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disc two track five - 5:43

Andra McCartney - Swimming the Reef (For Patrick)

ANALYSIS: spectrogram analysis

spectrogram analysis *


* left channel on the right, right channel on the left. Yellow is loud, purple is silent. The higher the frequency, the higher the pigments.

This piece is like an essay. It has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The conclusion reiterates the introduction. Visually, it is also being on the beach, watching the waves crash, hearing birds in the distance… then going in, going under the surface, hearing all sorts of subconscious, symbolic, speaking, breathing, moaning… mostly undecipherable and partly hollow and scary…. then going back out… watching the waves crash again on the beach.

The introduction is between 0:00 and :50. Waves come in and out in little hills, and in the background are continuous high pitch bird sounds that almost sound looped. The purple that ensues is silence. The body begins around :50 and ends around 5:05. It has a distorted ambient background, low in pitch and very grainy… as if the original wash has been slowed down quite a bit. On top of this bed are voices. Many voices, but mainly a woman's voice, airy and soft… with heavy delay and/or echo, and a bit of metallic reverb. The voice whispers things… they delay, bounce, and fade away into the point in the centre of the sound. There is not much difference between the channels, save for a few bounces (ie. around 3:20). One can make out a few things… like "fortress" ... "nook and cranny" (1:52). There are deep breaths, for example between 2:00 and 2:15. Also the speech is often toppled with other speech or vocal sounds, or the delay is so heavy that there is high pitch distortion. There are also many "ooh"s, "ahh"s, some manly cries. But mainly a medley of sentiments, thoughts, and vocal expressions… inside the mind, one presumes. That deep unknown territory… where we are forewarned and scorned at the same time. After some minutes (about four) we come out of this territory, and are back to the beginning scene. The body fades to silence at 5:08, and there is about 40 seconds of waves. Whose kindly repetition, distracts us from too much deep.

analysis by Sophia Male

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