Caught by the River

Noctule at Green Man Festival

15th August 2016

Photo: Jon Poutney

Photo: Jon Poutney

If you, like us, find yourself venturing to Green Man Festival this week, take note:

Equipped with a bat detector, cameras and array of other gadgets, artists Stefhan Caddick and Farm Hand (the solo project of Mark Daman Thomas of Islet and founder of Shape Records) have spent the last month quietly working in the fading light of the Black Mountains’ cave system. The duo return to the surface to invite Green Man Festival attendees to an underground sound and light performance that will be experienced by just 15 people at a time, yet outnumbered by an unseen audience of protected Lesser Horseshoe Bats.

Noctule, a special commission from Peak for the festival, will be premiered on Tue 16 August 2016 in Eglwys Faen (Stone Church), a cave entrance set within the 400 miles of discovered passages beneath Llangattock Escarpement, a former limestone quarry. A film of the performance will be premiered at Green Man just two days later.

A special, three-way collaboration between the two artists and the surrounding natural elements, Caddick and Farm Hand will use the natural acoustic properties of the cave, generating the dramatic sustain and amplification equal to that inside the world’s most imposing religious buildings. The sounds of echolocation amongst the resident bats, undetectable by human ear, have been gathered using specialist equipment, recorded alongside the sounds of falling water, provoked sounds of clapping or moving rocks and the slow emergence of cavers entering the artist’s workspace from deep within the network.

Each noise has been subject to exaggeration or other sonic phenomena by the naturally-formed architecture of the cave. Blessed with this remarkable palette of found sounds, the artists will edit and construct them into a distinctive suite, performed live inside the cave by Farm Hand and dramatised by Caddick’s use of light.

More information about the project and the work of Peak in developing art and artists in the Black Mountains can be found here.

Green Man Festival takes place in the Brecon Beacons, Thu 18 – Sun 21 August 2016, with Noctule forming part of a programme of on-site events and activities for early birds. More information here.