Putting together a new CD is a big job, but rewarding and fun (once you get over the hump of self-doubt; hours of listening to takes and impros that weren’t quite usable; dealing with coughing audience or bleeding traffic noises…)
The CD I have been working on recently is unusual in several ways. Primarily because it was recorded in a tunnel under Darwin. While you are reading, have a listen to my demo clip.
Entering a resonant space, deep under a hillside, and opening yourself to fall into the moment, into the sound waves… makes way for magic to be born. Music created spontaneously is an expression of things that one is not conscious of, and completely unable to put into words at the time.
Beneath the Surface features three musos “playing” a 172 tunnel, and the tunnel, in turn, playing sonic games with violin, shakuhachi and a field recording of the planet breathing.
Anne Norman – shakuhachi and poetry
Emily Sheppard – violin
Anya Tait – violin
In two pieces on this CD, Emily’s foot pounds the tunnel’s iron cladding while she plays violin, and Anja scrapes the rusty surface with an old credit card… just two of the interesting “violin” techniques used on this album! These sounds are just so amazing when bounced down a 172m tunnel… a very powerful and haunting journey.
So what is this Tunnel under Darwin???
Two months after attacking Pearl Harbour, the very same Japanese planes and pilots dropped an even greater number of bombs on Darwin. The extent of casualties from this bombing raid was hidden from Australia’s southern states, for fear it may cause panic. Darwin came under air attack 59 times in 1942 and 1943. The many hundreds of deaths were not made public until 50 years after the war. The construction of tunnels began following these first catastrophic air raids that destroyed fuel storage tanks, allied ships and airfields. Designed as subterranean tanks to safely store oil from future attack, many problems were encountered in making the tunnels leak proof… even the addition of iron cladding did not solve the problems. The construction budget blew out and the war ended before the tunnels were capable of actually storing oil.
Beneath the surface of our construct of reality lurk many things… and thankfully this includes mischievousness, fun and paradox! Here I am, an Australian woman who spent years studying shakuhachi in Japan, playing my little bamboo flute within a giant transverse subterranean flute, constructed in response to attacks by Japanese bombers. The world is upside down. Thank goodness there’s always a flip side. This tunnel may not be good for storing oil, but it makes a fabulous concert hall and recording studio!