Ways of Listening

Ways of Listening: March 26, 2019

WHAT IS FIELD RECORDING?

Field Recording is a method of recording sounds outside of a recording studio. This can include natural and man-made sounds.

  • Listening through technology

  • Inaudible to the human ear - Infrasound and Ultrasound

  • Directional, focussed sounds

  • Ambient Soundscapes (R. Murray Schaeffer, The Tuning of the World, 1977)

  • Small sounds and large sounds

  • Spaces

  • Places

  • Material

FIELD RECORDING + LISTENING PRACTICE

Deep Listening - Pauline Oliveros

A practice designed to expand our consciousness of sound through exercises that explore listening attention, meditation, repetition, vocalising, body work and more.

  • Deep Listening - A Composer’s Sound Practice (2005)

Field Listening - Fransico Lopez

Unmediated field listening, is listening in the field without microphones, headphones and sound recorders. This practice generates a connection to our surroundings through listening, a quiet meditative connection that helps us to separate the recorded sound and the actual sound.

  • Sonic Mmabolela - South Africa “concerts”

  • Blindfolds

  • Attention to listening

  • Reversing the visual dominance

Three Listening Modes: Michel Chion

Causal listening - listening to a sound in order to determine the sound’s cause

Semantic listening - listening to decode or interpret a message  

Reduced listening - listening to a sound regardless of its cause or meaning. Accessing the material of a sound, it qualities and characteristics as pure sound without attachments.


FIELD RECORDING + SONGWRITING:

EXTRACTION / ABSTRACTION / MEANING / PERFORMANCE / RHYTHM / REPETITION

  • AGF (Germany/Finland)

    MIGration (2017) - 4:28

    Finland's migratory swans. Poet, vocalist, musician and producer. Recognisable sound, meaning, a message.

  • Kyoka (Japan)

    Intl-A-Bin (2014) - 01:07

    Rhythm, Performance, unsound, loop

  • Laura Luna (Mexico/Poland)

    Ennui Hours (2014) - 8:32

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpZLrI12Fxk

    A combination of soundscape and focussed sounds. Developing rhythms, synthesisers, internal and external sounds. Swelling, organic and non-organic

  • Hype Williams (UK/Russia) (aka Dean Blunt + Inga Copeland)

    The Throning (2010) - 04:05

    Finding patterns

  • Makeda (Australia)

  • Me, First (2018) - 04:05


SPACE, PLACE + TIME

Space / Place:

Toshiya Tsunoda + Haco - Tram Vibrations

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVBAKQ1KqCQ

http://www.hacohaco.net/soundart/tram_vibrations_e.html

Sound walks / Time / Narrative

Janet Cardiff - A Large Slow River http://www.ubu.com/sound/cardiff.html

Zoe Scoglio - The Sedimentary Collective http://www.zoescoglio.com/The-Sedimentary-Collective


POSSIBILITIES OF FIELD RECORDING: SOUND ENERGIES

Sonosphere - Pauline Oliveros

Joyce Hinterding - Encounter with the Halo Field https://soundcloud.com/hinterding/encounter-with-the-halo-field

Annea Lockwood: Wild Energies

https://www.caramoor.org/music/sonic-innovations/wild-energy/

Physicality of Sound - Directionality

Microphones:

  • Parabolic Reflector - long-range directional audio recording. Nature sounds, eavesdropping,

  • Hydrophone - underwater microphone

  • Contact Mic - piezo pickup that captures sound vibrations through objects and surfaces

  • Binaural Mics

  • Induction coil pick up / electromagnetic mic

    Jay-Dea Lopez (Australia) https://soundslikenoise.org/2018/07/09/pulse/


(some) Creative considerations when listening and recording in the field:

  • Extraction

  • Pattern

  • Filters or all sounds

  • Space

  • Location

  • Sound analysis - what are we listening to? Can we break down the frequency spectrums? Timing, timbre, events, textures, colours?

  • Signifiers and context. How does this relate to you and your work?

  • Mediation - the technology between the sound, you and the audience. The sound’s journey.

(some) Practical things to consider when recording in the field

  • Choosing a recorder

  • Battery power, microphone choice, cabling, bags/cases, stands, tools (clamps, elastic bands, tape, bull clips, multi-tool, etc.)

  • Privacy - respect for culture and people. Seek permission if capturing the sounds of people. Understand Cultural significance, religious, tradition, songs etc.

  • Markers - time, date and location at beginning of recording

  • File handling and naming

  • Duration recordings best to be at least 3 minutes depending on situation

  • The sound you are making, is that being recorded?

  • WIND

  • Levels, basic recording skills, mic placement