Brian Marley, Rubberneck, no. 30, December 1, 1999

Hildegard Westerkamp is famous for her soundwalks — audio recordings documenting a particular place at a particular time of day. Found material — out of which, using studio-based manipulations, she fashions a unique sonic event. Thus, the environment is reshaped, subjectivised, revealed anew. This extraordinary CD contains several examples of her work. Kits Beach Soundwalk begins with a description of what we can already hear: waves lapping in the foreground, bird calls, background city roar. Then Westerkamp demonstrates some of her filtering and equalising techniques. By employing several ellipses, literal description is transformed into one dream narrative affer another, each illustrated with variations on the multiple, random clicking noises made by barnacles. Eventually, the city is allowed to return (in the guise of a flapping, flailing, playful rnonster).

Westerkamp reveals the subtle, interactive music in the hidden or unheeded sounds which surround us. She has changed the way I listen to music, and what I consider music to be.

She has changed the way I listen to music…