White Noise: binaural

White Noise: binaural

All MP3s under binaural:
Autumn Winds
Babbling Creek
Baltic Waves
Birth of a Supercell
Caledonian Squalls
Cave by the Waterfall
Dabbling Dishwasher
Daybreak on the Amazon Basin
Detifoss
Devil’s Pool
Distant Thunder Billows
Dream Forest
Dreamshower
Early Winter Wilderness
Empty Conference Room
End of the Cavern
Forest Brook
Healing Storm
Healing Waves
Hillside Thunder
Jungle River Rapids
Kicking Horse Rapids
Lavatory 3 AM
Meadow Brook Meditation
Mountain Valley Breezes
Nothing but Crickets
Nothing but Rain
Ocean Breeze
Piscina Aquagym
Rain and Thunder in the Amazon Basin
Rain on the Patio
Rain on the River
Rattling Air Conditioner
Rocky Fjord Rannil
Rolling Surf
Sleepy Beach Waves
Sleepy Car Ride
Sleepy Jungle Slumber
Sleepy Office Hallway
Snowstream
Spring Nocturne
Sprinklin’ Crickets
Streamside Sojourn
Tiger Leaping Gorge
Top of the Chasm
Turbine Hall
Victoria Falls
Wilderness River
Winter River Tarry
Ye Olde Cozy Cottage

Daybreak on the Amazon Basin

Daybreak on the Amazon Basin White Noise MP3

Duration: 73 minutes 48 seconds, Size: 101 MB.

During my travels around the globe, I have come to see the Earth differently. For me, it is quite eloquently a solar-powered jukebox.

The more sunlight that is readily available for plants to grow, the more available energy there will also be to power a particular ecosystem’s bioacoustics. Sunny places are, for the most part, louder places (for example, tropical rainforests). Ergo, darker places are quieter places. To put it in a nutshell — as you go towards the equator, the Earth gets louder; as you go towards the poles, the Earth gets quieter. (This effect is also naturally complemented by the fact that sound travels faster in warm air as compared to cold air; and sound just as well travels farther in humid air as compared to dry air.)

Jukebox Earth plays a variety of different tunes. Select any given set of latitude and longitude and you will hear an entirely different melody. The more time that any given location has had to further evolve to develop more complex, more ecologically intertwined relationships, the more symphonic the music becomes. Glaciation, logging, and other forms of devastation drastically reduce the composition back to elemental forms, where the composition begins to slowly rebuild again in rhythm, diversity, complexity. I’ve met people who have the uncanny ability to correctly identify a place, the corresponding season, and time of day based on the environmental sounds alone.

Plant life is essential to understanding the distribution of natural sounds and how sounds behave in such environments. Fauna is so dependent on flora for survival, it can be said that the vegetation can be interpreted as the musical score. From the plants and vegetation alone (i.e., structure and composition), it is possible to predict the kinds of animal sounds and other events that are likely to occur at other times of the day or year. I like to pretend that the plants themselves have voices, and this illusion is helpful as a conceptual sound designer when I am given only a photograph or video clip and must correctly apply the respective sounds.

The Earth is music, spinning in the deafening silence of space; and nowhere is this heard ever more clearly than in the Amazon Basin at daybreak. The sun has just risen, mist is flowing and swirling in the humid morning air above the warm jungle canopy, and the first rays of light can be heard as the stillness of chirping crickets and rasping cicadas grows punctuated by the resonating songs of birds at dawn.

Distant howler monkeys eagerly join in the forest’s awakening chorus, insect-like calls of poison dart frogs and whistled notes of wrens and antbirds permeate the atmosphere, and surround-sound is being recorded as deep cries of wild animals parley amongst one another in 360 degrees around my binaural omni-directional microphone pair.

This forest is remarkably clean — constant ticks and snaps and thuds of distant branches can be heard falling to the ground as they climactically concede to the rainforest’s warm temperature and humidity, favorable conditions for decay which keep the forest looking fresh and forever young.

What you hear is the interaction between fauna and flora, untouched by human development, which has formed from tens of millions of years of complete ecological symbiosis. Every inch of the forest is alive, and the closer you listen, the more life you will hear. Everything moves, everything breathes. Everything is animated with music and energy. Listen long enough, and you begin to hear the gentle side of the always-awake jungle spirits.

