Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hampden Baltimore Maryland November 10 2009 1:12 A.M. till 1:16 A.M.

This video was captured at Frasers on the Avenue in Baltimore. On this night John Clark and Kevin Hall, two friends who are up and coming comedians in the small but burgeoning independent comedy scene, decided to take a stab at the karaoke machine. Kevin never made it because 2 A.M. rolled in too quickly.

This is why I want John to front my band...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland November 2 2009 (click here)

This funny little song is a cut up from a wide range of records, including a poetry reading by Rod Smith, Salsa music by Robin Jones, and the sample that made drum and bass possible-cut and refigured by editing it by the 1000th of a second.

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland November 1 2009 (click here)

The sounds here were created by using a guitar, echo box and double delay pedals.

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 31 2009 (click here)

This ditty comes from a bunch of hip hop records I got from Dutch East India Trading in the late 90s. My concept of 4/4 is the heartbeat during the running of the bulls...

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 30 2009 (click here)

Over the course of the next few days I'm writing little songs-sketches is a better concept.

In light of citation, each song is made up of ripped samples from the few thousand CDs I have lying around the basement. Each bit of information is recontextualized and remixed to create a grossly unwholesome interpretation. Beats n' pieces, so to speak.

But this first one is a remix and degradation of an interview I did with my friend Marisa Hilton. You can hear the full story at

Friday, October 30, 2009

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 29 2009 11:49 P.M. till 11:59 P.M. (click here)

Heloise Chainsaw and I spent the latter part of the evening reveling in the clouds of Benedryl.
I placed the naked PCM recorder, without mic attachments, between us. The cat mewed and bathed and scratched her haunches while I stared and breathed. We fought occasionally. I left my headset on, thus the feedback, and cranked up the volume to maximum and turned off the limiters. Bass cut-off was switched off. The result is something close to "Construction Sounds" by Potuznik or the Rudolf experiments ( I tried to compose this piece according to how far the cat was from me, or, as you can hear, the nature of the ambience (and even the spit in my mouth).
Most of the sounds come from us animals, but that giant hum? From the washing machine next door. Thank goodness for the neighbors who do chores at midnight. Gracias for the ambiance.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 28 2009 7:55 P.M. till 8:07 P.M. (click here)

A closet recording, very low volume. The door was shut completely. If you use headphones, full-ear headphones, you'll feel the house absorb the sounds made by the kids and neighbors next door.
Something that provokes me to think more deeply into sound-as-image. If you ask someone to think of a sound, they can readily replay it in their head- if they're familiar with that sound. And one readily forms an image in their mind when provoked to think about a particular sound. If one asks another to think of a car horn, one will immediately form the image of a car or some such association.
It's not hard to grasp that a sound can create an image, and vice versa. All the senses are in symbiosis. To think otherwise, to delineate between the functions, is to fall prey to the Cartesian hoodwink.

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 27 2009 2:35 A.M. till 2:55 A.M. (click here)

I've been at home a lot these past few days. Many of the recordings were taken in or around the confines of the house, yard and porch. Not to imply "confinement" in a physical, emotional or aesthetic sense, but the idea of travel has become tiresome (as opposed to in the past, when I experienced a deep wanderlust for the Mid-West).

Locale. What is the relationship between locale and aural environment? And if one stays in one place long enough, can one capture the true sound-field-spirit of a place?

Many of the recordings have been set in the frame of domesticity. Look back at recordings of the washing machine, the cenral air system, conversations around the house. Static location implies nothing of a static human spirit. Even I get a better sense my 1200+ square feet of space just by listening through it. We put too much emphasis, invest too much energy, in "being" in a place, without experiencing being through the multiple, cooperating senses.

Being is an active verb, not a state of passivity.

This recording, though, may imply passivity, but it actually locates a certain "unconscious" effort to experience the place I call home.

After getting bed last night, I listened to the rain hitting the awning, the window, washing down the side of the house, through the drains, down into the backyard. I left the bed, half-asleep, and took the mics into the bathroom. We have a sky-light in the ceiling that reflects and holds the sound of the rain and the traffic from 83 in a subtle buoyancy of pulse. After placing the mics under the sky-light, I went back to bed, guessing at how long approx. 15 minutes would pass.

I awakened later, almost unconscious, in a state of anxiety (had I forgotten to turn something off?) I remembered the mics were recording. When I went into the bathroom, an hour later, I laughed. I had let the recordings take on a responsibility all their own, without my intervention. I had slept through the experience.

