Colne Valley Listeners launched

Colne Valley Listeners Acoustic Mirros

"The devices focus and subtly amplify the soundscape at a focal point a short distance from the centre of the dish."

Matthew Sansom's Colne Valley Listeners installation, commissioned by the River Colne Sculpture Trail and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, has been launched at Rotcher Picnic Site, Slaithwaite.

Colne Valley Listeners employs active listening to explore and enhance the relationship between the valley's beauty and significance, with people past, present and future. Designed to reflect both the industrial heritage of the valley and the natural setting of the installation, it is an acoustic exploration of the environment, its diversity and our relationship to it. The project combines a permanent sculptural installation of two acoustic mirrors at the Rotcher Picnic Site with a guided soundwalk and accompanying audio.

The River Colne Acoustic Mirrors are parabolic dishes fashioned in aluminium: one dish eavesdrops on walkers as they approach from the picnic site and the other listens out towards the trees and across the valley. Close-up, these devices focus and subtly amplify the soundscape at a focal point a short distance from the centre of the dish. Whilst drawing inspiration from the gigantic concrete acoustic radar dishes from between the World Wars and, in part, from playground sound mirrors, they are distinct in their three-way function as conceptual sound art, sculptural form and sound sculpture. Interaction with the acoustic mirrors helps direct awareness towards the surrounding soundscape, leaving a subtle perceptual imprint that listeners take with them as they continue their walk.

The River Colne Soundwalk, available as a download or from Slaithwaite Library on pre-loaded mp3-players, explores the location of the installation. The guided soundwalk, incorporating the installation, includes audio tracks for playback at fixed locations and whilst walking. It combines material from local children's sonic explorations of the area, sound archive descriptions of the area and location recordings made along the walk.

Download Matthew Sansom's River Colne Soundwalk here

Soundwalk directions and MP3 players are available to borrow from Slaithwaite Library at the following times from 21 November onwards:

THURSDAYS 10AM - 12.30PM, 2PM - 7.30PM

Alternatively you can download the Soundwalk directions and audio yourself here:

Funded by an anonymous donor, Arts Council England, Yorkshire, Huddersfield Common Good Trust and the Patricia and Donald Shepherd Charitable Trust

With thanks to the Green Building Company and Green Building Store

Also with thanks to The staff and Year 5 pupils at Nields Junior, Infant & Nursery School. Cate Clark, River Colne Sculpture Trail. Mick Smith, River Colne Project. Desmond Brett. Neil Windett, Kirklees Council Countryside Unit. Isobel Holland, Kirklees Sound Archive. Bill Butcher, Green Building Company. Phil Kemp, Artec Engineering Ltd.

You can read Matthew Sansom's Colne Valley Listeners project blog here .


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