Daybreak on the Amazon Basin features a long 15 second fade-in/fade-out at the beginning and the end. Encoded at a bitrate of 192 kbps for better listening quality. Listen with headphones!

Nothing but Crickets

Nothing but Crickets White Noise MP3     

Duration: 62 minutes 55 seconds, Size: 86.4 MB.

Nothing but Crickets — perfect for sleep and tinnitus relief. Includes only the sounds of serene shrilling crickets — there are no other sounds of birds, animals, people, wind or water.

Nothing but Crickets was binaurally recorded in Canada at night on a grassy forest meadow, under a star-swept dome of glistening white dots. We are miles deep within this secluded virgin wilderness, at complete isolation from the modern world of bustling crowds and bellowing cars.

A symphony of serenading gryllidae harmonizes beautifully throughout the recording in a constant cadenced chorus of see-sawing chirps and long, low, simultaneous hums. One group chirps, and another hums. The sound is mesmerizing, soothing, sublime — this was the perfect lullaby I needed for sleeping under the stars. (And packing up my recording equipment afterwards, as I lied there in my bivy sack I witnessed a shooting star — truly one of life’s greatest moments!)

The shrilling of these crickets is an intimate performance nevertheless — it is the males who sing, either to attract the female crickets (and to repel the other males) or to broadcast their post-copulatory bliss to the heavens (the resulting “happy hum”). This is called stridulation — and the crickets do this by rubbing the top of one forewing against the teeth of their other forewing, resembling the act of one playing a violin.

The crickets’ noise level remains constant all throughout, never stopping to rest as they take turns cricking and rhyming their nightly ballad. Adjust the volume to your taste to control a sense of distance and proximity.

Nothing but Crickets is a non-looped natural soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo quasi-binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.

Jungle River Rapids

Jungle River Rapids White Noise MP3

Duration: 66 minutes 57 seconds, Size: 91.9 MB.

A steep descent in the riverbed has this swiftly moving jungle river rushing, roaring, raging and rumbling through the Amazon rainforest with torrents of surging water, violent gushing eddies, turbulent white bubbles and tempest-like currents. It echoes across the jungle and off the nearby cliffs in thundering resonance, adding a spacious feel to the soundscape and a strong bass presence that conveys a solid physical milieu.

Special attention was given to the choice of the river’s recording location to portray the most spacious sound, yet still have the listener be able to hear and enjoy the close-up sounds of splashing water.

Compared to synthesized white noise, this soundscape has a distinguished natural variability which gives the recording extra life and substance, making it easier to listen to over long periods of time.

I’m sure this river was full of hungry piranhas and sneaky candirus, but recording it was a thoroughly vested thrill. Making this recording was extremely fun and risky.

Includes no sounds of birds or animals. Includes no fade-in or fade-out. Jungle River Rapids is a non-looped natural soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo binaural-baffled field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrated encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.

Ye Olde Cozy Cottage

Ye Olde Cozy Cottage White Noise MP3

Duration: 64 minutes 01 seconds, Size: 87.9 MB.

Imagine treading through a perilous wilderness blizzard with an oppressive rucksack and heavy pair of winter boots. Its gales are bitingly cold and numbingly knifelike; its windchills a blistering -40°C. Your body temperature is plummeting, frostbite is imminent, and it isn’t long before some random starving Yeti emerges from the pale to devour your flesh.

Your face is raw and gellid, and it feels as if it is reverting itself into a sumerian votive statue. A miasmic tendency to fatalism overwhelms you as you hesitantly accept your impending frosty doom. Suddenly, as if through divine intervention, a faint gray silhouette in the distance paints itself into the corner of your eye, onto a glaring white canvas of snow.

Squinting your eyes and trudging a bit closer, it appears to be a small stranded cottage. You are instilled with a glimmer of hope, and you let out a brisk sigh of relief. With jollity and high spirits, you trek down over towards the providential edifice and as you arrive upon its doorsteps, a sign reads, “Ye Olde Cozy Cottage – Free cocoa inside!!!”

