Tuesday, 25 January 2011

new field recording based works available for free download from the 'compost & height' label. Click on the title.

Dominic Lash

Being a blend of eight untreated field recordings of different lengths collected in upstate New York between the 27th July and the 3rd August 2010 at various locations (and at various points of the day and night) on the premises of the Omi International Arts Centre. Who said the countryside was quiet?

Edited and compiled in Geneva and Oxford in January 2011. Special thanks to Jeffrey Leppendorf and everyone involved in Music Omi 2010.

Brian Beaudy

'How Would You Describe Yourself' - Vancouver, BC - field recordings and equalizer.

This began as a series of recordings involving the capture of natural sounds within an urban environment – downtown Vancouver in the summer. As I focused on the sound event of my choice with my microphones, I similarly edited the recordings to remove the majority of the dynamic range of traffic, pedestrian and HVAC sound. What resulted are sounds no more or less valuable to the ear than those that were removed (at least to me).

Liquid Spite – Strachan Bay, Broughton Island & Port McNeill, BC field recordings, equalizer and effects.

A product of my most recent bought of work in remote locations along the west coast of British Columbia. The spring there generally involves a great deal of rain, fog and wind: whose patterns and rhythms supplant the traffic, pedestrians and machines of the city. The effects of listening to the recordings once I had returned to the city surprised me. Much of it was psychologically comparable to listening to rush-hour traffic – a stressful and inadvisable practice. While the sound of rain on the roof of my house lulls me to sleep, the same sound on the roof of the bunkhouse on a ship is just a reminder of the dismal day ahead. Listening back now, without the immediacy of recent memory, I find them more pleasant. The dull echoes of distant trains and subways cannot replace the soothing hum of the ship's masts and cables. I suppose that “noise pollution” is what you make of it.

Simon Scott interviews Jez riley French

1. From personal experience I am devastated with the amount of "unwanted" sound that I capture when out recording. Do you have concerns about noise pollution and what personal experiences could you share about this issue?
JrF) firstly, the definition of 'unwanted' is central to this question. Personally if i'm recording a location then I don't see that there can be 'unwanted' sound - all the sound there is part of that location at that time. There are issues such as equipment noise of course or wind on the mics - which isn't always wanted - but thats a different issue & one that is dealt with by having different equipment or experimenting with placement. As for my own experiences I would say that there have been times when, for example, i've been recording the sound of empty spaces & someone will wander in or perhaps a police car goes past with its siren on.
I think that if one is recording environments one has to respect them & the fact that the recordist is not in total control.
2. Is recording technology as important to you as location?
JrF) no. For me intuition & emotive aspects are key so that means that the technology used is helpful of course but won't have total impact on the result from a creative viewpoint. I have high spec kit & also still use old equipment for example. What matters is always that unexplainable urge to capture something one hears.
3. What is your creative composing approach? Do you use digital signal processing or filtering to manipulate your recordings or do you simply let the sounds reveal themselves as you have captured them or a combination of the two?
JrF) I don't use any processing or manipulation at all. For me the real joy is in finding the sounds as they exist - from the everyday to the utterly surprising and surreal. I do edit recordings sometimes & on occasion there might be a need to remove some hiss or other technical issue, but that's it. As a composer I like to let the sounds stand as they are & finding the balance between that and the compositional process is at the heart of the work.
4. When performing live does the context of the sounds and where they came from become lost on the audience and, if so, how do you choose to present your work and inform the listeners in a live environment?
JrF) When I place my work in front of an audience I am very aware that the space and situation where they are presented will have its own sonic qualities & these then add other layers to the work. This is why certain choices in the way they are presented have been increasingly important to me. I perform live to have an enjoyable time & hopefully to provide a good experience for the audience too. I'm not there to impose something on them - it must be a mutual experience in a physical space. Sometimes I will accompany performances or installed work with projected or printed photographs taken at the same time as the field recordings involved in the piece were made. However these are abstract & so there is no attempt to 'transport the listener' to those places.
5. Apart from being a very good listener are there specific requirements a professional sound recordist should have to be successful and what are the best ways into the industry to earn a living from it?
JrF) hmmm, well first of all the term 'industry' isn't one I would use or feel comfortable with, however I assume you are referring there to sound recordist work in the film, tv or radio industry for example. I think if you asked every field recordist this question you'd get a lot of very different answers but also some common replies. Some talk of equipment, others talk of study etc etc. For me, I took my time & I believe passionately that time is the best teacher. To be 'successful' to me is about the way listening has added to my life & an ability to pass that on to my daughter & indeed to other folks too. As for earning a living from it then I think that question would be better answered by someone for whom that has been a prime motivation.
6. As I am currently recording underwater sounds and subterranean wildlife is there any advice you can share about how to approach recording in rivers and the sea?
JrF) well, giving advice like this can either be technical or, as I prefer, more personal. The best advice is always to just 'play' with ones equipment, explore & to record what sounds good to you. There are a million tips for how to achieve certain things but really there is nothing better than just getting out there & experimenting for oneself. It's like everything really - one can 'learn' how to do things in certain ways & indeed in this context, one can learn to be a good sound recordist & no doubt get some work from that but I firmly believe that as an appreciation for sound increases (which it must) the importance of individual approaches will be essential. With time everyone could be taught to play the cello but there was & will only ever have been one Jacqueline Du Pre !
7. Is there an experience you can share where you failed to capture an environment you wanted to record due to attracting attention from other human beings or animals?
JrF) I think my answer to question one also answers this. Apart from that the only times when there have been specific problems are when one is stopped from recording & this has only happened to me once of twice & only happens in the UK (so far !)
8. If you were to write "An Idiots Guide To Field Recording" please list some essential works, texts/books and equipment that you feel is useful and important.
JrF) haha, well i'm afraid I wouldn't. Personally I think reading a book in order to learn these things isn't the best thing to do. I'm always happy to give advice on equipment etc but it has to be personal - to do with what the person is aiming for (film sound, artwork etc). I guess it's quite common in all sorts of areas for folks to be given lists of things to read, listen to or purchase but i've never been convinced of how successful that approach is in allowing the individual to get to what they want to be. As I said, I can give advice but for me it needs to be individual & not made for any common denominator.

