Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Place for Distance in Field Recordings.

 
 Top of Mt. Dana - Yosemite
Field recordings are too often an extension of our urban perspective. One of the most common features in the urban landscape is the lack of distance in viewing and hearing. Outside of looking up, our opportunities to look or hear at long distances are few or limited. It is this same cramped horizon we find common in field recordings with a prevalence of closely recorded sounds with a push to get even closer than we could ever get with or bodily ear. An aural claustrophobia is easily invoked. The childhood wonder of echoes seem to be so often forgotten.  One morning as I lay in bed I remember hearing the most unforgettable sound, echoing at a great distance. It was late in the day when I discovered it had been a train wreck 8 miles away.  There were recordings in Tehran of people on the roofs yelling protests one could hear both close and far. Neither of things are pleasant and perhaps why distant sounds are both rare and avoided. Is this the only context we hear distant things?  Just as my eye craves to focus at a large distance, a reason my vacations have always sought such landscapes over other cities, my ear craves the same.

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