In the old days ‘fieldrecordings’ where highly respected in their own field. I mean there was a novelty about them, something that was a bit of a movement on its own. It was a respected form that had a certain posh-ness or arrogance over it. I mean this not in a impolite way; this was just how it came across when I ran into a field of field-recorders in the early days.
I know it is almost unthinkable now; but those days in the past there weren’t any smartphones that can record audio video and pictures. These early field recorders were the real hardcore ones, a legendary group of their own and ‘field recording’ was in those days a phenomenon filled with state of the art mega microphones. They could capture the tiniest sound in a complete 4D Dolby surround super soaker quality!
These early field recorders went to great lengths to capture mostly the sounds of nature. You could find them in trees aiming with their expensive microphone taped on a stick to record a group of fresh birds in a bird nest. You could see them with special equipment to place their microphones on in the fields recording cows, bees and the sounds of butterfly wings..
Wind, water, the sound of leaves falling from the trees; these authentic fieldrecorders had one specific goal; recording fields and nature.
Who remembers the compact discs filled with nature sounds? CD’s full of weather sounds or all different kind of birds singing?
After that we could hear the fieldrecorders recording the city, villages and human activities. Children playing in the playground, footsteps, and just normal day household equipment. You don’t need to go for an intensive search to find sample CD’s full of things like kettles, pans, pots, microwaves & doors opening and closing. People clapping, car klaxons, flushing toilets etc. The fieldrecorders had removed themselves from the fields and started to record every possible thing that they could find.
By the time that everything from sport car engine to a person’s sneeze had been recorded by the field recorders, technology started to evolve and started to be available for non pseudo, self acclaimed professional field-recorders. Some music makers or general sound lovers started to use the fieldrecordings in their music, manipulating them or layering them to make it more into a personal art form than just a recording of an audio event. Others started to record their own life, themselves, walking around, the sound of their noisy neighbors, the house pets, car keys and shower sessions.
Nowadays the genre of ‘field recordings’ has expended so broadly and is now no longer the expensive hobby of the elite microphone users.
Even people who have never heard of the word ‘field recording’ are unknowingly ‘fieldrecorders’ buzzy field recording themselves.
Now the big question arises; Who listens to field recordings?
The CD’s with birds, weather phenomenas, household equipment could be perhaps seen as the audio version of ‘stock photo’s’, which could be handy for biologists, multimedia producers and people who are too lazy to record their own microwave.
But the more personal ‘walking-with-the-artist-kind-of-fieldrecordings’ are in my honest opinion not made to extract a sound effect from for the latest cartoon you had animated or the bedroom slapstick show that you had created.. These field recordings are something else.. They are like pictures of food that you can look at but are not eating. They are like peeks in other people their life’s and surroundings that you can hear but cannot see.
I think these kind of recording sessions are perfect for a targeted group of people that almost never leave their house. The people that are stuck for whatever reason to their chair playing 24 hours long computer games, or are just so enormous that they can’t go off bed and in no way are able to take a walk outside for themselves.
People that live in sterile urban places that will never see the light of day & others who want to go out for a walk but have no body features of doing so…
Curious people that are getting off on hearing other people recording their surroundings, cause life is always more interesting at someone else their place..
As you can see, there is a huge market out there for modern day field recordings and even though now everyone can do it with the touch on a modern mini telephone; the best field recordings / even though highly personal / are still better off done by people who are professional field record makers.
This, finally.. Brings this long history and impression of the whole fieldrecording thing to two links that lead to modern day fieldrecording sessions by professional drummer and field-recorder with the name: Chris Silver T. Under the pseudo of ‘CSpoT’ he carefully registered the audio spots surrounding him, creating perfect listen material for people that fall in the category as described before, or perhaps even you, dear Yeah I Know It Sucks reader?
We all have things to do, places to go, lives to run.. There is no shame in admitting that you did not have time to go out or just had no time to listen to the things around you.. See it as a vitamin supplement for the sound the body needs but had missed out on perhaps.
Anyway do whatever you want, think whatever you think about modern day field recordings; here are two links that you might want to click and check out, or just go out for a walk if possible, far away from this blog that is wasting your expensive and precious time ; sniff the nature! (If any!) here’s them links:
CSpoT – Spot #1
CSpoT – Spot #2
(^^ fieldrecordings, people.. fieldrecordings!)