White Noise: chillax
Duration: 63 minutes 57 seconds, Size: 87.8 MB.
It was one of those mornings where the mist and wisps of fog had twisted and risen in the valleys, lingering like the last river spirits of the night, reluctant to admit that the break of dawn had already arrived.
‘Twas in this befoggled morning dawn during a rainstorm that I recorded Rain on the River, right on the bank of the Deerfield River with my trusty pair of DPA 4060-BM omnidirectional condensor microphones mounted onto my GUY HRTF baffle. My Sound Devices 722 and Lunatec V2 mic preamp were both safe and sound in my watertight Pelican 1500 case but while they were sitting there basking in their warmth my 4060s had to take all the beating.
A cataract of constant plummeting rain falls throughout the recording, forming a high exuberant counterpoint to the lower bass and sub-bass of delicate rolling thunder rumbling across the tops of clouds above the listener. The thunder has a low soothing growl rather than startling claps or crashes or booms, so any progress you make towards sleep or being one with the universe will not be thrown into abrupt discomposure. Subtle, sparsely scattered bird calls can be heard in the distance.
Swift multitudinous drops of rain continually plash and patter the river’s smooth glassy levels, and they are heard making little dimples and bells and spray in an ebullient melody of constantly shifting crescendos. The ecstatic flow of buoyant streaming water from the river has a more engaging, relaxing, random variation of natural white noise when compared to electronically processed white noise or white noise software. The duality of both low and high frequencies facilitates listening as our ears tend to crave for one or the other after prolonged singular exposure to either for an extended period of time.
A tirelessly shifting array of liquid awesome — this is the only MP3 that takes you right to the heart of the storm without getting your snugglebuns fried by lightning. No music, no voices, no planes, no synthesizers, no bilk. No layering or looping effects were used in any way to enhance the storm.
Rain on the River is a 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. Click here to read more about me and my recording techniques.
The full 63:57 MP3 has no fade-in or fade-out at the beginning or end, so it can seamlessly be played looped without any distraction or sudden change of tempo. Compatible with all CD players, iPods, iPads, and iPhones. If you are using an iPad or iPhone, make sure to read this article. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 61 minutes 43 seconds, Size: 84.7 MB.
Autumn Winds is a unique, constantly undulating form of natural white noise that is excellent for masking office noise and other distractions. It is unique in that it is always changing and evolving — never stagnant or static. This chill, laid back soundscape is an ebb and flow of completely natural white noise of moderate intensity.
The trees are still adorned with leaves, in which their presence modulates and colours the noise of the wind with rustling whispers. These features are complemented by a velvety relaxing tempo that makes this recording an ideal gadget for both sleep and study.
Autumn Winds is as ignorable as it is interesting — it does not demand your attention, but rewards it.
Recorded in the northern Canadian taiga of coniferous forests in September of 2007. There are no sounds of birds, animals, insects, planes, cars, voices or music. This is a non-looped soundscape of pure natural wind sounds (no synthesizers, no layering, no post-processing). Completely seamless and includes no fade-in or fade-out at the beginning or end.
Autumn Winds is a natural white noise soundscape digitally recorded using stereo quasi-binaural Sonic Studios DSM-6S/EHs dimensional microphones. Binaural baffle, omni-directional microphone technique. Encoded at a bitrate of 192 kbps for quality listening.
The complete aural equivalent of watching clouds…
Duration: 65 minutes 37 seconds, Size: 90.1 MB.
I have never been more charmed by a country quite like Sri Lanka. As ubiquitous as poverty is, right alongside the high infant mortality rates, these people are albeit proud, educated, genuinely hospitable, and sedulously spiritual.
For example, my guide Carlu had an advanced collegiate degree, could speak several languages fluently, knew almost every single plant and animal by both their Latin and common names including hilarious scientific anecdotes, but most importantly he was remarkably at ease and eager to discuss the meaning of life for hours on end during the lazy evening hours.
Even though he was in his sixties, he was tireless. One morning he forgot to arrange for my brunch to be packed up for the field, so without comment we promptly stopped at a small communal village so that he could buy me a meal (equivalent to several days’ worth of wages). I irrevocably pried the truth out of him and he confessed that he’d rather labor for days than to have me skip a brunch because he was forgetful. I gave him a kiss on the cheek and squeezed his testicles.
