Monday, December 6, 2010

More than just the animals

It wasn't all birds, frogs, wind and water while we were recording Two Lakes. A series of recordings were made in this lakeside house including electric and acoustic guitars, ukulele and a couple of other bits and pieces. These couple of tracks from the album feature the more traditional instrumentation alongside field recordings. There was considerable experimentation with the instrumentation during the time were were on the south coast. There are a lot of recordings that didn't end up making it onto the final version of the record. One of the interesting things we played around with was playing loops of acoustic instruments through the two amps were took down, a Fender Deluxe and a small "non-name" mini valve amp with broken speaker. The contrast between the bright acoustic instruments and the weathered, fractured and distorted mini amp provided some nice textured that weren't dissimilar to some fo the field recordings distorted by sudden bursts of wind. As well as some direct recordings into the computer, some room recordings in a few different nooks and crannies were made with the zoom and later downloaded to computer. These provided some nice ambience and room sound to the recordings.

Meroo Stream by seaworthy
Meroo Lake Pt 1 by seaworthy

Monday, November 15, 2010

Myalup Wind

Whilst Cam was in Western Austalia to play the Two Lakes launch show in Fremantle we spent an evening recording around my home at Myalup Beach. Myalup Beach is hit with onshore south westerly winds straight off the Indian Ocean for most of the year. In the summer months, the south westerly brings a welcome respite from the heat, cooling down the land mass in the afternoons. In the winter months, the prevailing wind heralds cold fronts from deep in the southern Indian ocean. These systems bring rain, storms and tidal surges.

As a result of the prevailing south westerly, the dunes on Myalup beach are heavily eroded. Myalup is a popular summer holiday spot where people drive 4WD vehicles onto the beach and located nearby is Western Australia's second water desalination plant. These pressures are also adding to beach erosion. Local government and community groups are trying to prevent the damage by fencing off the dunes and preventing access to the most eroded areas. The photo above shows a section of the run down fence.

This recording was taken inside a plastic pylon used to delineate the swimming section of the beach. The pylon acted as a wind shelter and helped prevent the bass frequencies from overloading the microphone as is the case in most wind recordings.

- Matt

Myalup Wind blogmix by Matt Rösner

Friday, November 12, 2010

Waves in Caves

I (cam) had the great pleasure to meet sound artist (and fellow 12k kid) Stephen Vitiello on his recent visit to Sydney as part of the amazing Sound of Red Earth project (Kaldor Public Art Project). Stephen has kindly included one of our pieces recorded as part of the Two Lakes sessions in his recent podcast for Symiosis. This recording, titled Waves in Cave, was recorded on one of the rock shelves adjacent to Merro Lake. There were a few large overhanging sandstone outcrops along the shore, a couple with gutters in the rockshelf allowing waves to wash up over the rock. A series of recordings were done using a shotgun mic, facing into one of these "caves" to record the echo and bounce of the crashing waves sound.

Listen to Stephen Vitiello's Symbiosis podcast.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Symbiosis 69 - Seaworthy & Matt Rosner

The wonderful Symbiosis has just posted their latest podcast featuring Seaworthy and Matt Rosner.
Much credit goes to Matt for putting this mix together as he describes the material contained within " This mix for Symbiosis is made up of a live set recorded last year at Sydney’s Serial Space. The recording documents the first time we had collaborated. The take is completely improvised with no rehearsal beforehand, it was just a case of arrive at the venue and play. At the end of the live set, the mix features a short re-working of material from the Two Lakes sessions. Processed ebowed guitar recorded are set against a recording taken in a dense area of sedges surrounding Lake Meroo."

Listen at Symbiosis

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Perth "Two Lakes" Launch


Seaworthy + Matt Rösner (Album Launch)
Adam Trainer

Fremantle Arts Centre
1 Finnerty St

Doors Open at 6pm

$15 entry

Fremantle Arts Centre


There are some amazing rock formations along the coast around Meroo National Park where the recordings for Two Lakes took place. Some of the most interesting were the piles of rocks on top of and adjacent to the rock platforms. A large jumble of misshapen rocks and boulders that have no doubt been rearranged time and time again by the strong southerly storm swells that so often march up, and pound into, the coast within this region.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bushfire Trail

Parts of the national park surrounding the Meroo and Termeil lake systems were badly burnt following a wildlife the previous summer. Throughout the part, some of the firetrails had been closed and signs in place warned for falling branches. The blackened trunks were in stark difference to the bright green new growth, both of leaves and grass below. During our visit there were some strong winds whipping through the forest creating some amazing sounds. In the distance, I'm sure we could hear the sounds of snapping and falling branches.
Bushfire track by seaworthy

