A lo-fi recording of some whispering in the library.
At first it was somewhat irritating having these flurries of soft voices chattering behind me; but once I focused in on the sound I heard an almost bird-like conversation of short sung rhythms and melodies of whispering. I have no idea who they are or what they’re talking about but I love the frenetic transient points of words being pronounced. I guess its a mix of emotions in the voice and the inflection of accents/pronunciation at lower volumes.
I only wish I’d been able to record a little clearer at the time.
Today the wind in Leeds was extreme. Here is a short recording taken from the cafe after hours. The microphones were sheltered away from the wind behind a glass door, but the sounds from outside are still pretty clear (though there is little bass). Enjoy the drinks can rattling around outside, and me packing up some paper bags…
After countless damaged transducers; dodgy soldering; and on more than one occasion - fusing my fingers together with epoxy-resin: my hydrophones are working.
This morning I ran a few tests in the sink before heading down to the small stream in Kirkstall. Whilst there are a few small problems still to troubleshoot (forgetting to weight the caps being one), the results are quite nice. Here are some rough samples.
Yesturday morning, I headed up to Kirkstall Abbey at about 6 am. My aim was to to test out a new wind jammer, and hopefully get a few nice shotgun recordings of birdsong in the trees around the stream and abbey in the process.
As I left the house, I listened to birds singing in the trees along the road. They were up and about; I hadn’t missed the chorus. Once in the park however, I started to record and… no birdsong. At first I believed any natural sound was being drowned out by the noise form the road and the river; but as I walked through the park I discovered the birds were nowhere to be found. Have they left Kirkstall Abby, or have they always chosen not to nest near streams there? River/road noise aside, its certainly an eerie sound given the lack of life:
Libraries are surreal places. Yesturday I began recording a new piece based in one.
Its a series of location recordings of the Leeds University Brotherton Library. Located in the Parkinson building (a grade-II listed-building, completed in 1951), the main reading room of the Library is a circular hall, with a domed ceiling. My interest in this room of the library (in addition to it bearing a striking resembalence to scenes in Ghostbusters) is that sounds within the hall are amplified and reverberated in the extreme. The result is a library, which when occupied, is often anything but silent.
More information about the piece as I develop it over the next few days.
Below are some dodgy iPhone shots of Atlases that caught my eye while recording:
I initially captured the most prominent bird-song with a mono shotgun mic. It was a nice recording but I wanted to add a little space and perception of width. I took a stereo habitat recording with the Zoom’s built in X-Y pair, and added it as a subtle extra layer to the recording. (It also gives a nicer sense of colour than just the Røde on its own. As a recording however, this layering obviously represents an artificial population of birds.)
This is a recording of yesturday’s morning chorus. Slightly busier than the other day, and a little less noise. Lovely stuff, could listen to this all day. 101224 Birds in Garden by Sound Map
[8:30am - Zoom H4n, built-in mics - 90º]
Up early, but too early for most birds it seemed, nothing but preamp hiss and melting snow-droplets. Returned to same spot an hour or so later and managed to catch a bit of sparse birdsong. I have a feeling that these field recordings will turn me into an avid twitcher in time.