Seeing as how it can only stand you in good stead, you take refuge in the mysterious abode, shut the door behind you, and you feel your ears slowly thaw as a light cascade of warm air emanating from the roaring fireplace gives a soft, gentle applause to the concert of crackling timber.

Safe and secure within this warm cozy cottage, stifled blusters of 90 km/h winds from the terrible snowstorm outside can be heard howling across the hills.

Casting your gaze about the resplendent furnishings of this sacrosanct haven, a dozen sizzling mugs of hot creamy cocoa vie for attention atop the kitchen counter.

Full of jubilant delight, you slip off your clumsy boots and gloves and set aside your wilderness paraphernalia, and you nab a tantalizing mug of cocoa adorned with soft white miniature marshmallows, flop yourself onto the couch next to the hearth, and pensively sip away the hours beside the cozy glowing embers.

Listen to Ye Olde Cozy Cottage under a warm blanket on a cold winter day or at a low volume to break up the encroaching tedium that comes with working in the silence.

Top of the Chasm

Top of the Chasm White Noise MP3

Duration: 65 minutes 53 seconds, Size: 90.5 MB.

Top of the Chasm was recorded where the steep rocky cliffs of the Zambezi River Gorge reverberate with the sounds of rushing water. Recorded at the top of the chasm, overhanging the river far below, the sound of running water is blended and modified by the morning air and multiplied by echoing cliffs yielding a unique river gorge sound.

The deep gorge is a result of waterfall erosion that takes thousands of years to create. It is an ongoing process that we can only participate as reverent observers because the magnitude of the forces and time the process requires are beyond our intuitive comprehension. This unique peacefulness of the gorge sound is a result of a natural merging of the effects of vast volumes of air and water.

Behind a bend in the gorge and half a kilometer away, the waterfall still plummets, as the geological process is never-ending. That ancient presence is represented in the recording as a sub bass rumble at about 10 Hz (10 Hz is the same frequency as alpha brain waves), created as the massive amount of water tumbles down 108 meters (360 feet) and shakes the earth.

Top of the Chasm is a natural soundscape composed of a digital stereo binaural field recording. Recorded above the Zambezi River downstream from Victoria Falls in southern Zambia, Africa. Encoded at a bitrate of 192 kbps for quality listening.

Companion field recording: Victoria Falls

Dabbling Dishwasher

Dabbling Dishwasher White Noise MP3

Duration: 65 minutes 37 seconds, Size: 90.1 MB.

Something nobody has ever said in a movie:
“that font is large… TOO large.”

Distant Thunder Billows

thunder sounds

Duration: 63 minutes 25 seconds, Size: 87.0 MB.

Thunder rolls seamlessly across the tops of the clouds accompanied by a summer evening lightning show that continues for hours. Distant Thunder Billows is distant and non-threatening with a unique rumbling sound. It is ideal for relaxation. A gentle rain falls throughout forming a high counterpoint to the bass and sub-bass of the thunder. As the rain gently increases in intensity, the thunder continues to have a gentle, delicate rumble rather than startling crashes. There is a comfort and enjoyment of hearing nature’s power from a safe distance.

There is such an unusual and alluring sense of musical space in this recording — unlike any I have heard before or since. There is a gradually undulating tempo that relaxes me, with such sanguine harmony and muffled resonance of timbre, until I am completely calm, if not asleep. If I could only listen to one recording before bed, this may well be it.

Also, this recording has a good sub-bass presence for those who have the equipment to reproduce it.

Perfect for ambience, creating a mood, masking external rumbling sounds, or as a simple reminder of those long relaxing summer evenings.

Winter River Tarry

Winter River Tarry White Noise MP3     

Duration: 67 minutes 26 seconds, Size: 92.6 MB.

A bubbling pulsation flickers at the periphery of a small secluded snow-capped river islet during the deep calm and enveloping silence of a winter.

The overall mood is delicate, unhurried and pensive, yet frolicking water resounds through the forest air with festive mien — a charming counterpoint to the quieting force of these wintry northern landscapes.

Lush liquid melodies are peppered with surging regions of natural white noise rummaging across the vast riverbed, and a delightful level of sonic enthusiasm is consistently maintained throughout the frequency spectrum.