Saturday, October 9, 2010

sand and sky

A small number of shots taken on the beach dividing the lake and ocean. An interesting place to record as we were trying to avoid some of the obvious sounds of crashing waves and the like. We tried for some interesting sounds by allowing the hydrophone to wash around in the small waves that rushed up the step sloped beach, being covered and uncovered with sand in the process. Unfortunately, the results weren't spectacular by any means and few, if any, actually made it to the final album. We'll try to get some up on the environmental sounds blog in the coming weeks.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tokafi reviews Two Lakes

Our friends at Tokafi have written a detailed review of Two Lakes. It is an absolute pleasure to have someone spend the time to review our album.

Music and ecology are not all that far apart: In both, establishing deep emotional ties with your subject gets easier if you realize that you, too, are part of the system. To Australian artists Cameron Webb (aka Seaworthy) and Matt Rösner, process and programmatics have therefore always been seminally important, their music representing ideas, aesthetics and philosophies just as much as pure, sensual enjoyment. There can be no such thing as passively consuming their work: To them, sounds are inherently connected to concepts, the acts of listening and sensing closely related to those of observation, reflection and understanding. While sharing similar points of departure, meanwhile, their oeuvres have hitherto dealt with these aspects from discretely different poles. While Rösner frequently sought for parallels between architectural principles and auditive expression, Webb’s output has revolved around the notion of mnemonic acoustic resonance – for his last full-length “1897”, the artist spent three months in an out-of-use ammunition bunker, listening intently into its innards to capture wordless stories and spatial traces of former activity.

If their 2008 split 3-inch on local label HelloSquare emphasized the delicately contrasting character of their approaches, their first true collaboration now takes a bold stab at an integral fusion. In April of this year, the duo travelled to a wildly beautiful expanse of forests, lakes and beaches in New South Wales – the “two lakes” mentioned in the album’s title are Meroo and Termeil, which form the heart of the Meroo National Park. Even though the aim of the undertaking was both to collect a wealth of sounds as part of a detailed acoustic field study as well as using their impressions as a creative spark for their interaction, there was never any clear-cut division between the two: Taping the environment and taking it in were one, just like Webb and Rösner did not wait until returning to their studios to commence composing. Instead, in between field recording sessions, they sat down with their array of folk- and sound-art-related instruments, including guitars, various percussion objects, bass ukulele, playfully tinkling bells and laptops, to translate their emotional landscapes into music. On the very last day of their stay, they even laid out these improvisations into first, tentative arrangements, in a bid of maintaining the spontaneity, stillness and subtlety of the sedgelands, streams and meadows in front of them.

This effort of capturing the immediate impulse has paid off. With just under six months between the recording stages of the project and the release of the finalized CD, “Two Lakes” is a prime example of how technology can actually serve to streamline rather than stymie the creative process if used by artists with a clear vision in mind. There are, literally, no borders between the inner sentiments of the duo and the outside world here: While the environment initially served as an inspiration for compositional sketches, its various emanations have, as part of an intricate feedback loop, turned into compositional elements. Pure field recordings and musical events, both those performed in situ and those processed and added afterwards, are not just closely and inseparably intertwined. Effectively, they have become a single layer of sound. From this point of view, whether or not the result is “objective”, “natural” or “organic” is completely irrelevant in artistic terms: The way some of the acoustic noises have been plastically spread out across the stereo image - as for example on cinematic “Meroo Sedgeland Pt. 2”, which juxtaposes gurgling water sounds on the left, the sound of delicate movements in the leaves and branches on the right as well as gusts of wind and distant bird song on the centre channel – matches Webb and Rösner’s wide harmonic drone-mappings, spreading out a plethora of either sustained or ephemeral tones across the sonic spectrum.

In unison, these elements create a space that feels entirely real, or even, on many instances, super-real – it is easy to see why someone like Rösner loves presenting his work in galleries and installational settings, where the music can unfold its immersive and psychedelic effect to the full. The outer movement of the music is reduced to the bare minimum in order to emphasise the emotional landscape opening up in front of the audience: The two extended drone pieces bracketing the record are essentially exercises in pure sonic coloration. On “Meroo Sedgeland Pt. 1”, Rösner and Webb work with just three pitch classes for the entire piece, a deep ground bass signaling the root tonality, while harmonically related material, either pitched up by various octaves or within close intervallic range, add luminescent overtones. By repeating, sustaining and retracting these intervals at different heights, they create a sense of development, without actually adding any new musical content. On the five shorter cuts sandwiched in between, meanwhile, the duo combine close-miced and open-space-oriented field recordings to form a mesmerizingly detailed image, which rewards attentive listening with a Mandelbrot-like uncovering of ever-new layers of sound. And the more one zooms in to dive into the deep, the more a real sense of silence and quietude begins to establish itself.