I think this project needs a new frame: non-intervention. I will spend the next few days away from the mics, leave them in places where I can't see them, and come back later to find something interesting.

Or not.

But non-intervention, non-interference, has been a composing concept of mine for ages. I hope to articulate these ideas in further posts.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 26 2009 6:46 A.M. till 6:58 A.M. (click here)

It is uncommon that Karen and I awaken together and leave the bed together, but last night we crashed early after a late, tasty homemade Indian dinner-and this is after a game of racquetball (me) and a hard workout (Karen).

The traffic is particularly loud around sun up, and this morning the wet pavement amplified the noise of tires going across the 41st Street bridge and 83. I was tempted to capture only the traffic noise and leave the lows at their present level-to give it more of an ambient presence. But I misplaced the mics in the windows and caught the house noise too-in one channel, traffic; in the other, our waking ritual.

(I chose to capture the traffic in its unedited entirety because the crickets have become more quiet. If you listen for a long time the noise, without wildlife interference, is quite entrancing.)

Patterson Park Baltimore Maryland October 25 2009 8:42 P.M. till 8:48 P.M.

This video was captured in the darkness of Patterson Park in Baltimore. I chose to keep the subjects dark and let the shadows narrate the upbeat marching music.

The sound, perhaps, is not that great, but my intention was not to cite sound. Instead, the project has taken on a new characteristic, one evolving away from a singular medium to a panply of sense-making.

Perhaps in the future I'll go back to pure image, without sound, back to the silent film era...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 24 2009 (click here)

The autumn is my favorite time of year-not because of the change of leaves or the new congregation of migrating birds that visit for a few hours in the alley every day then take off again-but because of Halloween, a time when parents acknowledge the idiosyncrasies of their children and tend to them with a distanced regard.

This spooky collage is for all the kids who'll get tummy aches in one week's time.

(Jack-O-Lanterns care of Christophe, Karen, Eva, Brandon, Allison, Justin, Courtney and Michelle.)

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 23 2009 6:46 A.M. till 6:53 A.M. (click here)

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 22 2009 7:12 A.M. till 7:24 A.M. (click here)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 21 2009 9:36 P.M. till 9:46 P.M. (click here)

"The point is no longer an objective description of an idea or an aesthetic form removed from so-called reality, but the way in which perception takes place, i.e., in which phenomena become perceptible to the viewer or listener... The difference between a work of art and reality, as well as the boundary between art and life, now prove to be a construction of perception."

Bernd Sculz, "Compositions in Space: Form and Function in the Sound Art of Robin Minard"

Conversations in the basement. In the past, the soundspace was dominated by the male voice. This evening, women outnumbered men.

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 20 2009 8:15 P.M. till 8:23 P.M. (click here)

"The visual arts' conquest of acoustic space can be described as a rejection of the Cartesian worldview, which had long found its obvious expression in the art of perspective. The paradigm of the observer autonomously availing himself of the world from a fixed standpoint dissolved in favor of the multi-perspectival view. Man no longer stands facing the world, but is embedded in its environments. The autonomously distanced and distancing eye was supplemented by the ear, which stands for a more complex form of perception. The person who hears has a different relationship to his environs. He is surrounded by sounds and himself becomes a resonating body. This model of perception, which puts in the foreground the characterstics of the self as a resonant body, corresponds to the anthropological discovery that, in the womb and shortly after birth, we experience the world as an acoustic space, which the structured visual field joins only gradually."

Bernd Sculz, "Compositions in Space: Form and Function in the Sound Art of Robin Minard"

During a house party I snuck into the basement to mic the floorboards beneath the kitchen and the livingroom. In old houses, especially, sound is merely an extension of architecture.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 19 2009 7:34 A.M. till 7:43 A.M. (click here)

There is a commercial on Maryland Public Television that portrays a conductor sitting at his piano, hitting the keys in frustration, unable to begin writing a piece of music. He steps to the window, puts his coffee to his lips, then watches as a flock of sparrows alight upon a series of 5 electrical wires. This is when the lightbulb goes on: the theme, so to speak, is created by the random landing pattern of the birds. The conductor rushes to the piano, then begins to play an absurdly dense piece of music in the post-classical stylings of Scelsi or Feldman. The simplicity of the non-interventionist act of composition-by the birds-leads the composer to hear the music in the environment. As I suggest further, this active listening (and seeing, as in the composer's case) creates an individualized experience. But, because sound belongs to no one in particular (except, perhaps, the attentive listener), the plurality of music is made real.
If only life presented us with such moments of eureka. Instead, as in my case, life lends an overdose of traffic noise. But, like the conductor at the piano (as superficial as he may be-it is a commercial after all) I take what the environment gives me, and balance the elements to create a composition that begs listening for, and understanding, the relationships between all the sounds.
Granted, I edit as much as possible so as not to overwhelm the ears, but I do succumb to the pressures of highlighting a certain aspect of a recording at times, editing out unwanted noise or feedback. Today's venture, capturing an orgy of unidentified birds in the trees flanking the alley, is one of those recordings that I acted on to highlight individual sounds. Why? Because the cacophony was so great (the birds numbered in the dozens) and the traffic so dense (it was morning rush-hour) that leaving the recording in its virgin state would have amounted to a flat and uninteresting waste of airtime.

