White Noise: high-pitched
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.
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 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.
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.
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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- Karen Ramirez BFA