Mac Dunlop is a sound artist, who has received one of the Dynamic Dunescapes art grants to work with our Cornwall Wildlife Trust team and create something inspired by Cornish dunes.
He has created 'Sand Waves', a collection of five Sound Art compositions.
You can listen to each of the compositions using the players and links below and read about Mac's inspiration and creative process behind each track. Alternatively, at the bottom of this page, you can enjoy them as a feature together complete with commentary from Mac at the beginning about his work on this project.
Mac is joined by Jon Cripps from Cornwall Wildlife Trust whilst out on the dunes
Listen to Sand Waves
An introduction from Mac:
Sand Waves includes five sound art compositions made from and or inspired by recordings made at Upton Towans - the 'Dynamite Dunes' between Hayle and Godrevy in Cornwall, and Perran Sands, or Penhale Dunes at Perranporth a bit further up the coast.
The five pieces in Sand Waves begin with the overture 'Celtic Sand', then move onto 'Wet Land'. The third movement is simply called 'Dusk'. The fourth uses as its base an experimental field recording made in one of the isolated car parks. Finally the work closes with the fifth and final Coda, 'Dream of Bees'.
I hope you enjoy listening to Sand Waves.
Overture - Celtic Sands
In Mac's words: 'The dunes at Upton Towans and Penhale disappear into the Celtic Sea. Celtic Sand introduces the elements and atmosphere of the Dunes. It glides over birdsong, surf and the dune soundscape with a Celtic melody - something that felt in tune with the landscape, a first and lasting impression.'
Part I - Wet Land
'Wet Land swings various field recordings together at a walking pace, exploring the beginnings of a trail from road to wilderness. The Dunes at Upton Towans and Penhale spread from the roadside to the Celtic Sea. The landscape is often wet and walkers often get as soaked from brushing past the hawthorn and grasses as they do from the mizzle, drizzle and damp.'
Part II - Dusk
'At dusk, birdsong fills the listening space when you arrive from the road. Many dog walkers come, and the botany around the car park is different from the rest of the dunes, in part because most dogs to their 'thing' within 100 meters of the beginning of the trail. This actually adds nutrients to the soil, which impacts the ecology of the dunes which being sand are where low nutrient species can flourish. (which is why picking up after your pet when in such a delicate environment is the right thing to do).'
Part III - Exotic Carpark Mirage
'ECPM is built on an accidentally on purpose field recording. Returning to the car after a complete soaking - note to self, don't try making outdoor recordings in the rain, unless you want to record rain! - I began playing back what I had recorded, and having the window open heard some birdsong in the rain, so decided to record. I then had a feedback of microphone and car speakers and so carried on, moving the microphone around to fade the oscillating feedback noise in and out, creating a very basic synthesizer out of the car and the recording device. Another couple of tracks building on that foundation completed the composition.'
Coda - Dream of Bees
'After making the basic compositions of the Sand Waves pieces, I wondered if I could pare down everything to some final simple elements. I had a track that was about 10 minutes of some very busy bees working some flowers in a hawthorn copse not far from the ruin of St. Petroc's Chapel. I left the microphone with the bees for 11 minutes or so, and more or less forgot about it. I had figured out a simple piano movement that I though would go well with the sound of walking, and while was looking for a walk I rediscovered the bees. The bees came first, so I listened to them and rewrote the key progressions, tempo and rhythm to their activity.'
Listen to the full compilation (1h)
Mac has also created a full compilation track, containing each of the compositions in the order they were intended to be heard and an introduction from Mac himself, reflecting on his experience working on this project.
Join Mac and Andy, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, on a walk through the dunes (27 mins)
Mac has also created an audio piece recorded whilst out exploring Upton Towans in Cornwall with Dynamic Dunescapes Engagement Officer, Andy Nelson. You can also listen to this on Soundcloud.
Read Mac's Blogs!
During his time working on Sound Waves, Mac also wrote a series of blog posts for Dynamic Dunescapes. Click the links below to read them and gain some insight into Mac's creative process.
Mac is a composer, producer, and performer based in Cornwall, UK. His recent albums include, Viral Nature, Petrichor, and Somewhere Nearby. A new album 'MDQ' will be released in October 2021on the Belgian based Off Records Label. His music ranges in style from experimental ambient to modern classical and jazz. He features on BBC Sounds, Resonance FM, and Cornwall's Source FM as well as other independent music and sound art broadcasters.
Find him online at : macspianolounge.blogspot.com, macdunlop.bandcamp.com, soundcloud.com/macdunlop, https://youtube.com/macdtv