Carlu is just one of the many reasons that Arthur C. Clarke (author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, R.I.P March 19, 2008) lived here, which introduces how I had come to visit Sri Lanka in the first place.
A good childhood friend of mine had just returned from Sri Lanka on a business trip, and she suggested that I travel to the island country to record some of the environment because the denizens are so spiritually uplifting. Though despite the dense population, she assured me that it was also a quiet place, relatively free of noise pollution in the rural areas. The biosphere reserves are very well respected and preserved which to my favor complemented generously my existing library of environmental ambience and wildlife recordings.
She also suggested that I write to Sir Clarke, “You don’t need an address for a BAMF like Arthur C. Clarke, just use Colombo, Sri Lanka, and it’ll get to him.” Oy, could there really be such a place left in this world? I wrote the correspondence letter that same day. Three weeks later, I received a hand written letter in my mailbox from Mr. Clarke graciously referring me to several scholars and experts on nature and Carlu was one of them.
Carlu took me to the Kanneliya Forest, Hurulu Reserve, Horton Plains, and Kalutara Beach, and all four places produced environmental ambience recordings of sexcellent quality.
Sleepy Beach Waves takes place on the secluded Kalutara Beach, which is a long, narrow strip of land of situated 38 kilometers south of Mr. Clarke’s house and rests between the waters of the Laccadive Sea and a wider inlet of water to the east.
The weather and tide conditions were nothing short of perfect that evening — a crème de la crème of widely spaced waves sweeping singularly and sensuously across the smooth, moist, shimmering sand. The lush ebb and flow of waves — both distant and near — gently caress the shore as they break and recede, leaving a light hissing symphonic trail of sound as the surf ever so softly sizzles itself in.
There was no wind at all, which was pretty rare for an open beach — so I removed the microphone windscreens to allow every creamy little detail to be recorded. At the conclusion of this hour long field recording session I snapped up this photo.
Relaxing beach ambience at its best – without the seagulls, without the swimmers, without the sailors. No birds, no animals, no people, no music. No looping or layering effects were used. This is one full hour of pure, unadulterated, wholesome beach waves — both distant and near — lapping against the sun-kissed sandy shores of the Kalutara on a sleepy September sunset twilight.
This soundscape captures the most primal essence of stranded seaside serenity and solitude in 360-degree binaural surround sound. Ah… so peaceful here. Yet there’s fighting going on somewhere at this very minute. Slip on a pair of stereo headphones and dare to cast yourself away.
Sleepy Beach Waves is a non-looped natural undulating “brown noise” (a lower-pitched and less hissy form of “true” white noise) 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.
Duration: 65 minutes 05 seconds, Size: 89.3 MB.
Far beyond the hectic concrete jungle of modern life there exists a parallel reality, an undiscovered world where you can still see and hear things in their purest and most innocent forms.
This field recording situated at the end of a cavern is as primal as it gets. Listen and swathe yourself in melancholy as you experience a private world perhaps as old as human consciousness itself where the most primeval origin and essence of human personal security remains preserved.
Chill out and relax to the low, slow, halcyon breaths of the Atlantic as they resonate, naturally lulled and muffled, into the hollow undulating tunnel walls of nature’s own reverberator — the deep claustral interior of a secluded beachfront cavern I found off the coast of Lydstep Beach.
The cavern is shaped like the human ear canal which collects sounds naturally — the sound of the tide sweeping against the granite walls of the cavern all amalgamate and bounce towards the center where my mikes are carefully positioned.
A deep, smooth, dark ambient texture of prenatal, primordial memories… where the only porn that existed in our time was no more grandiose than horribly malproportioned phalluses on the walls of such most humble abodes.
End of the Cavern is a non-looped natural soundscape composed of an hour-long digital stereo omnidirectional HRTF 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 17 seconds, Size: 90.1 MB.
A cold early winter wilderness wind drifts through the trees as the sun peeks over the horizon. Frost in the trunks and branches crunches and pops as the trees flex.