The binaural microphones were centered above the river about 5 feet (1.5 meters) in height. A full 360-degree audio portrait of constant running water is the result.

In the short, chilled, crystalline days that accompany the winter solstice, we find ourselves a quiet passage on the prolonged journey into spring.

We reflect on the accomplishments of the year just past, and make plans and goals and resolutions for the one to come. It is a period of active reflection, an interim for looking both inward and outward… at once.

Winter River Tarry — white noise hydrology for sleep, concentration, relaxation and tinnitus relief. Includes no birds or animals, people, planes or cars.

Winter River Tarry is a natural soundscape composed of a non-layered unprocessed digital stereo binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.

Rattling Air Conditioner

Rattling Air Conditioner White Noise MP3

Duration: 63 minutes 34 seconds, Size: 87.3 MB.

For those of us that like our air conditioners with a little flavor:

Hint of Rattle™.

Delicious. Shake well before serving.

Sleepy Car Ride

Sleepy Car Ride White Noise MP3

Duration: 63 minutes 40 seconds, Size: 86.5 MB.

It’s very well known that both babies and children find themselves lulled to sleep by the soothing low rumble of an ordinary car ride. The deep, low, bassy frequencies that encapsulate you as the motor steadily hums along and the wheels gyrate and spin a zillion times per second creates a dynamic, yet completely pacifying, sleepy comforting soundscape.

Buckle up and strap yourself in as I spend my entire life savings on gasoline to chauffeur you down the majestic asphalts of the Trans-Canada Highway for one full hour. Destination: Snoozeland!

If you’re bored of the monotone low-pitched white noise alternatives, give this a try.

Non-looped soundscape composed of immaculately edited digital stereo binaural field recordings to exclude all audible distractions from the interior (sounds of me flipping the turn signal, sounds of contact on the driver’s wheel with the grip of my hand, sounds of contact on the pedal with my foot). Encoded at a bitrate of 192 kbps for quality listening.

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge White Noise MP3     

Duration: 63 minutes 53 seconds, Size: 87.7 MB.

A whirling fairy fabric of rapid white spray and rushing comet masses passes through a craggy incline and down a shingly pair of precipices.

Rushing across minor taluses, moderate moraines and exquisitely sculptured flood washes, jostling from side to side by the rocky slopes upon which its groves are growing, Tiger Leaping Gorge teaches the world the language of running water.

Now, Yunnan legend has it that this river gorge was named after the circumstance of a tiger leaping across the river at its narrowest point, in order to escape from a pursuing hunter.

Many people make the journey to the edge of many a swiftly flowing river rapid, but are often held at bay by a river’s final challenge. In order to cross over to the opposite side, the determined adventurer must possess skill with which to leap across rivers.

Thus far man has demonstrated meager cunning in the execution of this endeavor. The placement of such obstacles forces one to covet the tiger’s acrobatic aptitude.

If ever a time comes that the feline wages war with man, it will always have safe respite beside Tiger Leaping Gorge.

I want to have carbonated tiger steak for dinner.

Tiger Leaping Gorge is a non-layered natural soundscape with no sounds of people, birds, animals, planes or cars. On-location digital stereo binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.

Cave by the Waterfall

Cave by the Waterfall White Noise MP3

Duration: 62 minutes 13 seconds, Size: 85.4 MB.

While spelunking through the cave of Waitomo in New Zealand I had wandered off and found this magical little spot. I was not the first to discover it, although no path led to it. There was a sign, handwritten with charcoal that said this was a sacred site. In the corner there was a fire pit and beside it lay a sleeping mat woven out of palm fronds.

Just outside the cave entrance is a waterfall and a tree, a perfect perch for morning doves and a view of the rising sun.

Cave by the Waterfall is a place that only one person can go at a time… a private, deep, hard-to-explain, and astonishingly memorable soundscape.

Turbine Hall

Turbine Hall White Noise MP3

Duration: 64 minutes 2 seconds, Size: 87.9 MB.

Ever wondered what pure environmental brownian noise sounds like? Here’s one thing for sure: this room is huge. The sound produced here is very broadband and spacious, which makes it great for sound masking.

