Australian Sound Artist

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hunting for 'The Quiet'

I will never cease to be amazed by just how far traffic sounds can carry. You may walk for hours - direction - away from the roads and engines only to find that the sound is infact somewhat amplified by terrain that has unravelled between yourself and the offending noise. Yesterday I began the search for those perfect recording spots. My instinct was to head into the nearby forestry that is an arms throw away from Noirlac. What I found (as many other field recordists have discovered before me) was that the deeper I went into the woods, the more the sounds of the traffic seemed to resonate in the air. While it's detail may have been lost, it's thrumm became more prominent, destroying the fragile sonic ecosystem nature had already provided. 


I will be using tried and true (ish) methods such as high pass filters, recording extremely early in the morning/through the night as well as continuing to hunt for a sheltered area. This morning I managed to gather some birdcalls by the Cher River. There was undoubtedly traffic noise present but I am wondering if I am able to work with them regardless. The last minute pinch to purchase a DPA 4017 shotgun mic definitely helped to no end. It's hyper cardioid capsule blocking out excess side and rear drone but also the beautiful reverb and echo moving up and down the river, I don't think the recordings would have been even possibly useful otherwise.

Seeing the countryside by bike and on foot has helped pick up on sound environments that I would miss from the enclosure of a car. I also notice pretty quickly if the humm of traffic dissipates. The downside to this is the fact that finding these 'safe' areas will take time. I had expected to be well on my way with sounds by this point in my residency and am feeling the pressure of falling behind....

The plus side is that I have the perfect excuse to discover critters such as wild deer, giant orange sluggs and thoroughly acquaint myself with French countryside!