Australian Sound Artist

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day 5. Rock pools and hail of Embleton Bay

:: Embleton Bay ::
Sat 1st Nov. The last day of work with Chris was spent heading along Embleton Bay with the idea being to arrive at Dunstanburgh Castle. Unfortunately we only made it to the foot of the cliff walls - as the castle's grounds begin. The wind, rain and hail had become constant enough as to push us to retreat. I actually revelled in the subtle attack of the elements and if the dark hadn't been approaching (so quickly in the UK!) then I would have happily continued with the hike. I gathered some astonishing sounds of the waves crashing on the shore using Chris's DPA 8011's and attempted to gather the more dynamic sounds from the rock pools but with less success. It seems that the Sound Devices 788T model has a fatal flaw in the the limiters are not available when recording at 96k. This ultimately meant I could not record sounds from the rock pools as their quiets are too quiet and their louds are pure distortion without a limiter. It's worth mentioning that this is the first - ever - downfall that I have found from this model.

:: Recording @ Embleton Bay ::
To record the general sounds I used my old trusty Rode NT4 (stereo). Again, I was disappointed in that there was bad distortion on one channel. What I assumed was wind noise (as you can see - I did not have with me adequate wind jamming gear....) was actually a noise flaw that disappeared once I powered the microphone from the SD's phantom power AND switched the 'ON' switch to 'OFF'. I've never had this problem before and I can say that I won't be making it again but what a frustrating way to learn these beginner errors....... Safe to say - I will be heading back to the Bay and will aim for windy and wild weather when I do so. Night is falling faster and faster so I will be trying to cram my recording sessions in when the light is still present. I'm already dreading the day of 'leaving'. There's so much to record.

The last couple of weeks I will be working on my own and capturing what I can of sounds from the area. It's a strange time to be in Alnwick, the first week of the castle and some surrounding tourist attractions closing down for Winter. In a sense - you could think that I've 'missed it', that I am too late, or, you could think that my timing is perfect, to capture the personal sound signature's specific to this area, devoid of the tourist crowds.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.