Starling Broadcast is an electroacoustic work combining sampled bird song with digital synthesis and improvised manipulation. The source field recordings, capturing the sound of a starling roost beneath Folkestone Harbour’s 1930s swing bridge, were made over three subsequent dusk evenings in late November 2018.
A patch created in Pure Data (Pd) uses notes on a MIDI keyboard to trigger short samples of the bird song. Additional controllers were used to manipulate the audio, changing speed, delay, spatial effects and filtering, to explore the full range of starling vocalisations. Finally pitch tracking algorithms were used to target certain frequencies of bird call and reproduce them as synthesized sound.
Starling Broadcast was exhibited in a disused railway signal box in Folkestone Harbour, yards from the roost site, as part of the Profound Sound Festival 2019. Over 500 people visited the space across two days.
The piece has subsequently been aired on Radiophrenia – a temporary art radio station, broadcast live from Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts in 2019.