This leads me back, as always, to audio integrity. Where is the line that separates truth in listening and edit-filtration? When I talked to Jeph Jerman last week, I addressed the same problem, and rendered an answer that is obvious in its complexity: just as an stereo speaker synthesizes an electrical impulse into audio, so do our ears synthesize vibrations of air. This synthesis is reframed by the brain as sound. So, in some respect, we never hear the vibrations-only the synthesis.
So, this fine line? It doesn't exist. Is there more fiction in a processed recording? Perhaps to some degree, but not absolutely. The child who wears a hearing aid and listens to a synthesis of impulses from vibrations in the air is no more handicapped or priviledged than the normal hearer. And this is where we get into trouble, assigning the status of normality and abnormality to listeners.
Ultimately, and at this point I wish to emphasize Jeph's concerns because they mirror mine, what this project boils down to, what I advocate for more than anything else, is not purity of sound, because that assumes a priviledging of point of view. What I stress is that one simply listen, "really listen," as Jeph puts it. I don't go into the field to capture pristine environments, but do it because I want to make explicit the act of listening, transpose the passive act into the active, because listening is an activity. I merely point in the direction of sound, and make no judgments about it. I advocate for listening without prejudice.
What is it to listen? If one could go into the field, without device, with just their ears, and listen, then, as one listens actively, one composes an environment actively. Yes, compose. No need for us to write things on paper and reproduce them-if we listen attentively, we can coordinate sounds that are already present. This is non-intervention, the purest form of music.
And because our biases automatically filter what surrounds us, the environment creates a different exeperience for each individual. This is, in fact, a pluralistic music, one that cannot be recorded and played back.

Monday, October 19, 2009

China Town Philadelphia Pennsylvania October 18 2009 2:13 P.M. till 2:18 P.M. (click here)

Aaron, Karen and I hit the Bread Top House on Race Street to grab some pastries before meeting Aaron's wife.

Eariler today we began discussing the song-like quality of the Chinese dialects. I attributed the aptitude of (especially) young Chinese children in the field of music and composition to their language environment. If you listen to Chinese carefully, you can here insistent fluctuations and variations in pitch and volume.

At the Bread Top House, 5 men are sitting at tables drinking tea and eating pastries. When someone opens a door, the conversation becomes enmeshed in a protean experiment in symbolism.

Kensington Philadelphia Pennsylvania October 17 2009 4:22 P.M. till 4:25 P.M. (click here)

This piece is a short ditty I composed for the newlyweds, Stephanie and Aaron D. I'm a drummer/percussionist at heart, so all of my compositions take on the attitude of being struck or hammered. It's akin to beating oneself with a fashionable outfit rather than wearing it to a fancy dress party.

Karen and Aaron are talking in the background.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 16 2009 6:39 A.M. till 6:45 A.M. (click here)

My intention this morning was to capture the sound of water rushing through the gutters in the backyard. The capture, though, was flat and unassuming. The music of the water was hollow, in other words. If only I had a small hydrophone, or contact mics for the tubes and the awning...

I decided, instead, to filter the sound through a processing unit that synthesized sound information (by frequency, volume and duration) into logarithms, similar to the Gysin recordings on the Sub Rosa label. You'll hear a slow flange every so often, but the pervading sound is that of the slow synthetic ambience.

Because of its synthetic structure, I've left the volume very low. It is not meant to be at the forefront of conscious listening. Let it loop as you go about your business. Keep it in the background. Let the rain come forward slowly, uninsistent.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Donnybrook Baltimore Maryland October 15 2009 9:49 A.M. till 10:02 A.M. (click here)

Late to work this morning, as usual, but the dense rain (and no umbrella) kept me in the car for about 15 minutes.

