The visual and sonic landscape of Mmabolela Reserve is one of great contrasts. It is a place where deep, subtle quiet can be found in the sparsely wooded savannah within
the heat of the day, where dense chorus's of life can be heard by the comparatively lush gallery forests of tall Acacia trees and Date Palms by the Limpopo River or by the
waterholes that become oases in the arid environment, where birds and insects and frogs make sounds almost unfathomable to the human mind. A place where the signs of human
intervention are everywhere, from the loss of the lion, elephant and rhinoceros, to the vast fence's which surround the reserve, to the windmills that pump water from the earth, to the bullets left in the soil from previous game hunts.
It is a place that at times seems very humble, safe and peaceful as you sit by the river under the shade while birds and cicada's sing and the wind softly flows through the leaves and
seeds fall to the ground or as you gaze at the immensely starry sky at night while the nightjars and distant frogs seem to serenade you. In other moments it feels hostile and
deeply haunting, as you start to realise the nile crocodiles slowly swimming past you in the murky water, the baboon's screaming in the distance, the deadly black scorpions and
snakes that could be hiding under the rocks and tree's beside you, the incredible diversity of wasps, the stridulating army ants, every plant covered in piercing thorns, the termites
and beetles that seem to cover you on hot night's and the many other dangers living in this South African wilderness.
All these things, the incredible beauty and harsh reality of this amazing place have immeasurably influenced both these compositions. We hope that they bring you pleasure.
Recordings made in November 2014 as part of the 'Sonic Mmabolela' residency
co-organized by Francisco Lopez & James Webb in Mmabolela Reserve, Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Many thanks to all those involved with the residency, including all the staff & rangers.