Sunday, May 30, 2010

Field Recording (Part 2)

So what is field recording anyway? According to Wikipedia, field recording is the term used for any recording produced outside of a recording studio. So basically it is any recording made in the real world, out there, in the field. Which when you really get down to thinking about is an incredibly vast array of subject matter & situations, think about all the sounds that you can hear just around you right now? the clock ticking, computer humming, maybe you can hear some birds or a car outside, a lawn mower running in a neighbours yard.. listen? All of these sounds together are 100% unique and will never happen again in just the same way you heard them right now, that concept is so intriguing. Now think about all the sounds you could hear just within a one kilometer radius of where you're sitting, leaves on a tree brushing against each other, wood expanding and contracting in the sun or cool of night, someone striking a match to light a cigarette mid-conversation, the dull rumble as a mole pushes through the earth. Its endless. The way I see field recording is a way to preserve an audio experience that I feel is special or noteworthy in someway and then by making a physical recording allow myself and others to re-experience it. Its impossible to record every sound from every angle continuously forever, but just like photography, it becomes a matter of discovery and careful selection.

Field recording has many practical uses/benefits such a research, audio documentaries, sound art, audio effects in film or games among others. But I find it to be a very rewarding experience in itself in that it teaches me to listen to what going on around me. And once you have learnt to listen you discover that the world around you is far more fascinating and intriguing than you had realized. And your experience of the world is sublimely heightened.

I am still an extreme novice but from the few field recordings I have listened to, here a few examples that you may find interesting. If you have the time please listen to them fully and use headphones where possible.

- A great clip of BBC recordist Chris Watson talking about his passion for sound and the capturing of it.

- Rain Thunder Hail Storms / Dr Dirt's Ambient Collection #1 - Gary Ruble, (04:08 min), 2001.

- Nightjar on the banks of the Zambezi river at dusk - Chris Watson, Mozambique, (02:59 min), 1998.

- Journey to the South Pole - Chris Watson (50:21 min), 2010.

- Relief helicopters (Nada-Ku, Kobe/Oji Athletics Ground) After the Great Hanshin Earthquake - Takao Iba, Japan, (08:04 min), 1995.

The End.

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