I parked beneath a tree, which I thought might hamper the rainsong, but, as you'll notice toward the last 1/3 of the recording, big, heavy drops falling from the leaves (and hitting the trunk and roof of the car) took on a marimba-like quality. This is due in part to raising the levels around 40 Hz and midway around 650 Hz without creating a flange.

I left the mic on the dashboard, about three inches from the windshield. You can hear the raspy crackle of the drizzle (in the high Hzs) but I did not push the levels above 10,000 Hz. I wanted to keep this recording very warm, to protect and preserve the low ambience of the big rain drops hitting the metal parts of the car and the intermittent cars driving by.
A note on the duration: The length of this piece is about 13 minutes, enough to capture the swells and lulls of the rain. It is a testament to the inherent qualities of music (and composition) in nature. As Duchamp suggests of art in practice, I am merely making available (and conscious for you) a piece of music that you would otherwise associate with passive noise.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Towson Baltimore Maryland October 14 2009 4:05 P.M. till 4:17 P.M. (click here)

My co-worker has had the graciousness to bring in his kids to work after the school day. Today, Allison, his middle kid, asked me to put on some Michael Jackson videos. She said, "Can you put on You Tube?" And I said, "Allison, I don't have a tube." She'd roll her eyes and say "Noooo... YOU tube..." It's a habit with us.

But I did put on the videos-with the stipulation that she hum or sing a few songs while she was listening to them (which she inadvertently does anyway). I set up the mic very close to her. She was sitting at the desk with big headphones on watching the videos at her father's desk.

This recording speaks for itself...

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 13 2009 9:12 P.M. till 9:22 P.M (click here)

After spending the day cleaning out the yard and preparing it for winter, I shoved the mic between a tree and a hole in the ground at the edge of the alley. One sign that the winter is coming: the crickets have slowed their song. It is more nostalgic than usual, like a violinist playing slowly, with too much effort, deliberately.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Loch Raven Reservoir Baltimore Maryland October 12 2009 3:27 P.M. till 3:37 P.M. (click here)

Loch Raven reservoir is an anamoly, in my eyes. After driving north for about 20 minutes one reaches the park and notices a vast array of trees spread over pristine waters. It reminds me of Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland, and is quite out of place. But, just as Maryland sports a multitude of landscapes (from beach to country to mountain to city), Baltimore is the "summary" of Maryland's contrasting panorama.
The wildlife is abundant: birds of every kind, including ducks, geese, hawks, sparrows, cranes and seagulls, plus numerous species of cricket (which usually dominate a recording).
I spent two days here, on Sunday with Karen, and on Monday, alone. On the first day I sat in a beautiful cove where geese flocked around me, waiting for a treat. The car noise is apparent but not too overwhelming. On the second day I sat very close to the bridge, and there's a slight screech as the cars move from the soft pavement of the road to the striated hard surface of the road.

Loch Raven Reservoir Baltimore Maryland October 11 2009 1:19 P.M. till 1:24 P.M. (click here)

The most striking thing about this recording is the sound that the leaves make as the wind blows through them off the water. They're dried up and hard, like castanets, and create a pleasant rattle.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Howard Beach Queens New York October 10 2009 2:14 P.M. till 2:20 P.M.

A few weeks ago, on a trip to NYC, my mother told me the craziest story about her initial move to Brooklyn from Italy in the late sixties. I don't think my father's jealous (I mean, he's the one that scored her!) but it did bring upon my mother a new light - one that would shatter my perceptions of her "exclusivities" (I hate to say it, but she's a bit racist...)

But just hearing this story makes me wonder about all the people who do harbor negative feelings about people who are "different" - perhaps it's not their own fault...

Towson Baltimore Maryland October 9 2009 7:00 P.M. till 7:20 P.M.

Before closing down the library for the evening, I took the mics through a "tour" of the mechanic rooms on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th floors of the building.

What you hear is about a minute or so from each room (including the roof). If the maintenance crew finds out I ventured into private territory, well, I think they'd just split a beer with me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Towson Baltimore Maryland October 8 2009 8:40 P.M. till 8:46 P.M. (click here)

After work, I walk about 10 minutes up Aigburth Road in Towson near Donnybrook Apartments. On this evening, as I dropped off my bag into the car, I ventured behind one of the complexes to see/hear what might be going on around the stream. A few days before I took some time to record underneath Aigburth in a tunnel that this creek passes through.

There was nothing special about, but the water was at a higher level (it had been raining today and yesterday) and the creek babbled louder than its usual tinkle.

