Starling Broadcast

Starling Broadcast is an electroacoustic work of field recordings, improvised manipulation and synthesis.

Field recordings, made over three subsequent dusk evenings in late November 2018, capture the sound of starlings roosting beneath the Folkestone Harbour’s 1930s swing bridge.

A ‘soft’ sampler was created in Pure data (Pd) and notes from a MIDI keyboard used to trigger short samples of the field recordings. Further MIDI controllers were used for live manipulation of the audio. Musique concrète and ecoacoustic compositional techniques are used, such as varispeed, delay, spatial effects and filtering, to explore the range of starling vocalisations. Finally pitch tracking algorithms, where certain frequencies are targeted, converts occasional calls into synthesized sound.

Starling Broadcast was exhibited in a disused railway signal box in Folkestone Harbour, yards from the roost site, as part of the Profound Sound Festival 2019, with over 500 people visiting the space across two days.

The piece has subsequently been aired on Radiophrenia – a temporary art radio station, and broadcast live from Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts from 13th – 26th May 2019.