Thursday, November 05, 2009

Haunted Weather

"I had set up my recording equipment on the edge of a clearing, with the microphones pointing up the hillside. As the light faded, the distant roar of stags rolled down through the forest and into the clearing. It began to rain. As usual I had heard the rushing sound of the wind blowing down the glen and across the canopy, but just at the point when the light was almost gone, the wind changed. The effect was dramatic. The atmosphere changed very quickly, as did my mood and perception. I can honestly say that I felt something blow down that hillside and into the clearing - the quality of the sound changed, the deer seemed to stop calling, and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck - what few I have - stand up. I packed up as quickly as I could, and I left. Over the next few days I went back there to similar locations and made a series of successful recordings without ever feeling the same effects."

- Chris Watson, of Cabaret Voltaire on making field recordings in Glen Affric, Scotland.

Felix Hess, on his work with infrasound microphones, recording the inaudibly (to the human ear) low frequency sounds of air pressure fluctuations:

"Using a time compression factor of 360, one hour of audible sound on a CD represents 15 days and nights of recorded infrasound, originally in the range between 0.03 Hz and 56 Hz. {note: the human ear tends to hear between 20 Hz and 16,000 Hz} The sensation of hearing this … is deeply strange, like being buffeted by a high wind and at the same time hearing the extreme high frequency activity of neural processing. ‘One hears high-pitched whistles, beeps and insect-like buzzes’, Hess writes, ‘which come from the deep rumbling of factories, trains and trucks, and other motor cars, or even nearby washing machines. The opening and closing of doors gives rise to countless tiny clicks, which may add up to form a sound like soft rain on autumn leaves. Finally, an extraordinary presence: a rich, deep drone, originally at 0.2 Hz, audible like a multi-engined heavy airplane in the distance. This deep droning sound, at times all but inaudible, is formed by oscillations in the atmosphere – microbaroms – caused by standing waves in the Atlantic Ocean, far away.' "

Both quotes taken from David Toop's fascinating (and occasionally infuriating) Haunted Weather. Seascape Photo by Hiroshi Sugimoto.


james said...


maryanne want said...

Interesting project you have underway. The Glenn is very beautiful and the air so still and pure there. The sound will be nice I think.

Vilis Inde said...

Great project! By the way - looking forward to yourvisit to Marfa. My partner & I operate STAY marfa - you'll be staying in our rentals. In addition, we operate inde/jacobs - a gallery that is exhibiting and selling work from Hiroshi Sugimoto's Time Exposed portfolio of seascapes - This is what caught my attention. Vilis Inde - see indejacobs blog