Location Clifton Hill Equipment Roland R09 Handheld
Again an unexpected opportunity confirms why I need to always carry a recorder on me at all times. While visiting a friends new apartment I noticed the door release mechanism function of the intercom created a sound that almost sounded like how I would imagine an electric chair to sound. It was a harsh unpleasant effect that sounded great. Another interesting addition to the library. While it would be great to capture these sounds with the best gear I have, its better to have captured them at all, that is why I think its important to carry something capable of recording even if it isn't the most perfect microphone you own.
Location Mount Dandenong Equipment Zoom F4 Sennheiser MKH 60 Boom pole array
There are quit a few sounds that I want to try and capture while we are in Melbourne, and then many I am hoping to get the opportunity to find while we travel north. Today was an unplanned opportunity to grab some bird sounds away from the main city area. A trip up to Mount Dandenong resulted in some Magpie, Kookaburra and other bird recordings. I suspect I will have many chances to record these again when we travel, but the more raw materials I have the better I can make the final additions to the library.
The main issue today was other people. Mount Dandenong is a fairly popular tourist area and so it was difficult not to capture people and cars int he background. I will find out later on that capturing clean recordings of common birds such as magpies will prove to be far more difficult than I had imagined.
Location Melbourne City Equipment Roland R09 Handheld
Today I discovered another useful asset for opportunistic recordings. We had spent some time at a large shopping centre in central Melbourne where we were meeting a friend we had not seen in years. My partner noticed that one of the swing doors in the ladies toilet made a very loud squeaking noise. Once again not wanting to miss an opportunity I set up the R09 at an appropriate level, set it to record and gave it to my partner and asked her to go back into the ladies toilet and open the door a couple of times. Having a partner travelling with you who pays attention to the sounds around her means I know effectively have two sets of ears. This can only be a good thing
Location 35000 feet somewhere over the pacific Equipment Roland R09 Handheld
Only I would wake up in the middle of a ten hour flight in a darkened plane and have the first thought of “hmmm, everyone is asleep, there is no sound but the sound of the plane, where is my recorder?” As a result I captured some good general ambiance of the plane interior as it cruised, as well as the sound for the toilet door opening and closing and flushing of an aeroplane toilet. I am not sure who might ever find these useful, but as always when a chance arises I am loath to miss it. Oh and I know it was 30,000 feet because I checked the in-flight information before I went to bed. I might be crazy, but I also try to be accurate in my information
Location Sannohe Equipment Roland R09 Handheld Our last night in Sannohe and we do what we enjoy most here, just simply going for a walk around town in the evening. I’m glad I carried my handheld with me because the Town Works people seem to be doing some major work on the drainage systems through town. We came across a giant hole in the road that went down about 5 meters. At the bottom a large pump system was circulating the water for some reason. The sound was great so I held the R09 down the hole and got a sample.So long Sannohe, we are both really going to miss this quite friendly country town.
I didn’t want to miss the chance to record some more fireworks while it was so easy to get access to them. With summer festival season very close fireworks are available everywhere very cheaply. So for the equivalent of about $20 I purchased what would be about $100 worth of fireworks in Australia As with last time the local park just down the road provided a great venue at 9pm as there is never anyone around and it’s nice and quiet.
We took a bucket of water and a box to collect all the rubbish in and spent about 40 minutes enjoying lighting the fireworks and watching them go off as I recorded. We both love fireworks and we will miss the many local festivals in Japan that have great fireworks displays. Sadly fireworks in Australia are just not as well done as they are in Japan. This will also probably be one of the last things I record in Japan. We are both going to miss many things about this country, but new adventures elsewhere will keep us busy.
