Cockadoodle Trolley

It is time to visit some of the archives again at fieldsepulchra.  In March, I posted a transfer register I recorded from a turn-of-the-century trolley that I recorded back in 2003.  One of my favorite moments from that day was doing some onboard recording.  The sequence was: ding the bells, get up to speed, apply the brakes, come to a stop, then open and close the door.  The one thing that I didn’t anticipate was the rooster that lived somewhere along the tracks.  It was late morning and I have no idea what this rooster was doing vocalizing.  Maybe he didn’t like the trolley moving through its turf?  He did like ruining my recordings!  Now, only 6 years later, can I laugh about it.

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This was recorded with my Schoeps MS rig with an MK4 as the mid.  It was also recorded before the 744T was in my hands, and I was still running around with a Tascam DA-P1.  I used a Sound Devices MP-2 as a front end because the Tascam sounded like shit.  The batteries on that recorder were also damn awful, which meant I had to run around with these small lead acid batteries on my belt, but it got the job done!  Just don’t forget to tighten your belt.

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Urban Cicadas

Over the last few weeks in New York City, it feels like summer has finally arrived.  It has been in the 90s and the humidity has been keeping everything and everyone exceptionally moist.  Aside from the generally sponginess, it has been hard not to notice the presence of cicadas in the neighborhood.  My street is lined with trees, which seems just enough to get the little buggers out buzzing.

The other night, as I was heading down my block after work, the cicadas were really buzzing in the trees.  I ran upstairs to grab some recording equipment; I went with the miniature dpa4060s in my hat so I wouldn’t call attention to myself in the middle of the sidewalk.  Along with the cicadas, folks in the neighborhood were also out, and a few cars passed as well.  I was struck by how the sounds travelled from tree to tree.  It was as if one group of cicadas waited for another group to finish before they took their turn.  Once I realized this I tried to position myself so you could hear the call and response of the insects move around the stereo image (along with a passing baby that didn’t sound too happy).

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The Parks Department

This week’s post features the lovely sounds of Union Square Park in New York City.  After returning to New York, I have been visiting some of my old haunts, and on the way home from work one day, I decided to stop by the park for a short recording.  On a hot summer day, Union Square is usually filled with kids just hanging, elderly folks with nowhere to go, and many others just sunning themselves.

I sat myself down on a little patch of grass with a pair of DPA 4060s in my hat, and a small Zoom H4 recorder in my bag and went to work.  The following is an unedited snapshot of the park at around 7:00 PM on a weeknight in August.

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Boxing Day

Recently, I have been digging through my hard drives and doing some reorganizing, deleting, and lots and lots of backups.  One of the pleasures of drive cleaning is running into a recording or two that I completely forgot about.  Most of the SFX work and field recording I do is on a freelance basis, since I currently work full time in radio production.  This means that I often rope in colleagues of mine for help with projects.

One late night, I was recording a colleague breaking glass, wood, banging around old fence posts, soda cans, and yes, destroying cardboard boxes.  When we got to the cardboard, it was like the spirit of the great box came over my good friend.  He wrestled that cardboard down like it had never been wrestled before.  He was so vigorous that he was moving all over the stereo field like a mad man.  This is a short one but a good one.  I don’t know if I am fond of this recording because of the laughter that ensued after the box was in pieces or if I just really enjoy the grand finale of box being torn apart.

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Recording Geek Note:  Rig consists of Schoeps CMC5 setup for MS, with the MK41 as the mid.  It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96 in a quiet studio with parquet floors.

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