Increasingly, this self-created environment appears to be playing itself. When, on “Meroo Forest”, a mysterious cloud of drones and cavernous humming appears on the horizon, it is accompanied by complementary sounds of wind. And in the final minute of closer “Meroo Lake Pt. 2”, gentle guitar pickings give way to a peacefully babbling brook, which answers the guitar themes as though it were an instrument. In moments like these, the distinction between an objective physical reality, the subjective sentiments of the observer and later reflections on these events is exposed as superficial, covering up rather than revealing the true nature of the world around us. Recording and performing, too, are merely different sides of the same coin: In the act of composition, Cameron Webb and Matt Rösner have effectively disappeared behind their music, becoming part of the system rather than aloofly guiding it from a safe distance.

By Tobias Fischertokafi

Visit Tokafi

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Seaworthy / Grouper - Melbourne

Seaworthy make a rare trip to Melbourne this week to support US artist Grouper. The gig will be at the beautiful Northcote Uniting Church, Northcote with special guests Breathing Shrine. Friday 1 October 2010. Tickets available via Oztix

Fluid Radio Mix

Our friends at Fluid Radio invited Seaworthy & Matt Rösner to contribute an exclusive mix to their website in conjunction with the release of Two Lakes. The draws on many of our favourite artists, particularly those influenced by or incorporating field recordings in their compositions. Many of these artist’s works have inspired the pieces contained within Two Lakes, our debut collaborative release on 12k.

Fluid Radio

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Boomkat & Two Lakes

Our friends at had some nice things to say about Two Lakes:

A brilliant new collaboration from two of Australia's leading electroacoustic practitioners, Two Lakes finds Seaworthy's Cameron Webb joining forces with Matt Rösner for an album based upon the sounds of the coastal ecosystems of Lakes Meroo and Termeil in New South Wales. The duo set about collecting detailed location recordings of the various lakeside habitats and environments, capturing sound from forest regions, streams and beaches at different times of day. Hydrophones as well as more conventional mics were used to document the natural sonic activity, and the two musicians even found some time to set-up a studio in a nearby cabin so as to lay down improvised instrumental performances using acoustic and electric guitars, ukulele and electronics. Instrumental and environmental sounds are unified in the final mix, and the results never fail to be enthralling. That's not always the case with albums of this kind. It's all too easy for music like this to become a little wishy-washy - neither one thing nor the other - but Two Lakes feels like a very synergetic meeting of documentary field recording and instrumental performance. The tone of a piece such as 'Meroo Stream' far transcends the sort of pastoral tranquility you'd expect from such a project, and instead there's a real sense of solitude, and even... dampness permeating through the mix. Superbly recorded and beautiful on a surprisingly visceral level, Two Lakes comes very highly recommended indeed.

Buy Two Lakes from Boomkat

Monday, September 20, 2010


There is a healthy frog fauna in the region around the two lakes with much of the environment protected within the national park. The seasonal activity of the local frog species varies greatly and during the relatively cooler months, such as April when these recordings were made, fewer species can be recorded calling.

It is only the male frogs that call and they call to attract females. Each species has a distinctive call and sound recordings from habitats can be a useful tool in identifying local frog diversity. Having said that, sometimes it can be a little tricky identifying a particular frog species when many are call or there are many species calling together. The sample below is from a series of recordings made around 10pm one night in a low-lying area beside Lake Meroo. With thanks to some of the guys from it seems as though the most prominent species calling is Pseudophryne dendyi (commonly known as the southern toadlet or Dendy's toadlet) but there may be a couple of other species in the background (drop us a line and let us know). For more information on this species visit the Frogs Australia Network. If you're keen to learn more about frogs, you can sign up to become a member of your local society, in NSW try Frog and Tadpole Study Group (NSW) FATS.

Nighttime Frogs Meroo by seaworthy

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Brainwashed review of Two Lakes

Last year I reviewed Seaworthy's 1897, in which I was fascinated by Cameron Webb's careful balance of field recordings and traditional musicianship, often working together to create a sound where nature itself was the musical instrument. Working with like-minded artist Matt Rösner, the two use a similar approach, and the result is a work of the same spirit, but a different sound.

