field recordings

These are just some random field recordings I’ve made. It’s fun doing stuff like this.

Roller coaster- nothing really noteworthy about this recording. It’s just a nice wide stereo capture of an old style wood-frame roller coaster. I think there were only 2 or 3 people riding it as I did this recording, as it was a not-at-all busy weekday afternoon in the off season. We get a passing motorcycle at the very beginning, and then a distant plane just prior to the roller coaster.

Plane- it’s difficult to get good recordings of planes taking off these days. There’s always major streets or highways close by which results in a bunch of unwanted traffic noise. It’s difficult to find a good vantage point to set up because there’s hardly any public parking with unobstructed sight lines (or in my case hearing lines) to the planes. Plus, with all the extra security measures in place these days, how suspicious would I look setting up a laptop and some cables and some other electronic equipment  in the general area of the runway?

But I managed to get this recording. It’s not spectacular, but it’s OK. There’s some worker truck at the end of it which gets in the way, but doesn’t ruin it.

Bowling alley- the thing with recording a bowling alley is that the pins are so far away. When you’re the one bowling, you’re not really listening to all the chatter around you; in fact your brain does its best to cancel it out (it’s called selective listening, google it), and so you really hear the clamoring of the pins as they crash and fall. Microphones don’t have any such ability; they just take in whatever sound waves reach them, and they don’t care either way about the relative loudness of those sound waves.

So what happens in a recording like this is that even though it sounds like any ordinary (busy) bowling alley, the pins sound really far away in relation to the human chatter.

Fireworks- recording fireworks is really strange. There are two distinct things going on with fireworks- the sound of the explosion, and the powerful physical impact our bodies feel when all that sound energy reaches us. Thing is, the mics don’t have any way of capturing that physical impact; they can only record the pop sound of the initial explosion. So what ends up on tape? Honestly, it doesn’t sound much different than popping popcorn in your kitchen. Even with my good mics, I think I had to boost the low end a little bit in this recording to make it actually sound more like fireworks than popcorn. But judge for yourself.

Zagreb train station- when I lived in Europe, I travelled quite a bit by train (exclusively by train if I remember correctly), and I LOVED recording the big train stations. I didn’t always get a chance to record them because often times I just wouldn’t have the time. And I haven’t been to all of ‘em, but I’ve been to some really great ones that I would really like to get back and record- Zürich, Munich, Brussels, Budapest, Prague…

The train station in Zagreb is actually on the smaller side, but I got some good sounds there.

Nady stereo condenser mic

Focusrite Saffire Pro24 preamp/interface

Logic 8 for recording, editing, mixing

Soundtrack Pro for mastering

MacBook Pro

(audio) Enduser live in Berlin, 14 May 2010

OK so here’s how it went- we were dished an hour’s worth of hardcore kicks and breaks from X&Trick, then were pulverized for an hour 15 by VSnares, and then Enduser reduced us to quivering piles of goo by playing over an hour and a half himself. So not only did Enduser play the tunes in his normal set, but he also threw in some unreleased stuff as well as some older tracks that rarely find their way into the live sets anymore.

Footnote #1: When I go out to these clubs to make these recordings, the vast majority of the time I am more or less left to my own devices and as long as I stay out of the way of the people who work there, everything proceeds swimmingly. Well, this was not one of those nights, and I would require about a day and a half to relay the story of everything that transpired this night, but suffice to say I simply would not have gotten this recording if not for the heroic efforts of Nicolas from Ad Noiseam, who was busy djing this show but still made time to help me out. That guy rules. A million thanks to him.

Footnote #2: Berghain is one of the best clubs on the planet. It’s in a renovated industrial building and has a super large performance area with sound system that could power a stadium. Go there and hear it for yourself.

Enduser live at Berghain, Berlin, 14 May 2010.

stereo board mix

Nady stereo condenser mic for room/audience

Focusrite Saffire Pro24 preamp/interface

Logic 8 for recording, editing, mixing

Soundtrack Pro for mastering

MacBook Pro

FB Soundcloud

(audio) Thee Source ov Fawnation live in Oakland, 24 Sept 2011

I’m cynical. Whenever I go to these all-nighter electronic music events with a dozen people on the bill, I expect that the artists with which I’m not familiar are gonna suck. That’s just how it goes. Because that’s the way it’s always gone.

Well, this night was an exception, because even though this was my first exposure to Thee Source ov Fawnation, they knocked my socks off. I love it when that happens.

