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Finding sounds and telling stories: Ren Walters, Michael McNab and Clinton Green at the salt museum!

The Sound Barrier for Sunday 12 March 2017

In December 2015, three Melbourne musicians spent some time at the Murray Sunset National Park in northern Victoria, discovering and working with the sounds they found and created there. They recorded those sounds and the result was what one of their members describes as a musical documentary, a new release on Shamefile Music called At the Salt Museum.

Its sounds come from some rusted salt harvesting machinery that is part of the outdoor salt museum, based at the site. When you listen to the music that has been found in, and grown from, that built of old machinery you will find yourself transported into its story – as if, even in its old and decaying metal, there is still the richness of what it did through its years of activity throughout the first three quarters of the last century. You will hear its rust, but also its resilience, and the vastness of the space around it.

The musicians are Clinton Green, Michael McNab and Ren Walters, and the three of them will be joining me this weekend on The Sound Barrier to talk about their, how they created it, and what it means to them.

It is all part of the endlessly rich world of music that can be built out of the sounds that musicians find around them – finding sounds in all kinds of places that can then be worked with and built upon to tell stories.

I will therefore be complementing this brand new recording from these three energetically experimental artists with a rather different work that also draws upon sounds found, and reconstructs them into a new narrative. In this case, they are cut-up snippets of national anthems, which Stockhausen famously reassembled into his massive work of musique concrète and electronic music, HYMNEN ('Anthems') from 1966-67, of which we will hear the rarely-played version that Stockhausen composed in 1969: his remoulding of the third part or 'Region' of HYMNEN for orchestra and electronic tape. It is an exciting and expansive journey into a world rebuilt from the shards of its past.

From the quiet scrapes and taps and tingles and whirs of the percussion of At the Salt Museum, to the huge density of orchestra and tape in the Third Region of HYMNEN, this weekend's edition of The Sound Barrier will give you a glimpse of the enormity of tales that are just waiting to be heard and told from the most unlikely, even banal, places around you.

I hope you are able to join me, this Sunday night at 10 PM (AEDT), on Melbourne's Home of Little Heard Music – 106.7 PBS FM, or on PBS Digital. You can also listen live from anywhere in the world via the PBS app, or online, as well as accessing the audio archive, here at the website, shortly after the show has gone live to air.

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