Local creative - Paul Allinson

Paul Allinson is a local musician, video maker and live performer using the performance name Allinaire.

With the support of an Arts and creativity grant Paul has created a suite of discoverable musical pieces to accompany several walking routes in our local area.

The 5 compositions Paul has produced are accessible via QR codes found in the various locations where the field recordings were taken at Narrabeen Lagoon, Warriewood, Narrabeen and Turimetta Beaches, Warriewood Wetlands and the Ingleside Reserve.

All 5 compositions plus some artwork, maps and background information are available online via Northern Beaches Soundscapes.

What was your motivation to create Northern Beaches Soundscapes?

Since Covid Lockdowns first started to restrict our movement and I began working from home in 2020 I decided it was an ideal opportunity to explore my local environment and get fit at the same time. I’ve lived on the Northern Beaches for 20 years but realised there was a great deal more to see when you take the time to explore on foot rather than just driving by and through to specific destinations. 

I started going on long walks with no particular destination in mind and soon discovered that I was in the middle of an amazing network of walking paths, bush trails, cycle and mountain bike tracks threading through the natural environment of bushland, wetlands, the lagoon and beaches. 

 Based in Warriewood I can reach all of those places on foot or bike and it became part of my daily routine to explore these areas. It very much provides both physical and mental benefits.

Being a musician, I picked up on the soundscapes of these areas; birds, marsupials, insects, lizards as well as the sound of waves, water, people and the man-made environment all contribute to the ambiance of a particular place . I personally love to listen to everything around me but I also noticed many people listen to music at the same time and I thought it would be cool if there were specific pieces of music inspired by those specific areas, and including sounds from that environment, that people could listen to.

 

What led you to begin working with field recording?

I’ve been becoming more experimental with my music over the years and I started making use of unusual sounds and rhythm’s in my compositions. Whenever I’m traveling, I take a pocket field recorder to grab sounds I hear in the environment which I later process and use in my music. Sometimes I use the sound unedited but often I will stretch, distort, re-pitch or use sound ‘granules’ (micro pieces of the digital sound file) in unusual ways. They add a natural character and organic feel to my otherwise man-made electronic compositions. 

I first used field recordings in a live show in 2018 featuring sounds from a recent trip to Thailand and Italy and was very happy with the result.

 I recently did a live piece at the UNSW Quadraphonic theatre using sounds from the Great Barrier reef. Both of those pieces (which can be seen on my Allinaire YouTube page) were composed almost entirely of those ‘found sounds’ but are certainly more experimental in nature. 

For the compositions I have made for the Arts Grant I’ve mixed the field recordings with conventional rhythms and melody lines which hopefully makes them more appealing to a general audience. Perhaps that is a mistake, because it is impossible to please everybody, but time will tell. Of the 5 tracks I’ve made the last one ‘Waterfall’ takes things in the more experimental direction that I’m known for.

What do you hope people experience when they discover your soundscapes in the location that inspired them?

I hope they will be surprised and delighted. It is probably unusual to come across a piece made for a specific location and be able to access it directly at the source. Hopefully it will encourage people to explore more themselves and take notice of the sounds and details. Or perhaps it will be just be a welcome oddity and entertainment. It won’t please everyone of course but no harm done if it doesn’t suit!

What inspires you to be creative?

I’ve always been creative, and I take inspiration from almost everything one way or another. I am an Architect and have lived in several countries and played music all my life, either solo or in bands or collectives. When you are like that it is hard to sit still. 

Musically my tastes have changed and expanded dramatically over the years and life’s experiences are folded into that. I’ve found when walking in the amazing environment of the Northern beaches it is a great time to think and reflect while also clearing the mind and focusing. While walking I often have creative ideas spring into my head which I usually quickly record via voice memo onto the recorder so I don’t forget. 

How has the Arts and Creativity grant helped with your project?

The grant has been very important to allow me to create the works. Like everyone I have competing requirements on my time and the financial grant has allowed me to allocate some serious time to the project. Even then, gathering the field recordings, composing and producing 5 tracks as well as documenting it all has been hectic and would otherwise be impossible in so short a time period. 

 

I’m grateful for the assistance at a time when the arts have been hammered by Covid lockdowns and the like. I hope my story will inspire other local artists to apply for grants in the future and produce some innovative works. All it needs is a good idea!|