Hebdomadal sound project: November 2013

Week 47
Elliot House, Edinburgh
November 25th

Across the grand but severe sweep of London Road between Easter Road and Leith Walk, one building sticks out for its misplaced cheerfulness. A former building occupied by the NHS, Elliot House on Hillside Crescent now stands vacant and unloved. In circumstances that are not made clear by a couple of news reports (here and here), on the morning of the 24th of November, police apprehended somebody who had got into the building. When I walked past it the next day, I saw how many external windows (there’s a lot of them) had been smashed – something that was visually striking but also sonically interesting. The following recording is from outside the west-facing portion of the building on Brunswick Street. London Road is loud with traffic, even at this time of the evening and some distance from the road, so this dominates the recording. Above this you can hear 40-odd office blinds flapping in the wind, as well as the plastic coating keeping much of the smashed glass in place.
Note that the photograph above was taken the morning after the sound recording, for better light.

(9.30pm (3:50))

Setup: 2 DPA 4060 lavalier mics in stereo position to Tascam DR-680

Week 46
Bonaly Country Park
November 17th

Returning to Bonaly Country Park in the Pentland Hills this week, it was noticeable how much had changed since I last visited. Since September, many birds have emigrated, but some have returned for the winter – most notably are the wonderful V formation flocks of geese. The following short recording is a small flock of, I think at least, greylag geese, though I may be incorrect as I didn’t get a good look at them.
When they are directly overhead, you can hear the wing of one bird smack against the other. Also, it was a very still but damp day, so you can just about hear oxygen bubbles popping in mud at my feet.

(1.00pm (1:50))

The following recording is from the shore of Bonaly Reservoir, a little further south east from where I recorded the geese.

(1.40pm (5:30))

Setup: 2 DPA 4060 lavalier mics in stereo position to Tascam DR-680

Week 45
Fireworks, Holyrood Park, Edinburgh
November 5th

Each year that I have lived in Edinburgh, for some reason unknown to me, the main firework display on Guy Fawkes Night in the city centre is held in a sports stadium (Meadowbank Stadium), complete with musical accompaniment. I decided to head to Holyrood Park from where I could see and hear the fireworks, without having to listen to music from super hero films (the theme this year). There’s normally a few folk letting off fireworks from around Arthur’s Seat, so I thought I’d get to see those as well.
The following recording is a 5 minute edit of 45 minutes spent trying to keep warm while monitoring the sound levels. Some people were letting off fireworks in a garden that looks out on to the park – you can hear these from the beginning. The fireworks from Meadowbank start at 1:40 when the cheers start.

(7.15-8.00pm (5:00))

Setup: 2 DPA 4060 lavalier mics in stereo position to Tascam DR-680

Week 44
Back window and Portobello beach, Edinburgh
October 31st; November 4th

Two different locations are represented this week. Firstly, I have returned to recording from the back window of my flat – something I did in week 37 back in September. That time, there was a slight warm breeze, but it was a relatively quiet recording. This time, I’ve captured a passing rain shower; large rain drops bounce off of my window sill and various plastic toys in my neighbour’s garden, and a couple of rumbles of thunder can be heard in the distance.

(03.00pm (4:30))

Secondly, I spent a cool but bright afternoon walking along Portobello beach, which is located a few miles to the east of Edinburgh’s city centre. At the beginning of the recording you can hear a dog coming to give me and my recording gear a good sniff, before being called off by it’s owner. Throughout, there’s a wonderful bubbling sound produced as air is expelled from the saturated sand. Right at the end, you can hear a powerful wave knocking my microphone blimp over and me quickly lifting it out of the water – fortunately nothing was damaged!

(02.45pm (5:30))

Setup: 2 DPA 4060 lavalier mics in stereo position to Tascam DR-680