As stated on this site, I have studied both Photography & Music Production at degree level (incomplete study – I may add – due to health reasons). Field recording is a melding of these two disciplines – it is a celebration of the everyday, a cross pollination of (post) music & documentation. I have explained on this site, in detail, the history of Field Recording – HERE – but in this article I would quite like to go into why I do it – what is my motivation for waking up at dawn to record the bird song?
Well, to start of with – the reasons are manifold. I am a bit tipsy as I type this – so I may spell something wrong and will almost certainly waffle. The main reason I capture field recording is due to my ill health. Yes, I suffer from a perception disorder: what happens in the real world and the way that my head interprets these events are two completely different things.
I am not after your sympathy, but here I would like to write a bit about the therapeutic benefits of field recording. I am trying to, publicly, explain my eccentricities in sound. One of the main reasons for the use of field recordings is Mindfulness. Believe it or not, mindfulness is taught as part of the healing process in some therapeutic communities. Yes, MINDFULNESS. As in, the Eastern Ascetic tradition of calming the brain and yoking it to a discipline. However, the mindfulness taught in therapeutic communities is without incense but with the breathing exercises – it is intended to help the sufferer be more in the present and escape the inward spiral their head creates for them on a daily basis. Mindfulness can be taught as part of a Field recording syllabus – I have taken part in – and aided – in one in Knaresborough.
For me, the adventure really started in 2008 / 09 I had a chance to purchase THE WIRE Magazine – The underground music magazine for experimental musics and sound art. The edition I purchased came with a free Download of Field Recordings, as curated by Jez riley French. At the time I listened to the CD I was taking a lot of photographs – some of which populate this site – but these recordings spoke to me in a much more profound way than any still image: it was immersive. Listening to a field recording I am in the place, at the time it is being captured (please see perception disorder info above).
With this in mind, I have to very careful with what I listen to – even animal sounds can be set me on edge. Music can sometime be a nightmare to listen to if I have a busy day: if I am late with my medication I always end up having a chat with the band as they are recording the album. This is another factor why I am ‘post-music’.
All in all, I am trying to make sense of the world through Field Recording & Found Sound. Years ago, whilst in my twenties, I tried to find my place in the world by seeing the world. All that led to was my perception disorder and a firm belief that ‘home’ is the best place to be. Nowadays, I try and make sense of the past, present and coming future through the capturing of empirical reality and thinking of ways to express that in an aesthetically pleasing way. My next adventure is down to Plunge in Folkestone, Kent. To book tickets, please email Andi Elliott at [email protected] and ask for as many tickets as he has left. At Plunge, I will be presenting a fusion of found sounds as an Imaginary Landscape – please see here as to what an Imaginary Landscape is – yes, I will pretty much be DJing found sound in a ragamuffin stylee.
If you have anything to add to this article, then please chip in with a comment below, on this blog …