Next to the complex, I heard a loud whirring noise: central air fans. I decided, since I hadn't done any recording today, to use the shotgun mic and capture its hum. After a few minutes of walking around the contraption, capturing the hum coming off the building, the other vents, above and below the vent, etc., I hoped that it would turn off.

And it did! But the sound of the fan whirring down was, to say the least, anticlimactic. The funny thing is, water started dripping from one of the exhaust pipes located below a tenant's window.

This recording is the song of the air vents, with a conclusion of water song.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Towson Baltimore Maryland October 7 2009 5:35 P.M. till 5:50P.M. (click here)

At two points at the end of the day, a miscalculation on my part, I threw the gear in my bag (connected!) then (the first time) walked into the stacks (at Cook Library) to grab the shirt I left on one of the shelves, then (the second time) holding the mic, headset and PCM-D50 in my hands, waiting for the elevator, caught the air moving in the air vents - plus, happily, an overload of looped feedback.

I actually picked up the headset and began listening (in reverie), but the whole Circulation AND Inter-Library Loan department ran into the workroom in anticipation of an emergency.

It's strange - how much peace I shattered at the end of the work day. On purpose? Please...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 6 2009 8:54 P.M. till 9:05 P.M. (click here)

Yesterday afternoon I received a surprise (yet anticipated) phone call from my friend Kevin Hall, a friend of ours who left for Seattle in early September. Well, he made it all the way to Phoenix and stayed with our friends Ben and Gabe Havilland for two weeks after spending some time in Austin and parts of Oklahoma.

They hate when I do this - especially Karen - but I rigged the stereo mic in the living room and recorded a short conversation between me, Kevin, John Clark and Chrissy (Kevin's flame) and Karen. The bulk of the conversation is dominated by John's gripe about the stand-up comedy business in Baltimore, and the scams some venues (like The Comedy Factory) perpetrate upon their audiences and performers.

"Just like the old days," I said to Kevin, and he remarked, "Yeah - a month ago..." Gotta love him...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Towson Baltimore Maryland October 5 2009 2:12 P.M. till 2:24 P.M. (click here)

This is the second construction site recording - this time on the Campus of Towson University, which is building the second wing of its new College of Liberal Arts complex.

This time I managed to get very close to the building site without hard hat requirements - approxamately 50 feet. Perhaps next time I'll be able to access ground zero - with hard hat, of course - and bring both the shotgun and the stereo mics and mix the inputs.

The slight high pitched wheeze you hear comes from a machine that used hydraulics and water, and you can also hear the moaning low tones given off by the two or three bulldozers moving to the east of the building site.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland October 4 2009 6:59 P.M. till 7:08 P.M. (click here)

I don't necessarily want to do the dishes every night, but the prospect of coming home one evening to a sinkful (cabinet-high) of crockery and muck is daunting.

So, this Sunday night, while Karen is at her sister's, I clean up the place a bit and make some godaweful racket doing so - sink and stove included.

Listen carefully - I begin with John Tejada on the hi-fi, then kill the music as the fridge begins to hum.

Inside or outside, the hum is a prevalent wind of noise.

Fells Point Baltimore Maryland October 3 2009 6:19 P.M. till 6:28 P.M. (click here)

When Karen and I reached the top of the parking garage overlooking Bond and Lancaster, I immediately set up my gear nearest the side of the Fells Point Fun Festival music stage, a space that also overlooked the level below, which was open but reflected the noises coming from down the enclosure.

Using the shotgun mic, I walked at the edge of the lot, striking the long metal cables with my foot, and pointing the mic a few centimeters away from the vibrations. Every so often I would rub the windscreen against the vibrations.

Not only can you hear the vibrations, but my kick can be anticipated because I kept the mic very close to my body. If you listen closely, you can hear me "wind up" just before I strike the cables.

This recording is raw "footage" - the wind was blustery and, mixed with the noise from the garage and the festival, produced a nice boiling of low and mid frequencies beside the noise of my clothing.

Towson Baltimore Maryland October 2 2009 11:40 A.M. till 11:48 A.M. (click here)

This crossing, between storm drains, a quiet stream and Aigburth Road is an unexpected sonic cavern. When I placed the mic inside the large concrete cylinder dead center of this environment, facing outward toward the stream, the whoosh from passing cars a block away could be heard as a slow wash of rising and falling wind. And when cars hit the sewer cap east of Donnybrook, a low thump was produced.
But the resonance was not so deafening as to drown out the natural noises in the little bramble that surrounds this overpass. A chorus of birds, crickets, passersby and squirrels can be heard distinctly from the lower frequencies (which I chose to exapand to highlight the sonic qualities of the large space and its doomlike atmosphere).
On my next outing here I'll bring the mic into the storm drain, as far back as it can go - at the crossing of multiple drains.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Towson Baltimore Maryland October 1 2009 6:02 P.M. till 6:10 P.M.

