Sound Nature

By Noemie Hamon

When you walk into a forest what do you expect to hear? Leaves rustling, the crush of twigs underfoot, the sound of branches swaying in the wind? Bird song or the munching of squirrels on nuts? The way we hear sound in a natural environment is very different from listening to sound via two speakers from a home TV or sound system even in a nightclub. At these sites, it is about two speakers, whereas out in nature we hear the whole amalgamate of sounds each and every nuanced part. But what about if someone could take the way we hear sound naturally and nurture equipment to replicate it? Meet Pete M Wyer here in Sound Nature.

Pete M Wyer, composer and former English guitarist, offers a real musical experience. What is his link with Nature and the environment? A few years ago, in Cleeve Hill, Gloucestershire, he noticed how to truly hear nature. Before dawn, he was walking among the trees at the top of this hill when he suddenly became fully aware of the animals surrounding him.

Bird Song

As a result, he listened to the birds singing around him, he continued his stroll accompanied by a concert of different birdsong.

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View near the top of Cleeve Hill, Gloucestershire

Since then, Pete has re-created this experience. He built a musical system that allows for each and every part of the tune to be fully experienced in a sort of 360 degrees complete sound. Therefore, the music is played via multiple speakers with certain sounds at certain points in the music being emphasised within certain speakers. This allows the listener to walk around and hear much more detailed and nuanced parts of a composition.

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His music is composed by himself, like a continuous melody. When he creates, he takes into account the time, the tones; and finally, the walker of where the music will be set location wise. In fact, all the audio speakers are presenting parts of the same song, but from different levels and angles. Therefore, it allows for a song to touch your soul gradually and deeply as you continue your stroll, discovering new sounds, new voices, new tones.

The Sky Beneath Our Feet is an example of this experience. It was located between Oak Grove and Camellia Forest at Los Angeles. You could have tried it from June 27th 2020 to August 31st 2020. The natural soundscape is emphasised with 72 independent audio speakers all across the area. Hence, the visitor is invited to choose to walk their own path and listen to the speakers and the melodies. Dive into Peter’s and the park’s universe, you may hear the rain falling, the birds singing, the leaves flying, and Pete M Wyer’s music.

This is the creation process is available here on Pete M. Wyer YouTube channel

His music is inspired and composed especially for its environment. The Sky Beneath our Feet is a song split into ten movements, each fitting a specific time of day. As a result, the listener is living the melody; walking all around the different sounds, rhythms, voices, notes, in the middle of nature.

Pete spent many hours roving into the park so his music was inspired by the sound of birds so much that he has reproduced this melody via human’s voices. He has created two immersive experiences which you can take part in.

I Walk Towards Myself at Manitoga, Garrison, upstate New York is the other experience Pete presented from June 27th 2020 to September 26th 2020. It is in the Mohawk language and expresses thanks to nature.

Discovering such a beautiful universe is a real opportunity. Go to a park, stroll in the aisles or even in the middle of the trees but just take a pause; a few seconds, to recognize and thank the nature around you for this wonderful spectacle. If you want, you can even go to this website to try the experience with The Sky Beneath our Feet album, a musical experience where technology nurtures nature.

You can discover Peter M Wyer’s iforest project here.

If you enjoyed reading Sound Nature, why not read Follow The Scent?