Coon Bay

A Shoreline Sound Portrait
for 2-channel audio (1988)
Length: 33:00

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Coon Bay was created at the Music Gallery in Toronto during a residency in 1988. It is not so much a composition as a sound document of a sunny afternoon spent at a small, quiet beach at the North end of Galiano Island in British Columbia.

Coon Bay is the name of a small deep cove, where the water laps differently onto each of its three shorelines. On this particular summer afternoon the ocean was calm, which resulted in relatively lazy water sounds. On the west side of the cove one hears a gentle swirling sound as the water moves up onto a smooth rock surface, which itself has been sculpted by the water over many years, into beautiful wavy, liquid-looking patterns. On the east side piled up boulders create unusual sounds: I had arrived here with my microphone at a moment when the level of the tide caused the water to slosh and plop into the spaces between and under the rocks, creating very specific and rich resonances. On the South side the waves create regular high swishing sounds as the small waves hit the many tiny pebbles on the gradual incline of the beach. As the waves recede over the pebbles, a long high rushing sound occurs, like an intense outbreath. At one point in the recording we hear a distant seaplane passing and towards the end, a small boat enters the cove, idles for a moment and then stops its motor. In some places throughout the piece, subtle sonic ‘imaginations’ weave in and out of the original field recording.