Soundscape – New Final Version

This is my final soundscape. I made some changes to the eighth draft to better reflect my ideas. I tightened up a few of the timings and made some adjustments to some of the bird sounds so they are more clear. Then I decided to try adding some effects to the bird noises as well – I added some random delay pattens and some reverb to them. This combined with the EQ I had already applied created some interesting effects over the traffic noise.

The traffic noise gradually gets more and more distorted and the bird song becomes more and more effected also and then when the traffic noise is taken away, a strange sound emerges which is almost bird song but not as we would recognise it. I think this makes a statement about how the traffic noise is affecting our perception of other sounds.

I am more pleased with this version as I think it reflects my research better, and combines several differing approaches, including the more ‘truthful’ representation of a space, combined with the manipulation of sounds, not dissimilar to Lopez’s work. Throughout this process I have enjoyed trialling different ideas and creating new drafts of the soundscape.

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Revisiting My Soundscape 5

Having listened to the new drafts I have made, there are two that stand out to me:

and

https://soundcloud.com/milly-field-recordings/soundscape-revisit-3-seventh-draft

I like the gradual change in the fifth draft to making the traffic noise more intense, and I realised that I could try a different way of putting the soundscape together so that it would seem to gradually change, ending on the more intense, artificially manipulated sound. If I structure the soundscape so that rather than walking from the footpath (‘the track’) to the A27, I could structure it the other way round. This will be my next trial.

Soundscape (Seventh Draft)

This is my seventh draft of the soundscape and it it a direct response to the feedback that the beginning half was quite homogenous. While I was at home, I made some more recordings of Paradise Lane, and have blended them in with my original. There are now lots of bird sounds present at the beginning, and although the traffic noise is still the most prominent, it is less so, and to me, it sounds like the birds are trying to sing louder than the traffic, which I quite like.

Soundscape (Sixth Draft)

In this version of the soundscape, I’ve re-worked it to include less of the traffic noise, cutting about 1 minute and 45 seconds off the length. Personally, as I suggested in my post about this idea, I don’t think this is a good idea. It was not a very satisfying way of solving the problem and I don’t think the issue was so bad that it needed completely removing from the track. This will not be my final piece.

Soundscape (Fifth Draft)

Following my feedback, I have spent the last few weeks thinking about and testing out some ideas (see previous posts).

This is my latest draft:

The main thing that has been changed here is the manipulation of the traffic noise through filters, distortion and Logic’s Ringshifter. This allows the traffic sound to get more and more intense, while creating more interest to the sound, before cutting off completely for the second half of my soundscape.

This makes the point that the traffic noise in Paradise Lane is quite severe, particularly as now, the listener will struggle greatly to pick out the bird sounds in the piece.

Revisiting My Soundscape 4

My third idea is to shorten the first half significantly, allowing it to go on just long enough that it is interesting but not so long that the listener starts to wonder where it is going. This would allow me to keep my original idea in tact. This is my least favourite option, not just because it would involve cutting short my track even further (I shortened it twice – one draft was not published and was over 20 minutes long, the second was 13 minutes long and I finally cut it down to the length it is currently at) but to me, it lacks creativity. While sometimes less is more, I am interpreting the feedback to mean that more should be added to make the weaker sections better, rather than just taking away what isn’t currently working. Nonetheless, I am going to try this idea anyway just to compare it with the others.

Revisiting My Soundscape 3

“The first half in particular suffers from homogeneity, partly because other textures are subsumed into traffic. It will be worth revising the first half, by making more recordings, and/or using some artificial construction to draw attention to peripheral sounds.”

Jeevan also noted that while the generative rhythms of the traffic are interesting, they go on too long. I noticed that myself listening again to my soundscape last week. My second idea is to incorporate more recordings, in particular bring in more ‘hi fi’, nature sounds, such as birds into the first half.

Final Reflections (9th November)

I am surprised how much the work has interested me, and I think it really helped to throw myself in at the deep end with attending Chris Watson’s soundscape performance at the beginning of the year. Doing this meant I had a point of focus to beginning my listening research. I also found that going to the performance allowed me to experience soundscapes in a completely different way to any ways in which I had previously been exposed to them. I also found the principle of soundwalking very useful in my own research. I have done a lot of reflective and listening-based research and so I feel that the research piece has changed my perspective on listening, particularly to sounds around me that I would otherwise ignore. I have found that listening intently to my environment is a worthwhile endeavour and that listening to a sound for its own merits without considering its sonorous object is rewarding, relaxing and fascinating.

