City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

The fire season hasn’t even started yet

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Time-lapse footage of burning chaparral in California (near Los Angeles, if it makes sense to say "near Los Angeles" for something so amorphous) by Dan Blank, set to music from Brian Eno's Another Green World.

The video above is unsettling, unnerving and almost impossible not to watch. Again, sublime in the original sense. Fires continue to burn around Los Angeles; unusual 'winter fires' burn on the south coast of New South Wales with forecast of an El Nino for this spring; the Premier of Victoria recently warned Victorians that 13 years of drought will make the coming fire season the worst ever.

Whilst burning of Californian chaparral is required for germination and hence regeneration of the terrain – akin to, if not exactly the same as, Aboriginal firestick farming here in Terra Australis – there can be little doubt that such events are only likely to increase in scale and ferocity due to climate change. I'd only recently seen the similarities between southern and eastern Australia and California first-hand, but here they are linked again by fire. And while Australia is naturally "an arsonist's wet dream" as Thomas Kenneally put it, this feels like something else.

DH Lawrence wrote of the Australian bush (in Kangaroo, 1923): "It was biding its time with a terrible ageless watchfulness, waiting
for a far-off end, watching the myriad intruding white men.” With that in mind, it seems apposite to link back to my earlier post on the possible relationship between "intruding" urban sprawl and bushfires.


3 responses to “The fire season hasn’t even started yet”

  1. cormacheron Avatar

    Funny how Brian Eno can make anything look beautiful. I think he said of Music For Airports that he wanted to make music that was equally interesting as it was ignorable and if that it’s ok if you die in a plane. Wish he was that non-chalant when I met him. Miserable get.


  2. photo editing services Avatar

    Looking at the footage, it seems more like a nuclear explosion than a fire! Shocking!


  3. Brandon G Avatar

    Philip Glass already did the music/time-lapse video thing in Koyaanisqatsi. Not that it isn’t still relevant as a new way of seeing.


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