Travel | The Sounds of Exmoor <br>with Karl Sadler

TravelThe Sounds of Exmoor
with Karl Sadler

Karl Sadler is a sound recordist and musician. Through his work, he creatively works the noises that surround us in our every day to bring the audience into the narrative. We take an audible journey with Karl as he explores the Exmoor countryside with his Fraser the Rucksack. Take a moment, pause and turn up the volume to hear the unique sounds of nature.  

Words, photography & sound recording by Karl Sadler | @karlsadler 

A weekend listen. Fly away from the city and re-adjust your ears. Get away from the hustle and bustle, arrive on top of a dark hillside and take in these precious experiences by listening.

Dartmoor is a magical place. It is one of the only legal wild camping locations in Britain and I’ve been coming here to capture sounds for many years now. The first time I came to Dartmoor, I arrived in a car park at 3am on a wintery day, turned off the engine and just sat there, in darkness and absolute quiet. Noiselessness is an eerie sensation.

I’m a sound designer, I spend time going to remote places like these to record sounds often for projects but also to give my ears, lungs and mind a chance to breathe. In my work, I use field recordings to create textures for TV adverts, soundscapes to help people sleep or just inspiration for different synthesised sounds.

Learning how to stop and listen whilst out in the wild has been an important life lesson for me. You don’t need high tech gear to benefit from a sound walk. Active listening allows you to slow down, journeys take a little longer, perhaps you detour off the path guided by your ears and you walk to a different rhythm.

I have to lug around a lot of gear for my job, so it’s important I can pack and unpack quickly, this is why I really like to use my Fraser the Rucksack for sound capturing adventures. It fits both my sound and camping gear and is simple to use. I stash my large microphone and tripod securely in the two side pockets and have easy access to the outer pockets for cables and adaptors, plus they expand really well, as I often want to quickly stuff things in. Having a dedicated rucksack for my sound adventures means if I need to rush out I know I have everything I need at hand.

If you have not tried a sound walk before, I urge you to give it go. If you want to record it, you can easily use a smartphone, letting you listen back at a later date. Or just choose to sit listening, take it all in and keep it locked up as a memory to return to.

Listen to Karl’s composition of peaceful recordings taken in Exmoor near Martinhoe, Porlock and Lynton. The 5 minute edit is from 3 hours of recording that ranges from walks along the coast, along beautiful stream, by waterfalls and in open spaces to hear bird calls.