In early October there was a sudden interruption to the landscape and soundscape in the moors. The collapse of a ‘hatch’ diverting water from the river Itchen into the water meadow meant that emergency repair work had to be undertaken. A section of the path around the moor was closed so that work could be carried out safely and a fence was put across the path at the footbridge leading into the moors from the rugby fields and another across the wooden boardwalk over the reed beds just up from the Durngate entrance. This seclusion put the area beyond the fences out of sight and out of earshot.
But the fences also introduced their own acoustic elements into the soundscape. I was not allowed into the secluded area of moors to record the replacement of the ‘hatch’, but I noticed how the autumn leaves falling upon the fence and the vibrations of people walking over the footbridge, which had a fence panel attached to it, had their own sonic consequence. Too small to record through the vibrations of air, I attached my contact microphones to record the vibrations of the fence directly. The metal fence acted as a form of echo chamber, the sound squared and dispersed across the wire mesh. The steps of people walking over the footbridge grew in scale: huge footfalls absorbed within the cathedral acoustics of the resonant mesh.
At the boardwalk, the fence hummed in response to the wind blowing through the mesh, whilst leaves dropped occasional metallic interruptions and branches scratched across the surface of an cacophonous intermittent drone.