AV festival, The Sage Gateshead, Newcastle, UK

Kaffe Matthews, Lee Patterson and Jana Winderen was commissioned to make sound works for the project Rivers by Laura Harrington and the AV festival 2010. They performed their work the 14th of March at 15.00 in The Sage, Newcastle. After the concerts Mike Harding (Touch) held a Q&A with the artist.

From the programme notes:

Jana Winderen: Spawning Ground - from Coquet Head to the North Sea

4 channel sound piece, 35 min

Recorded with four DPA hydrophones, DPA 4060 omnis and a Telinga Parabolic Reflector on a Sound Devices 744T hard disk recorder.

Based on recordings made from field trips to the river Coquet in Northumberland.

I went back to the river mouth of the Coquet for the second time in February, discovering that the first salmon had been caught and different species of fish had started their migration up the river to spawn. Listening to the river for sounds of the fish as they worked their way upstream. The main sound to be heard in the river was from the flow of the sediments. The water was muddy, the river had changed since my last visit in November; large trees had fallen in, and the mud banks had caved in at places. Some high frequency sound was audible, sounding like crickets… I have heard this sound before, in a river on the border between Russia and Poland. Can it be a creature the fish is feeding on, or could it be the eels? The water was too muddy to tell.

Hail storms hammered down as a heron gazed over its shoulders, the cormorants resting on the riverbanks and four male mallards performed something looking like a rivalry dance preparing for the spring. Next day, 0500HRS recording the distant thunder from the North Sea, thinking of fish migrating all the way form Greenland at this time, as I dug the hydrophones into the sand it gave in under my feet. The tide was coming in, the sun was rising and the dog walkers appeared.