Winter in the forest is a quiet time. Most of the birds have all but migrated south and most of the animals are fast asleep in their winter hibernation. Lakes, ponds, and small streams are frozen, and a thick blanket of snowcover acts as a sound absorbent. As the days get shorter and a little colder in early December, subtle changes occur in the early morning forest soundscape. The winter birds become more vocal.
In this recording, as the rising sun illuminates the tops of the trees, nuthatches chant and hairy woodpeckers drill. Red squirrels become more mobile after a crust forms on the deep snow. Their warning chatter becomes more frequent as they stray into each other’s territory. An occasional goldfinch sings. The wind chills.
This is a very quiet minimalist recording — you’ll notice that the restless winter air leaves its own background noise imprint. The beginning of the recording has quieter sections, whereas the second half has more wind. Listening with headphones is recommended.
Early Winter Wilderness is for those who enjoy a minimalist soundscape which has long stretches of low volume inactivity, and accurately represents the activities of wind and animals at daybreak in early winter. There is an audible hiss in the recording produced by the recording equipment. It has been encoded at 192 kbps for better audio quality.
Slip on your headphones, hop into your pajamas and cozy bedtime booties, grab a sumptuous fair cup of hot sizzling cider, and chugalug!
Duration: 64 minutes 10 seconds, Size: 88.1 MB.
I had the pleasure of commissioning this sexy exciting soundscape for a huge client over the summer of 2005, though I won’t say who.
The goal was to sculpt a complex background ambience reminiscent of a sci-fi-ish stasis or cryogenic chamber where the inert minds of its subjects naturally retreat into a private world of infinite tranquility, where the experience and concept of Time itself is distorted ever so subtly.
Although there is not a single trace of conscious activity in the brains of its sleepers, it appears as though the Experience itself never ceases, creating atemporal bubbles of memories of transcendental calm the moment the subject awakes.
It may be very well possible that the hypnoencephalic chemicals used in the cryonic process alter the outer cortex of the brain in such a way that is not yet exactly understood, however, scientists believe that cryostatic hibernation is a perfectly safe means of interstellar travel.
Duration: 66 minutes 48 seconds, Size: 91.7 MB.
Dreamshower was recorded in the middle of the night at a narrow passage in the mystical white crystalline La Cloche mountains. The area has an “other world” feel and awareness. Dreamshower exudes a particular ambience and unique vibration.
The recording encompasses the middle to upper audio spectrum with variations caused by the water flows and splashes which creates a mesmerizing rhythm that plays up and down in pitch.
This is a crisp clean rain recording enveloped by a depth and spaciousness that slowly evolves and unfolds. The natural variability makes it less fatiguing to listen to when compared to electronically generated rain sounds. A natural source of “white noise” that is ideal for masking ambient noise and office distractions — no synthesizers, no layering, no looping and no post-processing.
Everyone is snuggled into their beds to stay dry, being gently lulled to sleep. There is no thunder, no animal sounds to distract, and no mechanical sounds — just the sounds of steady soft “female rain”.
The perfect non-drug sleep aid to help you relax and fall asleep. Play Dreamshower at bedtime and drift off to a peaceful and relaxing slumber to alleviate insomnia and sleeplessness.
“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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: 66 minutes 51 seconds, Size: 91.8 MB.
It’s early spring and this secluded Ontarion backcountry wilderness river is filling its streambed with fresh volumes of spirited, sparkling meltwater. The bright, radiant reflection of watery frequencies off the crystalline snow-breaded banks, coupled with the extra revitalizing flow of spring snowmelt, creates a special seasonal sound of exceptional vibrant sonic clarity.
Several unique properties give this field recording a special enchanting aura. The location I recorded it from was unique in that I had found a large two-yard wide, relatively flat-surfaced rock that was almost exactly centered in the riverbed where I set up my mikes and baffle. The river splits and flows past both sides of the rock and reintertwines right from behind. Water is also bubbling its own nuances from underneath this useful instrumental rock.
The headphone-clad listener will be facing upstream as a full 360-degree binaural panorama of surround sound water swishes and bubbles past omni-directionally to either side and behind. As lower-pitched kerplunks and soft percussive notes of water emanate from below, eddies swirl sensuously to either side, and a thousand spherical points of sound drift across the riverbed. Cedar and pine trees alternate with oak and maple among the surrounding flora.
