Pent Stream

Pent Stream is a sonification of live river level data recorded by the Environment Agency’s flood monitoring station on the Pent stream at Black Bull Road in Foord, Folkestone.

Programmed in Pure Data (Pd), the sequence of electronic tones represents the current river level (updated every 15 minutes) followed by the low, high and average levels recorded on the previous day. Each measurement (in metres) is converted into a musical pitch for each tone, at a scale of 0.1m per octave beginning on the note C3.

The sequence is also visualised (using GEM within Pd) in the form of a simple graph. Each reading is represented as a colour-coded bar along the x axis rising to the corresponding river level (and audible pitch) ascending the y axis.

The current river level is indicated by the yellow bar, while the blue, red and green bars represent the low, high and average levels respectively. For reference, the graph includes white lines at 0, 0.5 and 1m increments and also displays the highest recorded river level (0.77m, magenta) and typical low river level (0.08m, cyan).

A live radio transmission of Pent Stream was broadcast online for the duration of the second Pent Happenings exhibition in 2021, as part of MagiC Carpets (Creative Europe).

Pent Stream (Long-term)

Another iteration of Pent Stream (Long-term) is programmed to cycle through each of the available daily records ever captured on the site (since 2016). Each set of measurements (low, high and average) is again represented sonically according to the formula above and in this case sounded simultaneously to create a triad (three-tone chord). This sound is set against a constant tone representing 0 metres to provide an indication of the scale and pattern of river level events over the period to the present day.