Spring Peepers

The Missus and I decided to take a really long weekend in upstate New York to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  We arrived early evening and, by the time the sun went down, we were treated to the sound of the local chapter of spring peepers.  If you are not familiar with the friendly peeper, it is a small chorus frog that you can find along most of the eastern United States and Canada.  We were sitting in the backyard and these little buggers were chirping away in the tall grass close to the Delaware River.

I set my rig up about 200 feet from the river because I didn’t want to get too much of the river rolling by and wanted to focus more on the peepers.  In retrospect, I might have set the rig up a bit closer to the water and maybe the little buggers would have sounded denser, as this has a “medium, distant” sound.  I might give this another go tomorrow night, if the campsites across the river don’t fill up with noisy campers.  In the meantime, enjoy the chirping.

Recording Geek Note: Rig consists of Schoeps CMC5′s setup for MS, with the MK4 as the mid. It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.

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Doors Doors Doors

Tim Prebble of The Music of Sound and Hiss and a Roar has an interesting project in the works. He’s enlisted the help of hundreds of recordists to help him with egregious problem: generic sounding doors:

If there is one sound that pulls me out of a movie or TV show (apart from the Wilhelm) it’s the use of crappy sounding library doors. Now I don’t imagine this is a common complaint amongst theatre goers but it does bug me and I’ve often wondered why the problem exists. Lets face it, if you have your recorder running, you could record a dozen door sounds between the time you get out of bed until you return there… So why use generic door sounds? — Tim Prebble

I’m just getting started on my contribution to the project, but I thought it would be fun to post a couple early takes. The following recording is from a closet door in my childhood home.

The first take is a door close recorded at a close perspective which is on the gentle side of the things, and the second take is more of a slam.

Tim also has another project called Dub 45:

Dub45 is a net-label where releases take the form of virtual 45rpm singles, but with both sides containing dub versions of a non-existent A side. While the selection of tracks pays hommage to the spirit of studio-created dub reggae, Dub45 is a contemporary take on a form of music profoundly centred on bass, drums & space…

I bring you the dubby door.

Recording Geek Note: Rig consists of Schoeps CMC5 setup for MS, with the MK4 as the mid. It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96. And R. Kelley was not trapped in the closet.

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A Jersey Wind

Last weekend, the Missus and I were out in Jersey visiting family and, boy, was it windy! Throughout the weekend, gusts of 35 mph wind were knocking trees and power lines down.  When I heard the sound they made passing through the trees, I was really glad I had brought a kit out to Jersey with me.  For ease of travel, I went with my more compact set up, which consists of DPA 4060s, a Sound Devices MP-2 Mixer and a Sony PCM-M10.

I set up the DPAs on either side of a large oak tree in the neighbors’ yard; after just a few minutes, the tree seemed to be shakin’ it’s thang in the wind.  The diameter of the trunk was substantially wider than a human head, so you really can’t call this a binaural recording, but it is not super spaced out either. In the absence of a cool name for this stereo technique, I’ll call it “spaced trunk pair.”

In December, I managed to capture some nice wind sounds on the west coast of Florida, but I think I am little more fond of this recording.  This wind just seems to have a bit more grit . . .   maybe that’s because it is from Jersey.

Recording Geek Note:  Rig consists of a pair of DPA 4060s mounted stealthily on either side of a big tree.  It was all tracked to a Sony PCM-M10, with Sound Devices MP-2 as a front end.

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Project MoMA: East Coast

Today’s post is a cross-country collaboration of field recordists, myself (Mr. Fieldsepulchra) and Nathan Moody of Noisejockey.net. We’re simultaneously posting recordings from our respective museums of modern art. I visited the MoMA in New York City, and Nathan visited SFMOMA in San Francisco. You can read both posts to compare and contrast the recordings and our observations

I traveled to MoMA last Saturday to do some recordings and it was packed! I was hoping for people, but I got a little more than I bargained for. I soon realized that the crowds were not only due to the weekend visitors and tourists, but also due the Marina Abramovic’s retrospectic. Ambramovic is a Serbian performance artist who has been working since the early 1970s. There are a number of her works being performed, but the one that folks are lining up to see and participate in is a piece called “The Artist is Present” which is also the title of the exhibition. Abramovic, dressed in a floor-length red dress, sits in the atrium and performs her new work for seven hours, five days a week. She sits without moving in a chair at a table and visitors are invited to sit silently across from the artist for as long as they like.

Yes folks, this is art with a big “A.” When I was there someone was just completing a session across from the artist that ran about 45 minutes, and another individual lasted over an hour.

I decided to do most of my recording in that main atrium space because there was such a diverse crowd gathering. Back in 2004, MoMA opened its newly renovated space, which included a 6-story atrium. The atrium initially drew some ire because the wide open space dwarfed some of the art. That same space also dwarfs sounds and there is a constant din of garbled voices that keep folding into each other.

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