A minimalist field recording, Wilderness River has no birds, no animals, no wind, no insects and no man-made sounds (cars, planes, voices, etc.) that’d act to occupy or engage your attention — only the constant, continuous stress-busting sound of gentle, soothing, streaming water.
Wilderness River 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.
Duration: 65 minutes 21 seconds, Size: 89.7 MB.
Gentle cleansing trickles of rain eagerly bruit the advent of a steady downpour of mild to moderate intensity. Low, rolling moans of thunder resonate across the skies in lingering intervals as they mend the mind and persona from a long day’s endeavors. A comprehensive auscultation with stereo headphones leaves the listener refreshed with a contemplation of purity and renewal.
Healing Storm is a clear crystalline atmosphere that is distant and non-threatening with tender, delicate rumbles rather than sharp crackling thunder. There is a wonderful sense of comfort and enjoyment of hearing nature’s power from a safe distance.
No animals, birds, people, cars or mechanical sounds are included. No music or voices are added. Healing Storm is a natural soundscape composed of edited and mixed digital stereo quasi-binaural field recordings. This recording technique produces a 3-dimensional auditory image when listening with headphones. Encoded at a bitrate of 192 kbps for quality listening.
Duration: 63 minutes 45 seconds, Size: 87.5 MB.
Recorded on a quiet misty summer night, light rain dribbles upon a small moonlit bank while a deep mesmerizing concert of gentle chirping night crickets peep and whistle along with a backdrop harmony of myriad other night time insects. You can hear the occasional fall of dewdrops from the leaves.
I have supplemented this with a steady stream of soothing white noise. Designed to provide the nostalgic auditory summer stimulus that winter and urban living lacks, this’ll help you find your organic sense of grounding that you usually seem to lose during the winter months.
The elements of rhythm are complimented by a natural randomness factor that is relaxing, soothing, and pleasantly refreshing. These combinations of sound best stimulate one’s auditory sense, while the absence of bass frequencies leaves the attention unperturbed. These unique characteristics make this MP3 an aid for meditation, relief for depression and stress, and a natural drug-free gadget for insomniacs.
This passes beyond the realms of awesome into dimensions of quantum hyperliquidawesome not yet charted by humankind that if you were able to grasp the mere concept of it its awesomeness would simultaneously explode both your bladder and brain.
NyQuil in the form of audio.
Listen to this while driving and you’ll die.
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: 66 minutes 29 seconds, Size: 91.3 MB.
To the esteemed space traveler:
May you find the sleeping quarters of this Stellium Mark IV I.S.S. MF-4360 Supreme Intergalactic Starcruiser to be fair and satisfactory.
Duration: 66 minutes 42 seconds, Size: 91.6 MB.
Healing Waves features soft secluded turquoise waves breaking offshore upon long ridges of sandbars, which then roll up and wash onto the glistening coast with positively relaxing vicissitudes of both impulse and impuissance.
Designed with a view of rest and recovery for tired bodies and aching appendages, for exerted minds and exhausted faculties, for wounded hearts and disenchanted souls, this silky smooth ocean soundscape relaxes and recuperates, recenters and re-equilibrates, revitalizes and refreshes the listener with a watery cradle of complete auditory zen.
To record Healing Waves a secluded low tide area was selected, surrounded by a stunning profusion of forests and rocky cliffs, far from homes and highways in an isolated bay. Recording took place during the early evening twilight.
You can hear the low rumbling frequencies of the distant breaking waves, which eagerly precede the final overspread upon the beach. Every so often the subtle strike of ocean spray can just as well be heard lapping against the large foreground rock sitting off in the distance a little to the left of the microphones.
This specific region proved to be perfect for recording the evening tide without any distractions. The result is a pure pristine recording that sounds very open, immediate, alive, and overflowing with the energy of harmonic ocean waves.
Healing Waves is a natural soundscape digitally recorded using stereo binaural HRTF microphones and includes no sounds of animals, birds, people, voices, or traffic. No music has been added. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for quality listening.
Listen to this if you ever reach into the blender to dislodge a stuck icecube without unplugging it first.
Duration: 65 minutes 46 seconds, Size: 90.3 MB.
It is the year 2035 and scientists are currently constructing the Large Hadron Cuddler as a surrogate to its haplessly failed predecessor, the Large Hadron Collider.