This + headphones = complete auditory isolation. Contains no voices, people, or distracting pops or creaks.

Hillside Thunder

thunder sounds

Duration: 64 minutes 23 seconds, Size: 88.4 MB.

One of the first lessons that one learns when recording environmental white noise, especially rain and thunder, is that every moment is unique. Showers ebb and flow. No two soughs of thunder sound exactly the same. No trickle of water is the same vibration of frequency from one moment to the next. When one starts to add up all the little events that are happening simultaneously in a particular rainscape, then the possibilities seem bally well endless. I find myself going out with almost always two packs of Sudafed in my Portabrace pouch and recording 3, 4, 5 hours of rain or more to find just the right fitting nuance that invokes the feeling of “being there”. Ideally I try to have a finished product of about 65 minutes long with no looping.

Sometimes though, nature does not cooperate when all you want is rain and thunder to kick back, leave the day behind, and contemplate life. Many animals, particularly birds and amphibians, become vocal at certain times of day, or when environmental conditions such as temperature or amount of daylight backslide into their comfort range. This can limit the length of time that a rainscape is free of distracting animal sounds.

Recorded in the evening on the high alpine meadows of Opal Hills in Jasper National Park (the largest national park of the Canadian Rockies), Hillside Thunder is an atmospheric and spacious stereo binaural field recording of the powerful omnipresent forces of nature, sans the mating calls and testosterone rituals — here it’s just thunder, rain, and deep, laryngeal mumbles of thunder. A beautiful dusk embraces a summer evening. Delicate copper sunshine is poking through fluffy clouds and across dewy blades of grass. The sound is drifting through blue sky and the still cool air. Ah… one of the nice things about summer here is that the nights are always cool.

Although rain falls steadily throughout this exclusively natural soundscape, I do not recommend this for sleep mostly in part due to the slightly closer lightning strikes, but rather as a palliative chillaxed ambience to cool yourself down and chillax to.

Meadow Brook Meditation

Medow Brook Meditation White Noise MP3     

Duration: 65 minutes 58 seconds, Size: 90.6 MB.

At the foot of the environing grassy hill-dome meadows of Mount Elbrus in Caucacus National Park, a blissfully soothing mountain valley brook is heard plainly speaking and singing its pebbly words and songs across a green sedgy glade.

A perfect array of atmospheric binaural imaging blends with sedate percussive notes of water to generate a palpable tranquility.

This mountain meadow brook slowed in a wide bend, and the recording location narrowed my attention to the small drops beating on stones, glinting on angles of jutting rocks, whispering, cooing, plashing, throbbing in one waterful song — the resulting white noise ambience boasting a very delicate auditory texture combining both soporific harmonics with meditative introspection.

Meadow Brook Meditation is a publication of nature’s own written music, music derived from the rush and trill of a thousand untraceable sources — the whole air vibrates with myriad liquid voices blended that we cannot analyze.

These such natural wilderness waters are always ever varying, always so remarkably compounded. Miles of drip are distilled from humble fern moss and minerals, and no two streams are alike. Meandrous mafficking mountain water is one thing, languorous exogitative listless lake water another, rumbling rambling rabblerousing rivers another — while town water, deadened and lost, is nothing — not water at all.

Meadow Brook Meditation is a natural white noise soundscape composed of a non-layered, unprocessed, digital stereo binaural-baffled field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.

Rocky Fjord Rannil

Rocky Fjord Rannil White Noise MP3     

Duration: 66 minutes 20 seconds, Size: 91.9 MB.

The afternoon wind was a mere soft breathing, and this roving rivulet of rambling water caught my ear as the loch emptied its way down the valley of rocks and boulders.

The sonic texture of this natural music is flavored with the distinct aura of a non-distractive outdoor spaciousness that has its bubbles spinning and dancing along with the expanding delicacy of nimble swirling eddies and a thousand glittering rills.

The resulting composition is soothing, yet still capable of bubbling and bobbling with delightful incentive.

Rocky Fjord Rännil is a birdless, voiceless, natural white noise recording consisting of pure flowing water. There are no sounds of people, planes, cars, animals or music.

