Tag Archives: contact

Gene Pool#69 Sonic Season: Jez riley French

P6080071This episode is the first of a five episode “Sonic Season” of improvisation and sonic arts shows.

The life of the field recording artist explored in conversation with Jez Riley French.

Independence and integrity of artistic practice are strong themes with the globetrotting Yorkshire-man whose DIY JrF contact microphones have become something of an industry standard tool among sound artists.

We discuss community, microphones and recording equipment including geophones, hydrophones and contact microphones as well as vibrating staircases and the “Stairway to Heaven” of the field recording world.

This podcast features some original recordings made during a weekend workshop led by Jez as well as audio from his own archive material.

More Info

jezrileyfrench.blogspot.com
jezrileyfrench.co.uk
Jez riley French on Bandcamp

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Listen: Gene Pool#69: Jez riley French

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Hidden Sounds

I’ve been swapping my work roles with even greater frequency lately, recently tutoring a workshop in using “WordPress for Web Design” and this last weekend, one of my favourites: building “DIY Contact Microphones

We had a good group assemble for the day, which involved part building our own piezo contact mics, and part sound-hunting around the 18th Century mansion that houses our venue,  South Hill Park Arts Centre with the working microphones.

After doing this a few times, I’ve found some real hotspots within the building like the Plant Room that houses all of the heating and ventilation equipment, but there are always a few surprise discoveries too.

Here are a couple of samples from the day:
Glass Table Top

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Plant Room Pipes

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My notes for the Contact Mic construction, with a small list of parts and UK sources can be downloaded here: Contact Mic Notes 2a 

In a forthcoming episode of the Gene Pool podcast, we’ll be featuring some new contact microphone recordings, donated by members of the Phonography email group. Current contributions range from Ferry and Bridge recording from UK artists, Joe Stevens and Matt Davies to deserted factory sounds and tramlines in Prague from Steve Barsoti, Udo Noll and Pablo Sanz.

Keep an eye on the Twitter for the schedule.

Is Internetwork Broken?

network-boxI ran a one day DIY Contact Mic Recording workshop recently, building a DIY audio tool from a cheap Piezo transducer and a handful of joyful bits and pieces. Building the Contact Mic is quite straightforward, but I’ve created a step by step wiring guide to use during the workshop day which I’ve uploaded as a PDF here.

There’s a bit of an issue when it comes to dipping the soldered Piezo into the Plasti-Dip, but I’ve got an idea to track down a suitably sized ice-cube or jelly mold, so the option to create Homer Simpson shaped Contact Mics now seems a tangible reality!

Once the assembly and soldering was completed,  during the afternoon we explored the use of the new devices to record the audio vibrations around the building we were in.

Gaining access to the Plant Room of a large building is entering Drone Central for contact mic recordists. The room housed all of the boilers, ducting and control panels for various building services, most of which produced interesting audio. The main switchbox in the room had a screen stuck announcing the warning alert “Is Internetwork Broken?” – who knows? Still, applying the Piezo contact mics to the pipes, ducting and resonant surfaces provided a rich vein of  top quality drones.

plant-roomBlue Wall Duct

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Boiler Vent

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Boiler Hum

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