Hebdomadal sound project: September 2013

Week 39
Overhead power line, Balerno
September 29th

I took a trip out to the Pentland Hills this week via Balerno, to some parts of the Pentlands that I didn’t explore back in week 35. When walking to Harlaw and Threipmuir reservoirs, I passed by an agricultural field over which pylons are stretched, and I could hear an electrical current from the overhead power lines in the cool air.

((01.15pm (5:00))

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

Week 38
Cannon, Calton Hill, Edinburgh
September 23rd

On Calton Hill there sits a small cannon, which Edinburgh City Council provides a potted history of as follows:

This is a well travelled cannon. The Royal Arms of Spain is in cast relief on top of the barrel. The cannon was transported to the Portugese (sic) colonies in southeast Asia sometime before 1785. There is an inscription along side of coat of arms, written later, and is thought to be Burmese, as the cannon was once kept by a Burmese King. It was captured by the British during the invasion of Burma in 1885 and presented to Edinburgh in 1886.

I placed two small omnidirectional microphones down the barrel of the cannon, which had a really strange effect. Firstly, a deep drone sound could be heard, presumably from the barrel vibrating, and secondly the barrel amplified particular distant sounds – for example, I could barely hear the sirens and the dog barking when I took my headphones off during recording.

((08.45pm (8:00))

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

Week 37
Back window, Edinburgh
September 16th

This week’s recording was made from out of the back window of my flat at 10pm on a Monday evening. I often think about how the act of field recording creates particular memories of places (a particularity I can’t pin down), and therefore is perhaps of little value for those who don’t have memories attached to those places. As a consequence, I don’t imagine this recording will be interesting to anyone except for me in a few years time.

(10.00pm (6:00))

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

Week 36
Holyrood Park
September 9th

A recording at dusk in Holyrood Park. Most birds visiting for the summer are now absent (though I did hear a few swallows the day after I recorded this), and a drop in temperature means that few people are using the park, unlike the many only a week or so ago. This adds up to a relatively quiet Autumnal soundscape.

(08.00pm (6:30))

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

Week 35
Bonaly Country Park
September 1st

I’m thinking about starting a new sound project focusing on the Pentland Hills, so this week I made a visit to Bonaly Country Park, which covers a northern portion of the Pentlands, to do a few investigative recordings.

The first recording was made while I paused by a narrow stream running through a patch of mixed deciduous woodland. The wind roars overhead, but it’s pretty gentle on the woodland floor.

(01.30pm (5:30))

Exposed out on the moorland the wind was inescapable. I ducked down for cover and recorded heathland plants being battered by the bluster. At a couple of moments a gulp of swallows can be heard struggling in the wind, and near the end a sheep bleats when a plane flies by.

(02.45pm (6:20))

Finally, a recording in a creeking conifer plantation on the edge of Bonaly reservoir.

(03.50pm (5:30))

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