To record a soundscape characteristic of this region – and attempt to encapsulate my observational thoughts and views as a soundscape recordist – I arrived at a preserved section of the forest. The Pambar Shola plantation acts as a nursery for shola trees, which grow in the shade of taller pines and eucalyptus. A visual change was provided by a few rhododendrons – a Himalayan species believed to have spread over 1,200 miles (2,000 km) during periods when the temperature and ecology of the Western Ghats and the Himalayas were similar, due to seed dispersal by birds.
I stationed my equipment beside a small stream, the sound of which, to me, symbolized the larger ecological processes taking place over centuries in the Western Ghats, to create a soundscape which could become a starting point for discussing Vattakanal, as per the hypothesis I am trying to explore through this project. At a personal level, I will remember this flowing water as the sound of sunrise in a tropical forest in the Western Ghats, layered with the sounds of birds, the occasional howling of Nilgiri langurs, and the distant barks of dogs which had followed me along the trail.
This excerpt is from the article Soundscapes of Lesser Nature, part of the field recording grant program.