Archive for the ‘Phonography’ Category

SOUNDkitchen SOUNDwalk: Ponta Delgada

Friday, April 14th, 2017

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I’ve just returned from a trip to São Miguel island in the Azores where I devised and led a soundwalk as part of Invisible Places 2017. I worked with Annie Mahtani to create the walk under the SOUNDkitchen banner. We’ve documented the walk on the SOUNDkitchen website so if you’d like to read more click here.

This trip forms part of an ongoing research and development project and I also spent several days making field recordings around the island. I’ll be posting more about my work on the island soon but in the meantime why not enjoy this edited mix of sounds encountered on our SOUNDwalk in Ponta Delgada:

framework radio Broadcast

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

framework radio #424: 2013.06.09

phonography ::: field recording ::: the art of sound-hunting ::: open your ears and listen

Some field recordings from my recent Gruenrekorder release ‘Sacred & Profane’ have been included in the next edition of framework radio #424. The first broadcast is on Sunday 9th June 2013 on Resonance FM and is repeated on various independent radio stations around the world for the rest of the following week:

You can also listen to the broadcast on the Framework Radio web stream for the week or find it in their archives.

framework is consecrated to field recording and it’s use in composition, and began broadcasting in 2002 at a time when a new community of sound artists with a special interest in found sound was developing, a community spread across the world that, thanks to the internet, was no longer limited to a specific geography. framework sees itself as an outlet for this ever-growing and developing community, a folk-tool in a new folk movement, a community driven exchange point for creators and listeners alike.

NAISA – Deep Wireless Festival – May 2013

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

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My soundscape composition  ‘Annapurna Pastoral – One Hundred Springs‘ was selected for inclusion in the Deep Wireless Festival of Radio and Transmission Art. Presented by New Adventures In Sound Art based in Toronto, the festival is a month-long celebration of radio and transmission art including performances, installations, radio broadcasts and the TransX Transmission Art Symposium.

The work is composed of field recordings from the Annapurna region in Nepal collected in 2007.

For the month of May my work is included in a curated selection of music and sound art on the theme of ‘sonic geography’.  The playlist is available on the NAISA soundcloud page featured below and will also be broadcast on their 24 hr webcast. Programme details are available here.

 

Sacred & Profane – Gruenrekorder GrDl 123

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

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I’m very pleased to announce that ‘Sacred & Profane’, my first solo release of field recordings, will be available on the Gruenrekorder label from 1st March 2013 as a digital download.

The recordings in this collection span several years and several countries. They are essentially documents of my travels as a tourist with a microphone. Each soundscape was recorded in a sacred place, or captures the sound of a sacred ritual. This notion of sacred sounds was the initial thematic concept for the collection. However, while selecting and preparing the material I became more aware of the secular sounds that are present alongside the religious sounds I originally set out to record – the profane. These commonplace, usually quieter sounds have a powerful ability to frame, contextualise and ground the listener, drawing one back from the spiritual and abstract, to the concrete.

To purchase a copy please visit the Gruenrekorder website.

Sonorities Festival 2013 – Belfast

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

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My soundscape composition  ‘Annapurna Pastoral – One Hundred Springs‘ has been selected for the Sonorities Festival 2013 and will be presented in a concert at the amazing Sonic Lab in the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queens University, Belfast on 25.04.13.

The five-day contemporary music festival has a packed programme of performances and includes a one-day symposium on the theme ‘Beyond Soundscape’ which will investigate the various critiques and narratives of the notion of soundscape which have emerged since the term’s inception by R. Murray Schafer and other members of the World Soundscape Project in Canada in the 1960s.

The Kingdom of Fife

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

I am originally from Kirkcaldy, a town in Fife on the East coast of Scotland. I get home to visit now and again and often take a drive or walk up the coast towards the East Neuk and St Andrews – usually with some recording gear. The landscape is mostly rural, arable land with my interest drawn to the coastline, probably due to living in landlocked Birmingham. Beautiful views out across the Firth of Forth to Inchkieth, the Bass Rock, the May Isle and East Lothian beyond change to the open expanse of the North sea as you round the point at Crail.  The once thriving fishing villages are more often busy with visitors during the tourist season, attracted by their picturesque harbours, cottages and beaches. The old mining towns and industrial docklands I’m sure don’t get much of a look in.

I’ve started uploading a selection of field recordings from these visits to soundcloud. More will no doubt follow.

The Kingdom of Fife by Iain Armstrong

Urban Wildlife

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Here are another couple of field recordings that capture the sounds of wildlife in an urban, Birmingham garden.

The first is a recording of a flock of starlings that happend to roost for a short time on the roof of my house. The sliding melodic songs are echoed briefly amongst the traffic by an ice cream van and a siren. They departed as swiftly as they arrived.

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This second recording is the delicate sound of worms and woodlice working their way through my compost bin. It was recorded using hydrophones submerged under the surface of the compost.

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Rhodia Alarm Test, Langley

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Rhodia, a division of Solvay,  is a large chemical manufacturing plant in the small community of Langley, West Midlands.  Every year they test the off-site alarm, intended to warn local residents of potential danger resulting from problems at the plant such as chlorine gas leaks.

On 9th August at 12.00pm I managed to make two recordings of the alarm which sounds very similar to an air raid siren. The first was from just outside the factory gate, made with two small omnis hung out of my car window.

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The second was made with a stereo microphone from Langley park, about half a mile away.

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(Thanks to Annie Mahtani for the insider info!)

‘Fence Songs’ for World Listening Day 2012

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

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As my contribution to this year’s World Listening Day, here are three recordings of a fence I made at a Sandwell Valley Country Park just North of  Birmingham. This is an ongoing study of the park which, due to its proximity to both the M5 and M6 motorways, does not afford very good air recording opportunities. Instead I have been focussing on contact mic and hydrophone recordings.

Each example is slightly different:

In this first one the microphones are attached to the smooth top wire and you can hear the low singing drone of the wind blowing across the wire. The higher frequency taps and scrapes are the sounds of the long grass moving against the fence.

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In this second example the microphones were attached to the top barbed wire as I struck and plucked the smooth wire in front (as in the photograph). I assume the vibrations were being transfered via the wooden fence posts to which they were both attached. There are some very low frequencies in these sounds that will be better appreciated on headphones or loudspeakers with a wide frequency range.

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Finally I moved the microphones onto the top of the wire grid formation that forms the main fence structure,  this gives a much stronger impression of the grass moving against the fence.

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All the recordings were made with contact microphones by Jez Riley French.

Bees, Birds & Bikes

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

This recording was made in a domestic garden on the outskirts of Kirkcaldy, Fife in June this year. As you may have guessed from the title the prominent sounds are bees, birds (the loudest I think is a song thrush) and the ‘bikes’ are motorbikes.

I attached a spaced pair of small omnidirectional microphones on some branches just under the canopy of an old cotoneaster bush that was just coming into flower – hence its popularity with the bees that were present in large numbers around the garden, suprising given the recent concerns about population decline. This microphone placement gives the perception of depth to the soundscape: the closeness and immediacy of the bees, the more distant but present thrush and the still further away motorbikes (and aeroplane of course).

I like the way the sound of the motorbike engine mimics the buzzing bees, like a giant bee flying around in the distance.

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