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Re: Very quiet recordings

Subject: Re: Very quiet recordings
From: "soundings23" soundings23
Date: Mon Jun 4, 2012 1:57 am ((PDT))
There's a lovely quote from Cage - in "Silence" - about small sounds (for t=
hose not familiar with Cage, he was both a composer and an accomplished ama=
teur mycologist) ...

"I propose that it should be determined which sounds further the growth of =
which mushrooms; whether these latter, indeed, make sounds of their own; wh=
ether the gills of certain mushrooms are employed by appropriately small-wi=
nged insects for the production of pizzicati and the tubes of the Boleti by=
 minute burrowing ones as wind instruments;whether the spores, which in siz=
e and shape are extraordinarily various,and in number countless, do not on =
dropping to the earth produce gamelan-like sonorities; and finally, w=
hether all this enterprising activity, which I suspect delicately exists, c=
ould not, through technological means, be brought, amplified and magn=
ified, into our theatres with the net result of making our entertainm=
ents more interesting."

I find quiet sounds a lot more challenging than the opposite. With loud sou=
nds, it's all there, served up on a plate. And as such can be quickly ignor=
ed - quickly filtered or bracketed.

Quiet on the other hand, and as you suggest Jez, demands focus and concentr=
ation - like walking through woods on a dark night without a light. And for=
 the most part, quiet sounds are not always readily nameable and thus requi=
re a greater intensity of listening. A small example is the wonderful varie=
ty of subsong in birds - the quiet warbling of blackbirds on an early Janua=
ry day, singing to themselves, is both exquisite and requires a few moments=
 of tuning in.

Quiet sounds are also challenging in terms of recording ... the end product=
 often reveals as much about the technology used as the thing recorded. The=
 sound of the pre-amp, the microphone. Which again is interesting because t=
here's a strong temptation to want this not to be so - to have a "clean" re=
cording. But why? As discussed previously, the recording is not the thing i=
tself, its a transformation. So why not have it present the process as well=
 as the subject?



--- In  Mark <> wrote:
> Hi Jez,
> I lived with a deaf family for several years during university. It's a co=
mmon misbelief that the deaf cannot hear anything, but on average they are =
living a world of soft booms faint, clicks and muffled voices. While I woul=
dn't wish deafness on my worst enemy, I feel that the lack of distraction h=
elps in developing exceptional skills in listening and the intuition of sub=
tle energies.
> just a few distracted thoughts ^__~
> Mark
> On Jun 4, 2012, at 6:24 AM, "Jez" <> wrote:
> > very quiet recordings (quietudes) have been something of an obsession o=
f mine for many years. I spend a lot of time recording stillness in buildin=
gs for example. When there are just small sounds to hear we have to micro/m=
acro listen & that draws you in, closer.
> >
> > --- In  "soundings23" <tony.whitehead2=
332@> wrote:
> > >
> > > Hi All, just for interest here are two very quiet recordings I upload=
ed to Soundcloud this morning. Both are hydrophone recordings taken yesterd=
ay near where I live.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > I was in two minds whether to upload them, because they are so quiet.=
 But, I was fascinated because they are so full of tiny detail, especially =
the pond at Chudleigh. I also found that I enjoyed listening to them withou=
t excessively turning up the gain - which just seemed to increase the noise=
 of my Edirol's pre-amp.
> > >
> > > As I said on the soundcloud page, they make me think of sound work by=
 the like's of Francisco Lopez, Radu Malfati and Bernhard Gunter .
> > >
> > > Ages ago there was a review of this sort of quietness in Ed Pinset's =
Sound Projector magazine where, reviewing Lopez's "Untitled 74" he said
> > >
> > > "There's something going on there all right, but what is it? How is i=
t possible to record and produce sounds so remote and tiny that you're only=
 dimly aware of them? ... No point turning up the volume - that'll only cau=
se more damage - these are fugitive spirits, like fairies of the air which =
will vanish if you draw to near to them."
> > >
> > > I like that. And I like what the hydrophone reveals of these tiny sou=
nd worlds.
> > >
> > > BTW, while writing this, I felt like I was reviewing my own recording=
s - which would be odd and not a little arrogant - but I don't feel these a=
re my recordings, I simply dropped the hydrophone in a pond, hit record, an=
d listened - so I'm reviewing and sharing thoughts what I heard rather than=
 what I did with what I recorded.
> > >
> > > Be glad of any thoughts on very quiet sounds, or links to anything si=
> > >
> > > Tony
> > >
> >
> >

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