Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.


Soft dawn over whispering island


Year:  1998   ·  Duration:  11m

Year:  1998
Duration:  11m

John Elmsly

Composer:   John Elmsly


To borrow items or hire parts please email SOUNZ directly at


In any quiet place there are secret messages in the air, and here carried on the water-wind are moments from imaginary dawn: echoes of words, flutes, violas lurking, and whistlings from the rare kokako singing back in another time, another place. All is reflected from a quiet rock pool on Rangitoto Island, icon of the Auckland landscape; music of dreams and gentle thoughts rather than aggressive dynamic statement...

The underlying raw sound material was recorded on the island (a rock pool at the water's edge), and is heard near the end of the work. In 1993 I prepared a larger work from which this was extracted, Voices in the Air, whose three movements made use of real-time granulation and stretching of the source material, heightening and colouring the voices suggested by the source tape. This processing was carried out in the Sonic Resource Studio of Simon Fraser University, (Vancouver) on the POD system developed by Barry Truax, using real-time granulation of sampled sound. Overlaid on the hidden narrative of these granulated sounds are fragments of vocal granulations of soprano Experience Bryon singing the word ‘dawn’ and fragments of baroque (wooden 1-key) flute, soprano voice, a short fragment of bowed viola , and some re-synthesised kokako.

(mixed using Pro Tools software (University Of Auckland); processing treatments used on the source files: granular synthesis on POD system (Simon Fraser University, Vancouver); Turbosynth; Metasynth

John Elmsly

Performance history