The album feels as much like ecological research as it does a piece of music. Based upon the duo's careful field recordings of the ecosystems at two coastal lakes in Australia, the results feel as much musically as it does as a living, breathing organism. They mostly mix unprocessed field recordings with treated ones, sometimes with pure musical accompaniment and other times alone.

Most are more of a hybrid, such as the shimmering drone of "Meroo Sedgeland Pt. 1," which marries subtle crackles of water, treated and natural, first with an expansive, gentle ebow drone that seems to stretch far into the horizon. Once the drone retreats, what remains is the sound of insects and frogs amongst the marshland, eventually augmented with gentle, sparse acoustic guitar. "Meroo Forest" is of similar character, combining birdsongs with a lower, sustained tone. Vibrating acoustic guitar strings add a subtle touch to what is more of an instrumental and nature duet.

The longer "Termeil Dunes" also carefully blends sparse, but deliberate tones, initially alone, but then paired with field recordings in a beautiful synthesis. "Meroo Sedgeland Pt. 2" is another where it is difficult to distinguish where the music begins and the nature ends, which is nothing but a compliment to the strength in which Webb and Rosner are able to marry the two. There seems to be a quiet digital texture carefully weaved between the sounds of nature around it, but it is so subtle it is nearly impossible to discern.

On other pieces, the sound of traditional instruments form the focus. "Meroo Stream" is a short piece that focuses on acoustic guitar plucking with occasional, but very subtle, treatments and the gentle sound of water behind it. The closing "Meroo Lake Pt. 2" is purely guitar for the first half of the piece, before it falls away to leave only the sound of water splashing about in one of the few situations in which the human and the natural sounds are distinct from one another

Two Lakes sounds like the work of four artists: Webb, Rösner, and each lake, as both the traditional playing of instruments and the calm sounds of nature contribute equally to the final product. There is a sense of life and timelessness that pervades the work and makes it perhaps one of the best statements of environmentalism possible, because rather than being just rhetoric, it captures the actual essence of nature amongst the songs.

Creaig Dunton - Brainwashed

Friday, September 10, 2010

Forest around the lake

Surrounding the two lake systems are extensive woodland and forests dominated by eucalypts. These forests provide habitat for a number of threatened species such as powerful owls, sooty owls, masked owls, glossy black cockatoos and yellow-bellied gliders. Closer the the lake edge, there are also pockets of swamp oak woodlands that provide an eerie link between lake and forest.

Many recordings made within the forest made it onto "Two Lakes", particularly a series of songbird recordings made at day break one morning. Also, listen closely to try and spot the eastern whip bird call somewhere on the album.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lake Surface

A short sample providing an example of some of the recordings made across the surface of Termeil and Meroo Lakes. These recording were made with a shotgun microphone set as low as possible to the lake surface. While capturing the sounds of the foreshore and woodland approximately 100m away, it was hoped that the occasional sounds of birds, insects and fish interecting at the water surface would be captured.

Lake Surface by seaworthy

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Vital Weekly review of Two Lakes

It seems almost like a romantic notion: Seaworthy (being Cameron Webb) and Matt Rosner traveling to the south coast of New South Wales to record sounds at two lakes, Lake Meroo and Termeil. They carry various sorts of microphones (hydrophone, shotgun and stereo microphones) to record beaches, streams and forest sounds, while at night they retreat to a small cabin where they set up a small studio, with guitars (acoustic and electric), a ukelele and some electronics, digesting the day's work in nocturnal, pastoral tones.

All improvised on the spot, while the tapes are running the water/bird/wind sounds, later to be edited by Matt Rosner in his home studio. Some of these pieces are merely a collage of field recordings, while others are focus more on the music, yet all together these nine pieces make a great set of music. Slow, peaceful music, with endless sustaining notes played with an e-bow on the guitar, harmonious tinkling and watery soundscapes.

Very microsound (although hardly computer based) one might say, and as such not the newest drift around in that scene, but its all done in a great way. Intimate music, in a way that Tape also plays. Very refined.

Vital Weekly

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Two Lakes Sleeve Art

The photograph from the cover of Two Lakes comes from within an extensive sedgeland consisting of Juncus krasuii alongside Meroo Lake. There was about an hour or so of recordings made this morning within and around the sedgeland. Quite an amazing morning, cool but sunny without too much breeze. There were massess of swarming insects (small flies and midges) through out the sedgeland and they created an amazing sight as they caught the sunrise and contrasted against the casuarina forest and rocky headland behind.

