I just returned from a week on the beautiful Greek island of Corfu, a place totally alive with natural sound. Several nights, I found myself waking in small hours and being drawn outside to record the haunting sound of the cicadas and Scops Owl calls echoing across Kalami Bay. In hindsight, walking out of a hotel in the middle of the night in my pyjamas, clutching recording equipment seems a rather odd thing to do, but the magic of the Mediterranean night made it seem quite reasonable at the time.
Some sound proved more difficult to capture with the same quality as I heard it, the ever-present hum of pool pumps and air conditioning really came out in some recordings. In the shoreline recording below, I noticed a persistent bass hum around 30hz on playback. I can only think that this is a reflection of the boom from the Mediterranean sea echoing back off the surrounding hills around the bay , unless there’s a less-glamourous technical reason, of course.
Night – Kalami Bay 2.40am
I’ve been thinking about the notion of presence in field recordings – I always find myself seeking a more or less human-free capture, which includes any sounds that I might make. At times, an almost impossible task. Though one could consider that, if an accurate representation of what is really in the environment is sought, then the recording should be made impartially, without selecting to edit out a part of the moment.
Maybe it’s attempting to artificially isolate an engaging element out of the background but I always have this thought when recording locations of whether I want to be present in the composition.
I’m using the OKI Soundman binaural microphones to record these sounds, and as they are worn in-ear for recording, my own head and clothes are an influence on what ends up on the recording, which obviously makes the question of the recordists role quite personal.
Here then, are two more contrasting recordings from day and night.
Day – Olive Grove Crickets 10.40am
Night – Cicadas/Scops Owl 2.00am