I Have Found a Shrubbery


I love this time of year. I don’t know whether to call it spring or that-period-in-the-suburbs-when-I-don’t-hear-furnaces-and-compressors-from-neighboring-HVAC-systems. It is the time of the year when I feel like I can truly hear my neighborhood. I can hear the birds in the morning, the sound of tires on the wet pavement when it rains, and local commuter trains from a much greater distance.

This kind of quietude existed all of the time during the height of the pandemic. I started to listen to my little neighborhood in a different way. That new sense of awareness also spread. Tim Nielsen launched a crowdsourced SFX library called “My Home” that asked contributors to record around their homes, and remarkably the library ended up with contributions spanning 62 countries. It has been an amazing resource for me. It is also a project that managed to get a ton of recordists to listen differently.

The other day, I stuck my head outside and heard some light wind passing through the shrubs around my deck. I hate the shrubs most of the time, but I don’t mind it when I hear wind passing through them.

I love this quiet section as it feels like a perfect intimate snapshot of my little neighborhood. It has some light songbirds, subtle wind, a distant commuter train and a passing flight out of EWR. The only thing missing is my loud neighbor ruining the recording.

Recording Geek Note: Rig consists of Schoeps CMC1′s with MK4 capsules set up for double ORTF. It was tracked with a Cooper CS 104 feeding a Sound Devices 744T

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  1. Thanks for sharing such an intimate recording. And what is it about train horns..?!? They’re the only sort of noise pollution we recordists seem to actually love.

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Michael Raphael May 9, 2023