Thursday, February 19, 2009

Field Recording - Notes From A Pro

For several years I have been on the Microsound mailing list (thanks to Christopher @ Fallt for letting me know about it). Usually reading, but occassionally submitting posts and links.

One of the people who posts regularly, which I look forward to reading, is Kim Cascone (author of the must read ((IMO)) "The Aesthetics Of Failure"). Recently he posted up a link to an interesting article ("The Grain of the Auditory Field") he penned on the subject of field recording and the problems associated with it.

For any reader unfamiliar with field recording, it is basicly recording what you hear (musicians with instruments or environmental sounds). Anywhere. You decide you want it, and record it as well as possible with whatever equipment you have close to hand. It is possible to spend thousands on fancy digital machines or just use a cassette recorder. As with all art; the rules aren't set in stone (as they might be: in mathematics, by contrast).

Some musicians have used these clips of found/everyday/event/location sounds as ambient bookends for their pieces, but it's possible to enjoy them on their own: simply by making choices about how they are edited/processed before playback, and how/where/when/to whom they are played back.

Kim has done a rather good job at putting some issues into words and making them as fun to read as poetry written by a smitten technician. One for geeks only?

If you've followed some of those links and want to do a little bit of listening to some people doing interesting things with field recordings you might click on the following:
Quiet American
Alan Lomax

Should you desire to indulge in some further reading on the topic you may find the following will deliver:
Gruenrekorder (magazine dedicated to the subject)
Field Recording UK (dedicated site)
Frieze (book review)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an informative blurb on field recording! We're considering this new SonoPak device (combined with a MiniDisc digital recorder) to capture ambient sounds for a CD. Have you ever hear of this? For our purposes, the convenience of being able to go anywhere and record any time would be helpful.

2:19 AM  

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