A correspondent e-mails to say that he first discovered the sound mirrors when he saw pictures on the CD booklet/cover art of a Bass Communion album. They are great images, done by Carl Glover of Aleph Studios, showing a view up the 200 foot mirror at Denge.
Bass Communion is a project by Steven Wilson, leader of the band Porcupine Tree. According to the Bass Communion website, it specialises in recordings in an ambient and/or electronic vein, sometimes in collaboration with other artists. Most of the pieces are experiments in texture made from processing recordings of real instruments and field recordings.
The March 2003 album Bass Communion (remixed) contains Reconstructions and recycling of Bass Communion music by artists from the experimental, electronic and ambient music scenes.
A pair of sound reflectors were installed at the Wat Tyler country park in Essex during February 2007, as of a regeneration program launched by Basildon Council.
The permanent installation is one of a series of sculptures commissioned for the park. The brief was to create something playful and challenging for the children there. The sculptures allow their users to whisper to each other while 60m apart.
The Sonic Marshmallow create a stunning acoustic experience: their shape focuses sound and allows people standing in front to hear each other’s whispers 60 metres over the pond that separate them. They work like reflectors to create a precise beam of sound.
The cylinders are also concave on their other sides, allowing the users to respectively spy on the people in the nearby car park, and the animal in the woodland, thanks to those 2.5m ears.
Designers Troika say Basildon being so close to the coast, we were also inspired by the early sound mirrors built between the two wars as early attempts of detecting incoming enemy planes approaching. Famous remaining examples lye off the Kent coast, near Dungeness.
Acoustic engineering consultancy was provided by Sandy Brown Associates, and fabrication by London Engineering.
The exhibition features “Blackout” – Barry Hale’s highly influential (and frequently copied) video of monolithic, concrete air-defence Sound Mirrors.
“Blackout” was made to accompany Sound Mirror imagery created by photographer Julian Hills in 1996 (for the packaging of the Disinformation “Antiphony” double remix CD, published in 1997). The “Blackout” video has been shown at The Royal College of Art (London),chirn Kunsthalle (Frankfurt), The Dom (Moscow), Galerie fur Zeitgennossische Kunst (Leipzig) and others, and exhibited at The Mac (Birmingham), CCCB (Barcelona), Quay Arts (Isle of Wight), Q Gallery (Derby), South Hill Park (Bracknell), The Waygood Gallery (Newcastle), The ICA (London), Event Gallery (London), Wrexham Arts Centre and The Latvian National Museum of Art.