Rocky Fjord Rännil uses a binaural-baffled recording technique that produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.

Rain on the Patio

Rain on the Patio White Noise MP3

Duration: 65 minutes 31 seconds, Size: 89.9 MB.

This is a one-hour uninterrupted conglomeration of gentle soothing rain and the occasional growl of thunder. Recorded right on my friend’s patio in a quiet secluded woodland area, there is no music and no sounds of animals, voices, or industry.

It is late May, at the end of the warmest and sunniest day of spring so far. The ice has left the lakes. The first needles and leaves are just starting to open on the small trees and shrubs, the grasses sprouting, and ferns are beginning to poke their fiddle heads through the mosses and leaves.

The sun has set and as the last vestiges of daylight peacefully fade from a mesmerizing firmament suffused by lavender brumes and amaranthine clouds, a shift of activity occurs among the night crickets while water trickles down the walls and down onto the rough consortium of rocks and cement.

Intended less for intense listening and more for scene-setting and sipping your favorite beverage to, the concluding audio portrait is a cleansing cooling rainshower that leaves a sublime state of calm and relaxation.

Rolling Surf

Rolling Surf White Noise MP3     

Duration: 64 minutes 19 seconds, Size: 88.3 MB.

A late winter evening on a stranded secluded rocky pine island. Life slows its pace as a heavenly pulsation of effervescent ocean surf immerses the mind with currents of emotional ambiguity.

Unified waves of liquid sound flow into expansions of mammoth proportions, filling the mental universe with their calming effect.

Mesmerized, the binaural listener moves without motion, subconsciously searching through synapses triggered by the psychosomatic response of oceanic oscillations stretched to the point of infinity.

These efferent waves of natural white noise achieve an unfurling that is hidden in the soothing nature of the melodic evolution of the elements. This unfurling produces somewhat of an inspirational effect, as the sonic mood effortlessly carries the listener into contemplative regions — and the listener’s inner consciousness finds itself expanding in direct ratio to the ocean tide’s intangible growth.

I set the binaural microphones into the shoreline rocks of the eastern end of this small (but relatively steep) island. Rolling Surf can be utilized as an invigorating, simultaneously unintrusive background ambience to facilitate concentration.

Rolling Surf is a non-looped natural soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo quasi-binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.

Piscina Aquagym

Piscina Aquagym White Noise MP3

Duration: 62 minutes 40 seconds, Size: 86.0 MB.

Although there are no audibly discernible voices to be heard in this recording, this sexy exciting soundscape of familiar swashing fun has me plashing and pattering back and forth across a long narrow lap pool in a continuously oscillating rhapsody of binaurally recorded freestyle strokes, soft slushing backstrokes, velvety blurping breaststrokes and short recuperative interludes.

The floor is peppered with light straying dabs and beads of water and spray. The overhead air vents can be heard whooshing and rumbling with undulating sibilance, and an occasional shower sprinkles.

Sleepy Office Hallway

Sleepy Office Hallway White Noise MP3

Duration: 65 minutes 32 seconds, Size: 90.0 MB.

My husband just said “don’t eat paper!” who the heck is he to judge?

Streamside Sojourn

Streamside Sojourn White Noise MP3

Duration: 61 minutes 52 seconds, Size: 84.9 MB.

In the upper mountain highlands of Ontario, in a steep sided but wide spaced valley, a stream meanders from wetland to wetland flowing through a mixed forest of white pine, red maples, and white, yellow and black birches. This is a rocky wilderness of deer, moose, and beaver — although none were captured in the recording.

The stream has a light cerebral character that bears a certain sense of grounding for reflective thought and meditation. The surround-sound recording of water immerses the listener in the stream experience to wash away tension and cleanse the soul, effectively distracting the mind from the thoughts of everyday stress and concerns, allowing the mind (and body) to relax. A friend observed that this recording was ideal in helping her make the transition from a stressful workday to home life. She had also asked when and why I had become interested in field recording.

Hum… if I really think about it, it’s hard to say. I have had access to tape recorders ever since I was a kid and was always fascinated by the process of recording sounds and playing them back. There is something inherently rousing in using recorded sound as a form of sensory feedback.

