(Touch 2008) 

For the past seven years Touch Radio has commissioned an impressive series of audio gems that cover a range of recording subjects and styles. Audio diaries sit alongside pure field recordings, experimental music pieces and live performances from the likes of Chris Watson, Signe Liden, Philip Jeck and other noted figures.

In 2008 Jana Winderen provided ‘Utvær’, an incredibly evocative piece that captures the atmosphere of a solitary lighthouse situated off the west coast of Norway. This recording immediately transports you to the imposing red tower that has guided mariners to safety for over 100 years. The constant howl of the wind and occasional splashing of waves onto nearby rocks create a sense of isolation that is almost tangible. The intermittent song of a bird is the only indication that life exists in this unrelenting environment.

Winderen’s work is driven by her curiosity to explore the wealth of hidden sounds that our planet has to offer. This often takes the form of underwater recordings that reveal the otherwise unheard environments of oceans, glaciers and rivers. Recording the sonic atmosphere of Utvær Lighthouse presented Winderen with another opportunity to investigate sounds that are usually inaccessible to the general listener.

‘Utvær’ is a simple yet highly effective sound piece. Variation in content is minimal but the overall effect is very strong. Even though the recording is just 12 minutes in length, you are left with a clear vision of this lone structure withstanding everything the North Sea has to throw at it. The piece made me connect with the location, and I was left feeling both sympathy and admiration for this inanimate tower standing alone in such harsh conditions. A great example of less is more.

-Cheryl Tipp

Jana Winderen website
Touch website