Soundscape Hamilton Art Project – recorded 28 Aug 2015. What does a building sound like? Soundscape Hamilton is an art project that explores the sound profile of each building.
Odds and Ends – An Artist Notebook
Sept 21, 2015 – Scouted new campus locations for sound profiles. This time, I am looking at the service entrance of different buildings. These locations tend to be more isolated from campus activities. This allow me more freedom to work.
I continue to research field recordings and the kind of equipment required. Essentially, what does a beginner level kit look like and what can one reasonable expect in terms of cost and sound quality. This research is also revealing more information about field recordings for movie work.
With some narration work on the horizon, I have purchased several Shure 440 closed headphones and a pre-amp with four jacks. This will allow up to three narrators to hear their voices and also control their individual volume levels. At the same time, I will be able to monitor the sound as it is recorded.
We often define landscapes by appearance, but they are also defined by sound.
Hunter and MacNab is an interesting mix of technology and history. The MacNab Street Church was built in 1854 and expressed the confidence and belief in progress and faith. By the 1890s, the Toronto-Hamilton and Buffalo Railway had ripped through the heart of Hamilton with railway tracks that divided rich and poor communities. Less than 20 feet from the front door of the church, the physical barriers to the downtown would only grow with the development of the car and the increase road traffic on Hunter Street.
Equal to the physical barriers are the sound barriers. Here are sounds of trains and cars that separate the Downtown business districts from the Durand neighborhood.
The first sound track marks the arrival of the commuter train from Toronto.
The second clip records the sound of the accessible crosswalk, along with the early evening car traffic.
Less than 12 hours after the snow storm on Thursday, December 11, 2014; I travelled to the Hermitage Ruins in Ancaster, Ontario to record the sounds of the landscape. I was amazed to discover the amount of people who had already visited the mansion. Quite surprising given that I was at the Hermitage by 10 am on Friday (a work day for most people).
My goal for this visit and future visits to other architecture significant buildings is to document their sounds. Do particularly buildings have unique sound characteristics?
I was very surprised by the amount of human noise at the Hermitage. The following sound clip is a mixture of sounds captured at the Hermitage.
When the humans disappear the landscapes come alive with animal sounds. In this recording, squires and woodpeckers being the chief noise makers. Crows, however, always liked to get their two cents into any landscape conversation (smile).
This was my first real attempt at capturing landscape sounds with my Zoom H4n field recorder and pair of Rode M5 mini shotgun mics. The goal is to capture the unique sound qualities of each rural and urban landscape in the Hamilton area. As I gain more experience, I hope to create richer and fuller sound narratives of each building and its landscape.
Thanks for listening.
Once again, I am trying to do soundscape art. I haven’t had the best results with the Zoom H4n. As one blogger noted, the field recorder is a $300 system and the microphones as components are likely worth no more than $100. As a result, I have purchased a pair of Rode M5 small diaphragm mikes. Nevertheless, before hauling out the heavy stuff, I want to see if I can get any kind of results with the Zoom.
Here is the result with the Zoom at the site for this past Dec 6th remembrance of the Montreal Massacre. I am always amazed at the noise pollution on campus.
As you can tell, there is significant room for improvement. My goal is to achieve the kind of results that Vladimir Kryutchev is producing in Russia. He has created these amazing soundscapes and with mixing creates a beautiful sound narrative to his pieces.
Here is the link: http://www.oontz.ru/en/page/41/
It is only 6 minutes and well worth the listen. Use headphones to get the best results.
Location: MacNab Street Presbyterian Church
Update 37 – This week:
2. New Art Project – Mapping the Sounds of Hamilton
Ebola – Latest estimates are that over 22,000 people in West Africa who have been inflected and 3,400 have died. The United States has just reported its first case of Ebola in Dallas, Texas. Unfortunately, the guy doesn’t appear to be in good shape.
CBC had this silly report on how people were over-reacting to the first American case. While I agree the danger from one person is almost zero, the outbreak in Africa is still un-controlled; and without more human resources, the situation will only get worse. If predictions are true, 900,000 cases by early 2015 then how can the outbreak not spread globally. Furthermore, the early symptoms are so similar to the flu that it would be nearly impossible to isolate everyone. The intense care required of patients would quickly over run the ability of hospitals to treat the sick.
The Ebola outbreak reminds me of the Cholera outbreaks in Hamilton during the 19th century. Currently I am researching and filming how the 1854 outbreak shaped the architectural landscape of Hamilton. I hope to have something posted in a few weeks.
Soundscapes – a few weeks ago, I came across a blogger who had posted several sound recordings to his site, along with photos of the location. I was really impressed by how it provided a new perspective on the urban landscape. I soon discovered that there is this small community of audio bloggers out there who are recording and mapping urban sounds.
I am completely captured by this notion and I have decided to start a new art project. As a first attempt, I recorded the sounds outside the 1854 MacNab Street Presbyterian Church. The Zoom H4n field recorder provides really clear recordings, particular when mounted on a tripod and with the use of a windscreen.
At this point, I am still working out a strategy for determining what sounds to record, so that it reveals something new about the city of Hamilton.
I am most inspired by three sound artists: Des Coulam (France), Vladimir Kryutchev (Russia) and Stuart Fowkes (UK).
Des Coulam, approach is to document the sounds of Paris. He will travel along a particular route or explore a particular location and supplement the experience with photos and history.
Vladimir Kryutchev is focusing on the capturing the reality of the small town in Russia called Sergiyev Posad.
Oontz – Audioblog from Russia
Stuart Fowkes is exploring the difference between reality and imagination. He encourages people to document the sound of a particular location and then asks that they recreate the sound of that location with what they imagine it should be like. In the process, he moves beyond purely a documentary to the creative. I am also very impressed by the mixed sound tracks (some musically), using urban sounds. Fowkes approach reminds me of Gotye and use of re-mixed sounds for his album “Mirrors.”