jay-dea lopez - the great silence (experimedia.net preview) by Experimedia published on 2013/05/21 23:02:33 +0000 *Excerpts from the album. Now available from Experimedia.net.* When Australia was colonised in 1788 its soundscape was so unfamiliar to the foreign British ear that it was deemed inferior and unworthy. This attitude reflected the alienation and displacement felt by the colonisers, many of whom were transported here as convicts. The refusal to acknowledge the sounds of the landscape was so strong that a new term entered the cultural lexicon: The Great Australian Silence. The notion that Australia was silent, and therefore void of life, demonstrated crucial imperialistic values. In part it illustrated the mistaken belief that the country lacked a significant civilisation prior to colonisation. This belief justified a brutal expansion of the colonial territory into traditional Aboriginal land. Almost half of the 250 Aboriginal language groups that existed prior to 1788 were systematically silenced through frontier warfare. Vital indigenous knowledge was lost, as was an ancient way of listening to the Australian environment. So what did the first colonialists hear? What was the soundscape deemed so unworthy that it was regarded as silent? By using nocturnal field recordings from Australia's sub-tropical forests this composition imagines our way into the past. In doing so we hear a night that is far from quiet. Crickets and cicadas sing from the trees, frogs keep steady rhythms in the creeks below, fruit-bats call through the darkness. It is an environment filled with a boisterous vitality. It is The Great Australian Silence.