Making docklands music from the flow of the Thames

PUBLISHED: 13:37 22 May 2014

Floodtide Listening Post

Floodtide Listening Post


The Thames is making music at Trinity Buoy Wharf.

Part sculpture, part instrument, the Floodtide Listening Post, designed by composer John Eacott, aims to redefine the way nature and music interact.

The permanent structure monitors the tidal flow, which a computer then translates into music.

John’s fascination with computer programming to create acoustic sound inspired him to develop the project.

He worked with artist Natasha Bird and sculptor Andrew Baldwin, who came up with the distinctive metal pipes that make Floodtide’s music.

John said: “I did a PhD in generative music and I have also had a long interest in sailing and navigation. I have a love for the tide and got interested in seeing whether I could make music from them.

“We talked about using penny whistles and Andrew experimented, cutting up pipes and making them into organ pipes driven by an air pump and we liked the sound it was making.”

John explained that this technology had potential to grow into something much more advanced.

He said: “There is quite a strong wave of artists involved in data transformation of various kinds, it is a potent art form of the time.”

Through using current technology, John has captured the movement of the waves to produce the music.

He continued: “I was delighted how quickly people got the idea. They are immediately attracted to the idea of making music from their stretch of river.”

John concluded that as a composer and yachtsman, he was naturally drawn to the music of the waves.

He said: “Every tide is unique. I think that is an interest and a reason people may want to visit more than once.”

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