White Noise: brooks and creeks
All MP3s under brooks and creeks:
Meadow Brook Meditation
Rocky Fjord Rannil
Winter River Tarry
Duration: 65 minutes 31 seconds, Size: 89.9 MB.
Dream Forest — perfect to use as a sleep aid or peaceful background noise. I have recorded this area of Canada’s boreal forest more than 300 times and each time I visit this wonderful little amphitheater I fall deeper in love with its changing voice.
Dream Forest is a digital binaural recording of one of those sacrosanct nights that follows a warm spring day. The first thunderstorm of the season has passed, its lightning having released a nutritious rainfall of freshly ionized nitrogen. Leaves are just beginning to unfold, ferns are unfurling, and water is everywhere. Water is running and on the move.
The sounds of peaceful trickles of running water come from all around, and larger moving volumes can be heard in the distant background. Emanating from around, seemingly without a direct source, a velvety sound fills the atmosphere. It constantly evolves and undulates, seemingly self-creating, just like the evening mist that gently floats through the maze of ferns and thickets of shrubbery. It sounds like insects, but this time of year is too soon after winter for the six-leggeds to be reproducing. Surprisingly, the trilling is toads.
In the distance, amid the loose debris of the forest floor, a subtle soothing chorus of spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) can be heard as well, the earliest frogs in the spring to call in this area. They call from the pools and puddles caused by the spring melt waters and previous winter rains. Their crescendo of nighttime whistles from amorous males are as much a sign of the end of winter as the return of migratory birds. Spring peepers are very small, only about an inch to an inch and a half long. Rarely do I get to see one — I have stood right by the pond where they are calling and suddenly shine a flashlight into the shallow water only to see nothing. No movement — just dead leaves on the pond bottom. Oy, these guys have good camouflage! Spring peepers will also climb and lift themselves up out of the water on twigs and stems, perhaps to make their call carry further.
Most people from the city don’t know what they are, thinking they are a kind of insect like a cricket.
They start calling here in late April, and they will continue calling into June when these small wet areas begin to dry up. In May other species start to join in. They usually sing after dusk, and stop when the temperature gets down to about 12 C (53 F). Though they may start up for a short chorus during the day, if it is cloudy and rainy.
Duration: 67 minutes 44 seconds, Size: 93.0 MB.
Thousands of joyous sinuous streams are born in the snowy range, but nary a poet among them all can sing like my little friend here.
Men are not born equal, neither are streams. This snowy alpine stream here was born a poet, a perfect seraph among its palavering fellows.
This stream sang cheerily at every ripple, establishing liquid tempos amid pleasantly shrill chords of crystalline demeanor, and its tasty dose of bubbles strived to elevate the frivolous mien.
Even in these barren white fields frozen with snow, these alabaster deserts ostensibly devoid of all life, here lies an emphatically frolicsome, simultaneously imperterturbable wilderness glacier stream — a tenuous bubbling soup of placid sonic textures and pleasantly shrill ricocheting notes of water.
And even if one harbors no interest in these brilliantly sculpted pine-tinged mountain topographies and their contemplative environments, this songful silvery rill mesmerizes and captivates the listener with its lush ruminative qualities, expertly banishing tension and transporting the listener to realms of contagious relaxation.
Snowstream is a non-layered, non-processed natural white noise soundscape composed of a digital stereo binaural-baffled on-location 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.
Duration: 63 minutes 43 seconds, Size: 87.5 MB.
I’m strolling through the woods, sunlight filtering down through the verdant canopy above, my feet rustling through several inches of yesteryear’s cast off leaves. At first, I notice a seemingly special ambience to the area without being able to put a finger on exactly what has changed.
Then, as I continue hiking about, I recognize in the distance the faint familiar sound of running water. I detour towards the source of sound and start to explore. Suddenly — arriving at a small narrow valley, a neat little brook rambling about a bed of rocks unfolds before my eyes as melodic gurgles of sparkling wonderment greet me in welcome.
A constant mesmerizing chorus of babbling bubbles, gabbling gurgles, encircling eddies and subtly sputtering splashes, the sound produced is nothing short of magical – calming yet reinvigorating.
Contains no birds or animals. My special thanks and gratitude goes out to Kevin Flannery. He’s the landowner of this wonderful brook and graciously gave me the permission to record it.
Forest Brook is a non-looped natural soundscape composed of an hour-long 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.
Duration: 63 minutes 45 seconds, Size: 87.5 MB.
Babbling Creek was digitally recorded using my binaural recording technique on a calm, cool, summer afternoon at Sinclair Creek in Kootenay National Forest. It’s late summer, the sun is barely peeking through the trees, and deep down in a valley that sports some of the most exquisite western red cedars home to some of earth’s rarest flora and fauna and most spectacular landscapes, the sound of rushing water here against the rocks and valley walls proves all but phenomenal.
I have to step and hop from rock to rock to carefully position my microphone baffle in the middle of where there is a water drop of about 1 foot (0.3 meters) as the creek then finds four paths to arrive at a small 4 foot (1.21 meters) wide pool. There it pauses a bit as if to gather itself together to flow further into a larger rocky pond. The natural, musical sound of playful little pitches is of both peace and seclusion.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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- Karen Ramirez BFA