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Creating Avebury Soundscapes

Steve Marshall
Published March 2018
By Steve Marshall

Avebury Henge is one of England’s most significant and best-known neolithic sites.Avebury Henge is one of England’s most significant and best-known neolithic sites.

His quest to capture the spirit of Avebury led former Radiophonic Workshop composer Steve Marshall to develop some unique experimental recording techniques.

Living close to the famous Avebury stone circle in Wiltshire, I have spent many years researching and photographing its landscape and numerous prehistoric monuments, making some significant archaeological discoveries. Following a long career as a musician and composer, I then published my book Exploring Avebury: The Essential Guide in May 2016. The book proved popular, so I found myself wondering what I should do next.

Avebury Soundscapes cover artwork.To many people, Avebury is about more than archaeology: it is a mystical, spiritual place. Although I’m interested in this side of Avebury, I have never felt I could write about it. Music, however, is a different matter. So instead of writing that ‘difficult second book’ I decided to make an album of electronic music where each of the 10 tracks would relate to a different monument, or some aspect of the Avebury landscape.

Out With The Old

During my years of composing music for TV I had a large studio in a barn, full of vintage electronic instruments. For 20 years I had spent all day, every day, playing a keyboard into a MIDI sequencer that controlled a large array of sound modules, all routed into an analogue mixer. Disposing of it all was a huge relief, ridding me of the nagging fear that the antique kit would spontaneously burst into flames some day! I retained a few favourite pieces...

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Published March 2018