we are most certainly exploring the depths of the observable space as the train moves down the tunnel.

These parameters demonstrate the opportunity to showcase the depth, from sound that is conceptualized in the mind to the barely audible at its furthest distance. This was achieved as the train sound would glissando upward with more ferocity, the soundscape would be subtly taken over by the sign wave as the train would begin to glissando downward, and fading out the soundscape leaving the sine wave in its simplest form and at its peak. Thus completing the transcending mode from Observable space to Mind space.


© Huw McGregor 2015