posts with tag: field recording

asphalt

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Is it possible to identify a city in sound?

The well-known, the world cities yes. In New York, Lagos, Baghdad, Mumbai there are unique sounds by which someone in Dubai, Berlin or Dakar could identify the city, without having been there. But if you asked people in Tbilisi, Beijing or Bosten to listen to sounds of less-known cities like Manama, Doha or Kiel …? We can only recognize what we have already learned.
These were my thoughts when I realised I had no photo to this recording and tried to find one instead. This recording was taken in one of the less-known cities, in global terms. I did not particularly try to set sound marks that identify the recording location. For my purposes it is much more important to me to capture the spatial quality of a place as good as possible, the movement of people and the ambience.

This recording is a lucky chance. Late-summer day, late afternoon, 4.30/ 5.00 pm, unusually good weather, a scenario as if it was a grand summer finale, what it actually was, as it turned out. The next day summer had gone. I wanted to go across the square towards the main station and get my train quickly but then decided spontaneously against the train and for an extensive recording with ear microphones
(OKM Soundman).

Bremer Marktplatz   02:25   mp3
Unedited excerpt, binaural stereo

Made to be listened to with headphones

  ♦

 

Here is a little mind journey
to use as a break in between or
for a good nights sleep.
Please
put your headphones on
lay back
+ listen

half asleep in Cayo Coco

Dozily laying in the sand dunes of Cayo Coco, Cuba

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Binaural recording, 02:40, unedited. Recorded with Soundman OKM Microphone

 

Ocean waves for small breaks at the desk

I have been recording a lot of sounds of landscapes and cities for quite a few years, the so-called field recordings. If you have stopped by here on the blog before, you will probably have read about my passion for deepening in these kinds of sounds. I use field recordings as raw material for various electro-acoustic sound pieces. But some I also take as my personal mind journeys, quick getaways when I work fully concentrated over many hours. I listen to the Cayo Coco-recording quite often. It works wonders, for me at least. Although the place itself is not relevant as I could have made similar recordings at similar places.

When I recorded in Cayo Coco, I was sitting at a place in the dunes where the sea was about 30, 40 meters away and there were just a few people, far away from where I was. Most people had gone for lunch. And that is why I was lucky to get this recording you can hear now, i.e. the ocean waves further away in order to leave a ‘space in between’, and no human voices. Not to forget the little bird next to me chirping loud, a single time, to be part of the show.

That it is relaxing to listen to ocean waves is nothing new, we all know that. But again and again it is amazing to enjoy the positive effect it has on you yourself.

 

a backyard in Berlin

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Putting on the kettle
Mono recording   01:58

Last winter in Berlin I stayed one night at an exceptionally cosy little apartment* near Kudamm, designed by architect Le Van Bo, whom I was going to interview the next day about his projects**. It was freezing cold outside. And then I entered this apartment and even saw a tea kettle on the stove in the kitchenette. I hadn’t seen a tea kettle for ages, last time was in my grandma’s kitchen. And now, right there all of a sudden I felt the warmth and comfort caused by grandma’s whistling kettle.  – Anyone for a cup of tea?

* More about Le’s Apartment  – Here
**More about the architect Le Van Bo  – Here

  ♦

 

© rb

© rb

 This is a bit of a blackbird’s tweet as an envelope curve on my computer screen
 

 

My blackbird visitor, singing – 02:16

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I was sitting at my PC doing a sound mix with headphones on. It was that sunny Sunday two weeks ago, early afternoon. I’m totally concentrated when I do a mix, normally. But that day I got distracted –in a positive way– by a sound that didn’t come through my headphones. It came from our balcony on the upper floor, and it was a blackbird singing. I interrupted my work and listened. It was singing lovely. It made me so happy to hear that bird singing. And the little fellow didn’t stop. My directional microphone was ready to hand. I had used it the day before. So I sneaked up the stairs and spotted the bird on the balcony railing. The bird was facing the trees in the backyard. I hid behind the corner at the top of the stairs when I made the recording. From where I stood I could not precisely point the mic in the bird’s direction, because it would have noticed me and flown away. Never mind, I am happy about the little tiny real life sound event. The singing blackbird did make me stop and think that I should much more often realize the beauty of the little things.

One of the many good side effects about the internet is that you can have nice surprising encounters. While searching the internet about blackbirds I stumbled across the blog by Tanya Watts. “Life is filled with pretty things, enjoy them!” seems to be her motto. She reminded me also of a song which is one of my favourites but I haven’t listened to it for almost a year: Jason Mraz’ “Life is wonderful”. Thank you, Tanya! Here is “Mr. Blackbird”, especially for you.

 ♦

 

Riding a train in Germany
can provide
moments of enjoyment.
Riding taxis in Germany or going by tube can really be fun, I grant. All very good and useful means of transport, comfortably and fast.

But there is a funny little vehicle around in South East Asia and known all over the world, that beats many other public transport vehicles in the way in which it impresses its passengers.  Riding a 3-wheeler is an adventure, especially for Europeans!

 

These auto rickshaws with 3 wheels
have no doors and no seat belts.
They have a top-speed of around 50 Km/h and their motors sound like lawn mowers. But they are extremely manoeuvrable. I have heard they can even be turned in circles at the same spot. I haven’t seen it yet, nor have I journalistically examined the artistically quality of their performance. However, one thing is for sure: they squeeze through the heaviest traffic and fit into the smallest imaginable gap. Riding a 3-wheeler is guaranteed to be memorable.

Please get your headphones before climbing in. Enjoy the ride!

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Unedited field recording
(Photos © R.Burbach)