The field recording of Patagonia’s landscapes and earth surface processes proved challenging. Either the famous winds would intrude when unwanted, or there was an inevitable stillness when I wished for the sound of air flow. One wind recording I had planned to make was from the floor of the Cañadon Caracoles. This large canyon was formed by meltwater, from glaciations during the last million years, surging from the ice margins on the start of its journey across the Argentine steppes to the Atlantic. But during interglacials, when the ice has receded back to the Andean valleys, water is allowed to flow through Chile to the Pacific and the canyon floor is dry. So I had wanted to record a desolate wind blowing through the shrub vegetation on the canyon floor but the days I walked there were as still as could be. Whilst that scuppered my recording plans it enhanced the hiking. The silence, occasionally interrupted by the warning barks of guanacos or bird call, was at times absolute – a silence I hadn’t experienced since walking on the edge of the Namib Desert. Or with hindsight I expect the Namib silence was greater and it was my perception of the Cañadon Caracoles that was absolute, silence enhanced by knowing there should be a large river.
Cañadon Carcoles (Santa Cruz Province, Argentina)
But I managed to make over 50 recordings of wind, springs, streams, rivers and lake shorelines that I hope I can edit into some kind of meaningful narrative. In the meantime, here is a selection of individual field recordings from contrasting environments. Stream was recorded in the volcanic basalt headwaters of the Pinturas River, River is the sound of the Pinturas downstream below its confluence with the Ecker, Lake is from a Lago Buenos Aires beach at Los Antiguos, and Wind was recorded amidst enormous glacial erratics on the Fenix moraines.