One of the biggest changes I have noticed in my work as I have gone through is my initial rejection of the idea of a hi-fi and lo-fi soundscape as outlined by many acoustic ecologists. As I have pointed out in my draft reflections, I found that actually making going out and making recordings and then listening back to them and discovering the noise level (lo-fi sounds) was so high, made me actually appreciate what acoustic ecologists are talking about, and I hope my soundscape demonstrates the noisiness of even relatively quiet suburban areas.

I have enjoyed spending time listening to the world around me and trying to capture it on my field recorder. I feel that not only have I learnt a lot about listening techniques and soundscape composition, but I have also learnt a lot about recording and am glad I started trying out field recording before I made the recordings necessary for my final soundscape.

Soundscape (Final Draft 8th-9th November)

This is my final soundscape. I’ve uploaded it to my main CMC page here (Edit 7th Jan – as this is now simply a draft, I have re-uploaded this version of the soundscape and it can be heard here):

It is mostly similar to the soundscape I created in draft 2. I got rid of some sounds I didn’t like, including a couple of points where the wind noise was very loud and a few points where my handling of the mic was a little too obvious. A few ‘human’ sounds (people walking etc) have also been added.

I am quite pleased with how it’s turned out, despite the fact that it is quite different from my own vision. Actually going to Paradise Lane and starting to record there made me aware of just how noisy the traffic is, but this was further proved to me when I listened back to my recordings and found the traffic sound had penetrated everywhere I tried to record. This has led to a reasonably significant direction change, with the traffic noise playing a much more prominent role that I had originally planned for it. I think it’s difficult to hear a lot of what is going on and you really have to concentrate when listening to the soundscape to find the hi-fi sounds in it.

I have kept in mind the ‘listening body’ and have made sure a range of frequencies are accentuated at various points (like the bass while trains and cars go past). Mainly, I just made small changes to the mix in the edit room as I had done all previous mixes on headphones.

As I pointed out before, the ironic title ‘Paradise Lane’ is supposed to be thought-provoking: this place, is given the name ‘Paradise’, but is it really sonically paradise?

This piece is constructed as a sound walk down Paradise Lane. These are some things to listen out for:
00.00 – The A27, very close, some birds can be heard further away

00.24 – A train goes past in the distance

00.57 – Birds can be heard in the tree on the track

01.08 – Someone walks past

01.48 – A train goes past, this time closer, there are lots of trees and birds and a squirrel can be heard in them

03.04 – On the bridge as a train goes under it

04.12 – Heading towards the green, can hear birds

04.32 – A lady’s walking stick hitts the ground as she walks past

04.51 – A car passes the green

06.11 – The A27 can be heard in the distance, but also closer, at the bottom of Paradise Lane

06.28 – A train goes past, further away now

06.50 – Someone walks past

08.08 – Sirens in the distance

08.26 – A car drives up Paradise Lane

Soundscape (Third Draft) (7th-8th November)

I have been working on a different draft of my soundscape:

The main difference is that I have added in my footsteps to create a more phonographic soundscape. There is more evidence of mic handling in this one than previously and it places me in the soundscape. I wasn’t sure about this idea, but I thought I would try it out as I have fostered an interest in soundwalking. I think it detracts from the layering I have done in my other drafts and I also think it makes it harder to hear some of the more intricate sounds in my soundscape (which are hard enough to hear over the constant roar of traffic!).

I don’t really like this draft, but I thought that since I had made the recordings and have become quite interested in soundwalks, I would try it out. I don’t feel that it has been a waste of time because I have learnt something – I don’t want to include my own footsteps in the piece.

I think the final draft will be a slight rework/remix of my second draft. It will still be a soundwalk but my presence in it will not be as defined as in this draft – I like the way it slowly transitions (the traffic gradually gets quitter, the trains get louder, more individual cars are heard and less nature sounds are heard as the walk progresses from the top of Paradise Lane to the bottom of it).