At long last, Marshland: Dreams & Nightmares on the Edge of London is out now on Influx Press, (order it here)
The book is a time-travel journey through the Lea Marshes, weaving together supernatual stories, local legends, weird histories and tales of my own encounters and mishaps.
In the final part of the book I write about how music can be a tool of engagement with the landscape, if you turn the volume down so that the sounds of the environment are audible and choose evocative music that has space between the beats and melodies. Ambient, music concrete, minimal techno, experimental electronics, library music, sound collage all work for me.
As I walk, the music blends with the sound of wind, hooting horns, dog barks and disembodied human voices, creating a unique audio mix, never to be repeated. At times it’s hard to tell those sounds that are in the music from those transmitted by the city. The distinction becomes meaningless. The music mutates the landscape and the landscape mutates the music.
I call these experiences soundchronicities. They create a space where mind, music and environment intersect. It’s a magical world, liberated from the rhythms of everyday reality, and utterly transient. It exists for a moment in time, somewhere in between you and the artist, mediated by the landscape.
I’ve created a mix of music which captures the essence of my walks on East London’s marshes – that blend of industrial and pastoral noise, the late night raves, the raucous birds, the unrelenting drone of the city and the eternal lapping of the dirty river.