SOUNDS OF NATURE – Audio-visual artwork

July 9th 2021

SOUNDS OF NATURE – Audio-visual artwork

The second element in the Field Club’s ‘Sounds of Nature‘ project was the hosting of an audio-visual landscape artwork exhibition in Assynt.

This landscape artwork ‘The Kylesku Project – Painting with Sound‘ was created by sound engineers, Graham Byron and Drew Kirkland and landscape artist Keith Salmon, collectively KBS Audio Artwork. The exhibition was held in the Marine Room at An Cala Café, Lochinver from 7 June to 3 July 2021.

The response to the exhibition was superb with numerous very positive comments received. If you didn’t manage to visit the exhibition all is not lost as we have very generously been supplied with a link to the artwork on the KBS YouTube channel.

Here is a description of the artwork supplied by KBS Audio Artwork –

“Comprising a 30 minute long high quality stereo-soundtrack and five 120 x 120cm oil paintings, the work explores the magnificent landscape near Kylesku through the use of paint and sound.

In May 2017, Keith and his wife Anita spent some time walking the track along the shores of Loch Glendhu near Kylesku. During the walk Keith made a series of sound recordings capturing the changing conditions along with sounds of some of the birds and insects encountered in this wild and remote landscape.

On returning to Ayrshire, Graham and Drew joined Keith at his studio and together they started working on the soundtrack. As the walk along the shores of Loch Glendhu had been made over the course of about ten hours, they decided to create five separate sections within the soundtrack. Each one relating to a different location and time of day.

The weather had actually changed considerably throughout the course of the walk with conditions calm in the early morning but becoming increasingly windy into the afternoon before once again easing to give a peaceful calm evening.

The soundtrack

Graham engineered the soundtrack to include several very subtle computer-generated tones which follow the rhythms of the natural sounds and help enhance mood within the piece. In one of the sections he has also placed the sounds of Keith working on the first of the paintings. These are set well back in the mix and offer a glimpse into the physical nature of the painting process.

The five paintings are based on memories recalled as Keith listened to the soundtrack while working. He has added to the range of marks by using oil sticks and trailed tile paint along with the traditional oil colour to try and interpret the natural sounds.”

Why this artwork?

Assynt Field Club’s website is, by necessity very visual, both with regards to images and words.

Our ‘Sounds of Nature’ project was developed with the main aim of making our website, and hence Assynt’s wildlife, more accessible and meaningful for those with a visual impairment or that may be unable to access the outdoors.

Complications as a result of diabetes meant that Keith started to loose his eyesight in 1990. Now he is registered blind and has about 10% vision in his right eye only.

I first met Keith by chance at Stoer Head Lighthouse in January 2018 while he, his wife Nita and Graham along with his wife Tracy were sound recording for another project. It was then that I became aware of the Kylesku artwork. When our project was being developed it seemed that we were being presented with a great opportunity to bring the ‘Kylesku Project’ to Assynt.

We took that opportunity as the artwork complemented our own project in that it is a work which combines sound, wildlife and landscape in a way that is much more accessible to those with a visual impairment.

Enjoy ‘The Kylesku Project – Painting with Sound’


David Haines

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