I’d say their music is similar to Scanner’s more beat-oriented stuff, with a little Quench thrown in, also some Disjecta and maybe Silk Saw. Generally slow, patient music which often times works its way to a big crescendo for the finale. Sometimes with softly sung vocals, quite melodic. Not aggressive, but kinda heavy in parts, but those parts don’t last too long before being cleared out by digitally processed bleeps and bloops and other musical bits.

Oh, I’ll continue being cynical, but it sure is nice to be caught off guard every once in a while.

stereo board mix

Nady stereo condenser mic for room/audience

Focusrite Saffire Pro24 preamp/interface

Logic 8 for recording, editing, mixing

Soundtrack Pro for mastering

MacBook Pro

website FB Soundcloud

Update: The organizers of the Cremation of Care festival have made available on their Bandcamp page a giant compilation consisting of the recordings I made of  this weekend, plus a handful more. Artists include Wisp, Xanopticon, Terminal 11, Exillon, Thee Source ov Fawnation, Scuzi, Kush Arora, William S. Braintree, Brian E, Florescent Grey, Identity Theft and RMS.

(audio) WMX live in Los Angeles, 9 July 2011

WMX is poised for world domination. Apocalyptic industrial with a healthy dose of glitchy techno and an overload of doom and gloom atmospherics.

Soundcloud FB

stereo board mix

Shure SM-57s for room/audience

Focusrite Saffire Pro24 preamp/interface

Logic 8 for recording, editing, mixing

Soundtrack Pro for mastering

MacBook Pro

(audio) The Tleilaxu Music Machine live in Los Angeles, 9 July 2011

I’d seen The Tleilaxu Music Machine only once before this recording, probably a few years ago, and back in those days he was doing a sort of aggro-distorto-hardcore-gabber type sound with vocals. For all I know he may still do that material, but this night he broke out a bunch of instrumental danceable techno with some slight dsp glitchiness.

stereo board mix

Shure SM-57s for room/audience

Focusrite Saffire Pro24 preamp/interface

Logic 8 for recording, editing, mixing

Soundtrack Pro for mastering

MacBook Pro

website Soundcloud FB Tumblr Bandcamp

(audio) Xanopticon live in Los Angeles, 13 Aug 2011

Xanopticon is unequalled in his mastery of composing music that is simultaneously surgically precise, amazingly complex and devastatingly brutal. And that’s exactly what I want from music, but I so rarely find it. But I can always count on Xanopticon to deliver the goods.

Most artists (electronic or otherwise) need to put out a few albums to really mature and hit their stride. Not Xanopticon. His debut album, Liminal Space, is the work of a seasoned master, and in one stroke cemented his legendary status with the breakcore illuminati. And deservedly so.

Even though his output has been sporadic since that album’s release in 2003, he still tours extensively. And now that he’s forsaken his east coast roots to seek greener pastures (or for whatever reason; I don’t really know) out here on the west coast, my chances of catching him more than once every couple years have greatly increased.

Xanopticon live in some warehouse just east of downtown LA, 13 aug 2011.

stereo board mix

Nady stereo condenser mic for room/audience

Focusrite Saffire Pro24 preamp/interface

Logic 8 for recording, editing, mixing

Soundtrack Pro for mastering

MacBook Pro

website FB Bandcamp Soundcloud

(audio) Terminal 11 live in Oakland, 24 Sept 2011

Beat-slicer extraordinaire Terminal 11 doesn’t get out of the house too often. Well, at least to play shows. Well, actually there have been times over the years where he’s done a whole bunch of shows in some relatively short amount of time, and then will disappear for a while. He’s always producing music, though, so that’s good news. He’s got a bunch of albums out on Cock Rock Disco, and some on Hymen Records and Phthalo.

Live, you can expect an barrage of beats and hi-hats and snare cracks and bass lines and synthy parts that won’t let up for about an hour.

Bonus points if you can trainspot the sample at the end.

stereo board mix

Nady stereo condenser mic for room/audience

Focusrite Saffire Pro24 preamp/interface

Logic 8 for recording, editing, mixing

Soundtrack Pro for mastering

MacBook Pro

Soundcloud FB Twitter Last.fm

Update: The organizers of the Cremation of Care festival have made available on their Bandcamp page a giant compilation consisting of the recordings I made of  this weekend, plus a handful more. Artists include Wisp, Xanopticon, Terminal 11, Exillon, Thee Source ov Fawnation, Scuzi, Kush Arora, William S. Braintree, Brian E, Florescent Grey, Identity Theft and RMS.