The photo was taken using a Canon PowerShot S5IS. Many thanks go to Taylor Deupree for his artistic vision and processing skills to bring out the best in the photo.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Meroo National Park

"Two Lakes" was primarily recorded around two coastal lakes, Termeil Lake and Meroo Lake, within the Meroo National Park on the south coast of NSW, Australia. The National Park is about 4 hours drive south from Sydney.

The environment here has provided food and shelter for the Walbunja people for over 20,000 years. Meroo and Termeil lakes are also of national significance for some endangered fauna. As well as the Green and Golden Bell Frog, there is a diverse insect fauna including a large and spectacular species of moth that has not been recorded elsewhere except at Jervis Bay in 1914. Most noteworthy is the 1000s of waterbirds that use the lakes with some migrating to the area from the northern hemisphere. It isn't only the animals that are important, the seagrasses, saltmarsh and sedgeland are also ecologically important.

For more information on Merro National Park, please visit their website.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sand Dunes

Field recordings for "Two Lakes" were made around Termeil and Meroo Lakes. These types of lakes are referred to as Intermittently Closed and Open Lakes and Lagoons (ICOLL). ICOLLs are saline water bodies that have intermittent connection to the ocean with an accumulation of sand blocking water flow from the lake into the ocean. They are fragile ecosystems with the lake system and surrounding wetlands strongly influenced by tidal exchanges (or lack thereof) with the ocean. For more information on ICOLLs and their conservation and management, visit the Wetlandlink website

This short recording was taken from within the grasses on the dunes seperating Meroo Lake and the ocean. The constant rumble of the shoreline waves and windblown vegetation dominate this recording.

Sand Dune by seaworthy

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hydrophones & Rock Shelves

A sample of the source material used to compose "Two Lakes". This hydrophone recording was made on a rockshelf adjacent to Lake Meroo. At depths up to 2m, the sound of sand and air bubbles hitting the microphone can be heard along with the dripping water falling down into the rock pool after waves washed over the rocks. The location was a special place to record with one side of the rock platform exposed to wind and waves, a moderate swell sending waves crashing up onto the platform, shifting stones and swirling up sand and shell fragments within the rockpools and gutters. The other side was sheltered with masses of thick seaweed dirfting with the more gentle surge of swells. The hydrophone used was a Aquarian Audio Products hydrophone (model H2a).

Hydrophone by seaworthy

Monday, July 19, 2010

Two Lakes

Two Lakes by Seaworthy & Matt Rösner (12k)

In April 2010 12k recording artist Seaworthy (the recording project of Cameron Webb) and Matt Rösner travelled to the south coast of New South Wales to undertake a detailed field recording study of two coastal lake ecosystems at the Lakes Meroo and Termeil. The aim of the project was to explore the sounds of a fragile coastal Australian environment and to build from those sounds unique musical pieces that provide a place for listener contemplation and relfection.

Field recordings were taken from the lakes and surrounding beaches, forests and streams at different times of the day. Various equipment including a hydrophone, a shotgun and stereo microphones were used to capture the natural sounds of each lake. During breaks in field recoridng, the artists set up recording equipment in a nearby lakeside cabin. Using acoustic and electric guitars, a ukelele and electronics, a series of improvised performances were documented. On the last day of the trip, with the experience of the recording process still fresh in mind, rough arrangements were created from the field recordings and improvisted sets. Matt Rösner then took these arrangements back to his studio in Myalup - a small coastal town on the opposite side of the Australian continent - to mix and finalize the production.

Both Rösner and Webb have been active in the Australian experimental musiac scene for over 10 years with a plethora of releases on local and international labels, sharing a similar vision of molding found sounds and field recordings with traditional instrumentation and electronics. Aside from shared musical interest both artists grew up in close connection with the Australian coastline, albeit on opposite sides of the continent. This connection with their landscape as a remote and diverse place is evident in the pieces created by the artists during their collaboration on the South Coast.

Two Lakes marks the third full-length appearance for Seaworthy on 12k following 2006’s Map In Hand and 2009’s 1897 and blends his signature guitar style with the beautifully arranged field recordings and electronics of Matt Rösner. Two Lakes is a strikingly stark and lonely album undeniably influenced by the remote recording cabin and delicate Australian ecosystem. The blend of instrumentation comes off more like a natural, live duet between artist and nature than a modern-day layered recording. Webb’s finger picked acoustic guitar and ukelele play off of the sounds of wind, reeds and insects in perfect harmony, supported by soft beds of eBowed drones and careful electronic tones. Despite their human presence Rösner and Webb manage to create music that resonates on another level, as if composed by the lakes themselves.

Release date: September 2010