I think I might have finally captured the other bird I have been chasing around Sannohe. I recorded the Cuckoo successfully about a month ago, but for several months I have been following a very unusual bird that appears to only be active at night. I am assuming it is a bird. I have not been able to see it, and it moves quite quickly so it is definitely flying, and the quality of the sound does not seem like an insect. The sound itself is a single whistle of about a second long around 3300Hz roughly. It varies only by about half a tone, and interestingly it really is a half tone variation. It sounds like a whistle or flute with only two notes. The other interesting thing is that I have only ever heard one of these birds in the area. The whistle has a distinctive timing to it so if it is more than one bird they have very good timing between them. I recorded a fair bit of material as I wanted to be able to get a clean recording without the frogs which started up intermittently and other insect sounds. I have not yet edited the material down to see how good a sample I have, but I believe I have enough material for a good addition to the library. Now all I have to do is find out what on earth the bird is; no one around here seems to know and in most cases aren’t even aware of its existence.
Location Aomori City Equipment Zoom F4 Sennheiser MKH 60 Boom pole array
As one of her last official duties in Japan, my partner needed to travel to Aomori for a farewell function. I also needed visit Aomori city as well so it was a convenient occasion forus to travel up and stay over night. While the official function was on I had about 3 hours with which to walk along the Aomori foreshore and see what I could find of interest. I recorded some fairly interesting wave sounds beneath a large concrete fishing wharf. Some good natural reverb as the waves hit the concrete was an interesting result. I needed to explain to some local fishermen exactly what I was doing and why, which was slightly tricky with my broken Japanese, but they either got my point, or just put it down to me being another crazy foreigner which pretty much amounts to the same thing.
Like Hachinohe there are a lot of industrial and shipping areas along the coast near Aomori City, but because it was late in the day most of them had shut down for the week. The highlight of the walk was a large tugboat sitting idling next to one wharf. The engines on those beasts must be massive because I couldn’t get close to it without maxing out my recording levels, even with the levels set very low. In the end the sample I added to the library was one taken still about 5 meters away. The tug had a great low end rumble to its engine sounds so I was really happy to have a chance to record it.
In all, I walked almost non stop for three hours recording as I came across things of interest. I probably covered about 15Km and it occurred to me that if I could spend most of my time just walking around and recording sounds it would be good way to pass the time for 10 to 20 years. The only really excellent sound for today was the tug boat, but if I get one sound of that quality and interest out of 3 hours of walking and recording then I consider it a success. There will always be lots of more common sounds that I will capture along the way, and I am never going to run out of material to add to the library, but one really good sound makes he whole day worthwhile.
Location Hachinohe Waterfront Equipment Zoom F4 Sennheiser MKH 60 Boom pole array After 2 weeks of almost full time studying 3D studio max it was good to get back into a day purely for sound recording. With only 2 weeks before we leave I wanted to return to Hachinohe and wander around the industrial and port area. Hachinohe has an extensive industrial area that ranges over most of the north of the city. I recorded various general industrial sounds like large conveyors, various pieces of plant machinery and what appeared to be the biggest rock tumbler I have ever seen. I am not exactly sure what the device was for, but it was a chamber that would have easily been 2 or 3 meters in diameter and about 20 meters long. By the sounds it was making while operating the rocks or objects inside were of considerable size.
Hachinohe Rock Tumbler
I got to experience Japans lack of safety procedures again today. While driving around the docks area I discovered a ship being loaded up with scrap metal. I think the Japanese ship a lot of their scrap metal to Korea. The ship was being loaded by two claw cranes on the docks. I got close enough to record some excellent material of metal movement and impacts. The reality was however that I shouldn't have been able to get even remotely that close to this sort of process. I guess that sounds a bit hypercritical commenting on something that I gained an advantage from, but it was strange. I now have a better understanding as to why most western countries have so many safety regulations in regard to industry.
Hachinohe Scrap Metal
I also visited an island temple just of the coast near the city which has a large population of very noisy seagulls. There were literally hundreds of them on the island and surrounding area. My attempts on the way home to record some flags blowing in the wind did not turn out very well, and I will have to look into a better way to capture the sound without recording too much wind interference.The final surprise for the day was returning home to discover our neighbors had gotten themselves a new kitten which they appear to have left at home on its own. It was sitting at a second floor window meowing constantly. I think it was just lonely, but it was worth recording. I felt bad that I couldn’t comfort the cat itself, but short of breaking into the house there was nothing I could do. A good selection of sounds for the day, and very happy to be back to working on sound material more regularly.