Though dauntlessly so as with previous experiments in the never-ending search for the elusive Higgs boson, particle physicists had presumed vacuously that the brash colliding of opposing particle beams would serve as the ultimate vehicle in the discovery of its existence.
However, recent groundbreaking studies have gleaned towards a brilliant new theory suggesting a different, rather peculiar ordinance to producing the inscrutable mass-endowing Higgs: particles must not tussle and collide, but rather, be subjected to a far less forbidding assay — they must gently caress and cuddle.
Members of CERN’s technical division are hard at work 100 meters below the surface of the earth, diligently installing the superconducting quadrupole and cyrodipole electromagnets and pumping them full of liquid helium cooled to just a tad below 2 kelvin required for mass operational cuddling. Amongst the muted roar of underground turbines spinning at nine thousand RPMs are distant, intermittent, unencroaching mumblings from the control network that can be heard through the public address system via the overhead intercom.
A hauntingly soothing sound litany of moderate fluctuations in temporal underground space, infected by the occasional far from equilibrium interventions to diversify the stasis — reverberant rubbings, vesperal sighs, microcollisions, metallic asperities, elemental debris and tiny fragments elegantly recombine into a wordless score, perfect as an aural backdrop for writing your next thesis on how you shall unravel the mysteries of the universe’s sexy exciting hidden dimensions.
Our ears are caressed by resonant acoustical poetry as we take a virtual vacation into the quietly hectic construction site of this handsome hyperparticle supercuddler from the not too distant future. Best for masking rumbling noises and medium-level distractions.
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: 64 minutes 03 seconds, Size: 87.9 MB.
Robust yet tempered zephyrs stir and sift through the densely congregated treetops of towering pines and firs that soar shoulder to shoulder. The air is fresh, alive, and vibrant with a brisk zest of its own that you can smell right through your headphones. The tree needles and branches modulate the blowing wind and become alive with dance and song. It is a cleansing time as well, because old needles and branchlets are offered to the winds.
Pristine omni-directional birdcalls echoing back and forth create an ever gentle reverie of peaceful, soothing, calming sound to aid you with those long trains of thought that just warrant for deep, meditative contemplation and painstaking mental effort.
Mountain Valley Breezes is a form of natural white noise, the sound of serenity. As the leaves rustle and dance and the branches billow, we are reminded of the leisurely days of summer warmth and relaxation, beneath blue skies of meandering fluffy white clouds.
Slip on a pair of sound-isolating headphones/earphones (I recommend the Sennheiser HD 380 PRO headphones, and Etymotic Research ER6i earphones) and try listening to this while you’re reading or working.
Duration: 63 minutes 8 seconds, Size: 86.7 MB.
This clean minimalist recording of pure unadulerated rain sounds (and nothing else) was recorded in a small courtyard area between several houses. There was a concrete porch with a very small awning. The rich textures in the recording emanate from that concrete and the bermuda glass that surrounded the area, which adds a touch of granularity to the aggregate auditory spectacle.
The DSM-1S/H’s are amazing microphones and a lot of this recording’s magic I feel come by the subject’s movement in the sky and the static nature of the rain by which my DSM’s did a fantastic job capturing. I found a cute little rock and snapped up this photo. His name is Bunkerwuggy.
Nothing but Rain is pure peaceful refreshing rain. No birds, no thunder, no wind and no man-made sounds to distract. No music has been added. Bitrate has been encoded at 192 kbps for quality audio reproduction. Edited digital stereo, binaural-baffled HRTF field recording.
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.
Duration: 67 minutes 40 seconds, Size: 92.9 MB.
Under the moonlit skies and chill atmospheres of a midnight, the world attunes to a less active pulse.
Midnight Surf vividly recalls the peace and seclusion of being at the beach in the hushed stillness of the darkened air.
Play at a low volume to relax to the sounds of a constant shore ambience, or slip on your headphones to be invigorated with the gentle throb of the ocean’s mellifluous midnight melody.
No sounds of people, music, birds, animals, ships, planes or cars are included — only the soft sweeping cadence of water washing up onshore.
Midnight Surf is a non-looped natural soundscape composed of edited omni-directional binaural field recordings. 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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