Gurgle Splosher, Hebden Arts Festival 2 July

Date: 2nd July 2017

Time: all day

Location: Hebden Bridge

This will be the first public presentation of the new Gurgle Splosher

The Gurgle-Splosher
A playful and interactive sound-sculpture model of the water cycle.

At the top of the Gurgle Splosher is the upper ‘cloud’ reservoir which is a large, clear tank filled with water. At the bottom is the ‘sea’ reservoir; a painted old-fashioned metal bath-tub. Water is pumped from the lower to the upper reservoirs when needed, and can then take several routes back down through the system, as determined by the actions of the visitors.

Many different water sounds are produced; rain, flowing streams, drips, sudden deluges, bubbles, splashes and of course Gurgles and Sploshes. As well as these beautiful watery sounds, the moving mechanical parts, flowing water, drips and bubbling tubs will be fascinating to watch; the appearance of the Gurgle Splosher will combine elements of Victorian pumping stations with modern domestic guttering systems, and a healthy dose of Heath Robinson.

Water flow systems
All of these systems can be regulated by visitors turning taps, pulling levers and blowing into bubble hoses.

1) Rain
Two Shower-heads scatter water from the upper reservoir either side onto ‘rain plates’ which have various items of cutlery, pots and pans on them. Visitors (if they don’t mind getting wet!) can rearrange these to change the sounds of rain hitting the objects.

2) River
Centrally placed on the system is a large ‘Shishi Odishi’ tube. Unlike the traditional Japanese bamboo water feature this is a large clear plastic tube, but just like the originals, it gradually fills, until the weight of the water reaches a tipping point and the whole tube tips and disgorges suddenly into the lower reservoir. This results in a large Splosh sound, and minor splashes to nearby visitors.

3) Streams
A gutter system splits smaller channels of water off through holes to drip and cascade past various suspended acoustic objects (teaspoons etc) that tinkle and chime in response.

Amplification & Recording
Hydrophones (water microphones) contact and acoustic microphones are placed throughout the systems as well as positioned to pick up people’s reactions as they play. The sounds are sent to a mixing desk and sound processors, from where they are mixed by a sound engineer (that’s me), amplified through a powerful PA system and recorded multi-channel. Afterwards the recordings are edited and made available for free download.