Driving me Cuckoo
Sennheiser MKH 60
Boom pole array
Although the sounds of the factory demolition from yesterday were excellent, I realized that I have been spending a lot of time recording metal based sounds recently, pretty much at the expense of other materials. I decided I needed to rectify this, so today I went out and recorded various earth and rock movement sounds, as well as a series of plant and tree sounds. I want to try and make the materials section as comprehensive as possible, so for the moment I am planning to gather a large range of other material based sounds. Stonework will be a little difficult while in Japan as they don’t really use stone or bricks to build with, but it will be a good opportunity to gather wood sounds.
For the last few weeks I have been hunting a bird. The wildlife here is very seasonal, and you can tell exactly what season a Japanese film is set in by what birds or insects you can hear in the background. At the moment there are many birds around as it is still spring prior to the rainy season starting. One in particular that I have been trying to capture is a local species of cuckoo. The issue is that I believe there is only one in the area, and it covers a very large area and doesn’t stay still for long. It has been conveniently perching outside our back door, but this means I would be pointing a microphone down the hill in the direction of the main road. I have tried several times to circle around and record it pointing up the hill but it has always flown off. This evening it appeared to be getting ready to nest further up our hill behind the local elementary school. My initial attempt to record was frustrated and interrupted by several cars that all decided to go down our street at that time, then it was followed by a town announcement on the town public speakers (yes this happens a lot in Japan) and then finally a jumbo flew overhead. Despite my being sure it was not going to stay vocal through all of this I did manage to make my way up behind the school and position myself at the foot of the hill and record a good clean sample of our cuckoo. In total I have probably spent several hours chasing this single bird around town. I was happy to get a good sample, but it can be really hard being patient for so long.
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Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences