Cathedral Cave, Isle of Eigg

Reverberation time - 3.4 seconds

Accessible only at low tide, the Cathedral Cave is said to have been used for church services when the Free Church formed in 1843 as congregations were not allowed to use Church of Scotland property.

The Cathedral Cave’s acoustics are better described as resonant than reverberant. Despite it’s large size and high ceiling, the cave has a relatively short reverberation decay due to the way rock formations diffuse reflections in the space. However, the shape of the entire cave acts like a giant gramophone horn that pushes sound toward the large entrance and out to sea.

This meant it was possible to work with more percussive and drone like material sympathetic to the cave’s natural resonant frequencies. Using short, harmonically-rich electronic impulses it is possible to strike or pluck this inherent resonance like a giant drum or excite it with tones like the acoustic cavity of a cello or a piano harp.

The atmosphere in the cave is otherworldly and ancient. Luminous green seaweed, lichen, ferns and 1950’s graffiti decorate it’s interior. All of the recordings made here seem to exhibit this primordial quality, accompanied by the distant ocean waves and drops of water that fall from the ceiling above.