Cleeve Abbey - composite audio

by Site Singing

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Excerpt from blog entry about a visit to Cleeve Abbey:

We were walking through a small doorway and had a surprise encounter - in a flash, a bat suddenly came round the corner and flew right past us at speed, virtually brushing our faces, then vanished up a stairway! And after that we started noticing droppings and evidence that the current residents of the abbey are now these fascinating creatures. We went upstairs in the direction it had flown, and looked at the gaps to the roof space where there must be more bats.

I stayed there alone, put my recorder in the middle of the floor, and moving round and round, tested out the acoustics with my voice, which took the form of trying to vocalise what the movement of the bat flitting past us had been like. I found a nice tension between freeing my voice to flit to unexpected pitches both high and low, so surprising myself by my own sounds, and simultaneously maintaining a kind of control or consistency of dynamic.

Later, when I started making the sound sketch from this material, I chopped and arranged the short vocal phrases and their volume levels into an up-down-up-down pattern, to evoke the movement of wings rising and falling (see screen grab of the edit). Listening back, it sounds like several bats, coming and going, in those jerky unpredictable movements.


released October 7, 2015
Ellen Southern



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Site Singing Bristol, UK

Use of headphones recommended.


"I am enjoying freeing my voice from any kind of formality or expectation - its more about sound that music at this stage. I am open to music evolving but its nice to just be listening anew - to myself and to the sites and their surroundings" (excerpt from blog entry for Uley and Nympsfield).
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