Simon Scott:
In the 1990s the percussionist Simon Scott (b.1971) was a member of leading English shoegaze band, Slowdive who worked with Brian Eno on second album 'Souvlaki'. Later he scored several productions for TV and film, formed Seavault (Morr Music) and as a solo performer has shared the studio and stage with Nils frahm, Lawrence English, Klimek, Mira Calix, The Caretaker, Machinefabriek, Jasper TX and Tim Hecker. He manages his own label, Kesh, from Cambridge and has previously co-writen and performed on guitar with MaxMSP in Rafael Anton Irisarris’ project The Sight Below (Ghostly International). Simon is currently working on a second solo album to be released in 2011 on Miasmah and a subterranean field recording project in The Fens called '__sealevel'.

Monday, 24 January 2011

'still points' by Sabrina Verdely (assisted by JrF)

sound walk - free download of audio file & pdf

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Festival Paivascapes #1 com programa fechado

Paivascapes #1 – River Paiva Sound Festival, a five-day celebration dedicated to the exploration of riverside landscapes and communities through sound and multimedia art, which is produced by Portuguese sound art organization Binaural/Nodar, has its program complete.

During Paivascapes #1 festival, to happen between March 4th to March 8th, 2011, twenty five artists will have their works shown or performed and six key speakers will participate in a series of conferences on creativity, rurality and environment.

List of participant artists:

Alicja Rogalska (PL), Anna Hints (EE), Charles Stankievech (CA), Craig Dongoski (US), Ignaz Schick (DE), Jez riley French (GB), John Grzinich (US), Katherine Liberovskaya (CA), Lasse-Marc Riek (DE), Luis Costa (PT), Maile Colbert (US), Manuela Barile (IT), Marc Behrens (DE), Marja-Liisa Plats (EE), Martin Clarke (GB), Masayo Kajimura (DE), o.blaat (JP), Patrick McGinley (US), Phill Niblock (US), Rui Costa (PT), Rui Silveira (PT), Sérgio Cruz (PT), Tiago Carvalho (PT), William Lamson (US), Yasuno Miyauchi (JP).

List of key speakers:

Tiago Monteiro-Henriques (PT), Sérgio Caetano (PT), Marcos Medalon (PT), Nuno Martins (PT), Domingos Cruz (PT), Tiago Carvalho (PT).