Just as one may turn her head to absorb the surrounding landscape, I used the stereo mic as a pair of eyes walking up and down the alley behind the Towson Framing Gallery. For the sake of authenticity, I included my footsteps and the crunching sound my sneakers made when trampling sand and shards of glass.
Within this alley one finds a plethora of vents, air conditioners, central air systems, generators - rattles, clanks, hums, harmonies... I simply walked the alley, pointing the mic at each system, advancing as closely as possible to each source.
Now, to get inside them...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Towson Baltimore Maryland September 30 2009 2:15 P.M. till 2:45 P.M. (click here)

The lobby of Fine Arts Center at Towson University is especially resonant - not as resonant as, say, the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore City (see August 29 2009) - but sound bounces well.

I used the AT8020 and stood at the highest point in the lobby - the third floor landing overlooking the central lobby.

When I walked through the building, later, I stopped in the hallways near the recital rooms and was met with a chorus of women during a rehearsal. The chorus stopped and started numerous times, with critiques by the professor. Across the hall a trumpet player intermittently hit notes, while down the hall played a percussionist. The three sounds were in chorus, so to speak, in some instances - but the recording is mostly the chorus of women in practice.

Toward the end of recording a women came into the hallway and began testing the doors and locks of a room close by. When I heard this, I though immediately that this interruption was a logical segue into the resonant voices from the lobby. The decision to edit the two sources together creates my second collage (see August 14 2009 [intereference from AM station 730 mixed with voices in my basement]).

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland September 29 2009 10:18 P.M. till 10:28 P.M. (click here)

I decided to take the mic out again to the front porch, but this time I placed it under a pile of dying tall grass, a spot that is nightly infiltrated by crickets. (The theme of the evening, at least for the dying end of summer, is that of the cricket chorus.)

This evening I pointed the mic AWAY from the street. Although the cricket noise was particular (you could hear, distinctly, the various, individual crickets and their respective chirps), the resonance from the house amplified the traffic noise.

It seems to me quite clear that, within the canyonlike aspects of any street, sound, like the wind, especially that which resides in the lower depths, is enveloped and concentrated there.

I plan on creating a few days worth of recordings that visit this "reflective" aspect of houses.

Woodberry Baltimore Maryland September 28 2009 9:43 P.M. till 9:53 P.M. (click here)

This night marks a test run of the X/Y stereo mic (AT8020).

It was a quiet evening on the front porch of our home. The traffic noise was slightly muffled this evening - perhaps things were slowing down on 83.

I'm thrilled that decibal balancing is tight - at near silence the bars were balanced at approx. -20 dB, and when cars went by it jumped smoothly to about -12 dB. With the original X/Y on the PCM-D50, levels would have jumped and appeared as spikes in the edits.

Nothing special this evening - a mere environment capture, purely to test the mic's boundaries...

Roland Park Baltimore Maryland September 27 2009 8:49 A.M. till 8:53 A.M. (click here)

A botched experiment in a tunnel in which water, seeping into its cracks and folds, created a lapping sound, not dissimilar to the slap and slosh found on beaches. Down the street a BGE truck pumped a steady hum, which the tunnel captured quite eloquently.

It's short in duration because the mics captured more hand-interference than environment. If I had a picture of myself hanging (almost) upside down, it could have been more interesting than the recording.

Next time, bring the boom!

Albany Albany New York September 26 2009 10:07 P.M. till 10:14 P.M. (click here)

After reading with my friend Natalie Knight at the Center for Social Justice in Albany (, a bunch of us walked over to the Palais, a cute (but loud) haunt tucked away on a quiet street.

Without fiddling around with mics (because the tables were set with food and glasses and there was nowhere else to put my equipment) I set up the PCM-D50 in its naked form at the edge of the table.

The sound is quite crisp and clear, and I reworked it very little. You can hear me and a guy I met (sorry, your name escapes me...) talking about making soup and winter stews.

In my exhaustion (4 days on the road between Baltimore, NYC and Albany), I opted out of scouting the neighborhood at midnight to capture its environment. The only thing that interested me was the pristine quiet on the back porch, the slight wind, and the jingle of windchimes. But the evening was too fast for me to have sat down to ponder sound environments...