While in high school I distinctly remember recording a thunderstorm on my boom box. Despite the awful quality, I used to listen to that recording again and again and reflect on exactly what it was that made me want to preserve that entirely natural experience. There was something unique in trying to capture sonic events in the world beyond human control and conscious intention.

In the beginning it’s usually about recording one’s voice then trying to bang on random stuff to make “music”. But simply recording yourself making noise doesn’t always mean it’s “music”. Any produced sound is at first a seed for some form of reflective activity and if the noise develops into a coherent form or simply even a reason to continue the activity, then we might be looking at “music”, which for me is more of a social phenomenon.

From time to time I prefer to use the term “sound capturing” rather than “field recording” (which stems from a rather technical description than an instinctual activity), because of the ephemeral nature of sound, and the need to include the element of human decision in the act of recording. So — we have the “self” and the “field”, or rather internal and external domains where a unique form of exchange happens via the medium of sound along with the technical means to mediate that exchange.

The field is entered and one chooses to use one sense over another. Hearing becomes the tool for a deeper form of listening, the metaphor we know as a form of reflective thought.

So the story continues that every time I was lucky enough to have access to a portable recorder I was instinctually drawn to “the field”, to creeks, forests, lakes, rivers, buildings, crowds and areas of random appliances.

The field is an open system where sound cannot be controlled but rather explored and contributed to. It is the unknown elements, the small surprises and everyday discoveries that keep me going out and listening for more. I’ve always told my clients that the closer you listen, the more you will hear. But that in fact is my very approach to the sounding world in general. From the microscopic events of water ripples and insect behavior to the cosmological planetary cycles, there is an infinitely boundless field in which to play and hear.

Baltic Waves

Baltic Waves White Noise MP3

Duration: 64 minutes 59 seconds, Size: 89.2 MB.

If there is one thing I would relinquish my left buttock for should such a situation arise, it’d most unequivocally hands down bar none be keeping the great privilege of couchsurfing. When I traveled to Estonia on business I had stayed with couchsurfing host Hedi for two wonderful days and I was wholesomely treated and catered to fifty times better than any five star resort could’ve managed. She provided free transportation, free information, free food, a free bed, but most importantly friendship and great conversation.

Keen on archiving nature’s myriad proclamations, one of the places she took me to was a secluded stoney beach where she had spent her childhood summers. A beach which at the water’s edge sang over a gravelly bed and curved and frisked in and out and here and there — a divine place for wading, which on one side is brisk sparkling water as far as the eye can see, while on the other side there is endless wilderness — a land of forest, rocks, and hills.

Though a poverty of wildlife was noted, suffice it to say shoreline listening often offers the most productive diversity of sounds and interesting acoustic behavior. Where the two meet, the water action has gently polished and softened the edges of the stones and boulders over the millennia. It is a process that continues today as light saline waves continue to roll towards the Baltic shore. When they reach the shore, the gentle waves create musical splashes as they wash over the rocks. This relaxing melody forms a unique counterpoint to the sound of the main breaking waves.

Baltic Waves is perfect for lounging and meditation, or for a cooling ambience. There are no birds or animals or music. It is simply the relaxing sounds of water and waves. Edited digital binaural field recording. Encoded at a bitrate of 192 kbps for quality listening.

Detifoss

Detifoss White Noise MP3     

Duration: 63 minutes 05 seconds, Size: 86.6 MB.

Prospectively killing myself is wonderful. I recorded this last June of 2007 right on the edge of the rocks (a truly catalytic experience) at the great Dettifoss. The Dettifoss Waterfall is located in north-eastern Iceland, situated on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river which flows from the Vatnajökull glacier and collects water from a large area in north-east Iceland.

At 328 feet wide (100 meters) and a drop of 144 feet (44 meters) down to the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon, Dettifoss is reputed to be the largest, most powerful waterfall in Europe — having a flow estimated at between 200 and 500 cubic metres of water per second.

I really like that there are no barriers or railings (at least not yet) except common sense and your own sure-footing. I could’ve been round-house-kicked down into that storming abyss of water by a Muay Thai master right out of the blue.



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