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Focused Silence

A Sonic Map Of Dornoch

by Andy Backhouse

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A Sonic Map Of Dornoch :: I spent the middle of June up in the Highlands of Scotland – in and around the town of Dornoch, Sutherland. My granny lives in Dornoch and it is the one true geographical constants in a life of uncertainty about where I will be next year. We have been going up to Dornoch from all of the places we have ever lived – Kent, Norfolk, Northumberland, Humberside, Bedford and Yorkshire.

Whilst the locals may not associate the idyll the same way I see it, I have come to associate Dornoch with a slower pace of life – there is not the bustle one associates with life anywhere else. Yes, there is the coming and going of tourists, but that is how I interpret the town – I was a tourist.

Is it okay for a passing visitor to leave a mark? I am of the philosophy that one should leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but photos – however, this time I made a sound map. There were around 14 hours worth of recordings taken over the week I was up there and I have spent a solid week sat in front of my editing software preparing the audio files and composing them into something I can present.

So, is this an audio montage? A type of music concrete? I believe it to be a Sonic Map – it is a snapshot of the Genii Locus of Dornoch at the height of summer 2017.

The files were edited in a blend of Absentia DX, Logic Pro, Reaper64 and using the Izotope RX Plugins. I composed the piece using Reaper64 due to the fact it has non-destructive editing. I was a bit keen with the Compressor but I wanted a steady ‘throb’ in the recordings – much like the coming and going of the tides of Dornoch Beach. Plus, my granny would have my guts for garters if she knew she featured on a recording.

“A Sonic Map Of Dornoch” is dedicated to an amazing woman – my Granny. Granny Dornoch.


released July 13, 2017

© Andy Backhouse
Artwork © TreeBark Design



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Andy Backhouse North Yorkshire, UK

From Drone to Dada - Musically, I sit on the complex side of minimalism.

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