On january 1st, 2008 I began a project where I would take one
polaroid picture every day of 2008. It was a fun, challenging,
and sometimes frustrating endeavor, but I now have 365 polaroids
portraying the ups and downs and travels of a year in my life.
And 2009 is upon us...
The most rewarding aspect of that project was the fact that every
day I was forced to look at the world around me and experience
each day on a very visual level. Oftentimes, though, I'd pass
over what turned out to be a great photographic opportunity in
the hope a better one would be around the corner, resulting in
a mediocre photo for the day. However, the project was not about
the “best” photography but rather simply of a diary
of seeing for a year.
As 2008 drew to a close I set my sights to 2009. A picture-a-day
was very challenging, do Igive myself a break, freedom from carrying
the Polaroid with me every day, freedom from having to constantly
be on the lookout? Or, was the forcing of this creative project
on me every day a priceless exercise? Never one to rest, I have
decided that in 2009, starting on January 1st, of course, I will
carry a small digital audio recorder with me every day of the
year and record one sound per day.
As a musician I rarely work with “field recordings”
although I am familiar with them enough as a sound source and
have used them in my compositions from time to time. However,
I am always listening and find beauty and serenity in many of
the everyday sounds that surround me. This exercise will not only
force me to listen more carefully every day, but expand my own
sound palette. Like my polaroids, it will not be about capturing
a "perfect" sound, but be a simple audio diary of each
day. Undoubtedly, there will be many wonderful sounds that I capture,
but that is not the primary focus of the project.
I will not set a time limit on each day’s recordings, but
rather make each recording as long as it needs to be to capture
whatever it is i’ll be recording. Along with the recorder
I will carry a small notebook and make a note of date and time
as well as location and “subject.” These recordings
will be featured on my blog (12kblog.wordpress.com)
and, of course, this web page.
If 2008 was a year of seeing every day, 2009 will be a year of
listening. The death of Polaroid's instant film market has made
the Polaroid-a-day difficult to continue... My project was timely.
Needless to say, as a photographer, I will never stop looking,
nor will I rarely be caught without a camera, but to form a year’s
worth of living and travelling with an audio diary will be a new
way for me to experience each day.
New Canaan, CT, around 2:30pm
a minute and 23 seconds of being alone in Philip Johnson's Glass
House. trying to make as little noise as possible... as it should
be. then walking to the two doors, closing them, and leaving.
one of the best minutes i've ever spent on my birthday.
New Canaan, CT, 7:40pm
in a restaurant for dinner. a walk from the bathroom back down
to the table. i like the morphing of music, into music, into crowd.
Pound Ridge, NY, 8:00am
early morning birds.
Pound Ridge, NY, 2:46am
woken up in the wee hours of the morning by two raccoons in the
tree outside the bedroom. not sure if they were playing, mating,
fighting... before this recording they were on the ground in what
seemed like a vicious fight. it was too dark to see anything except
for the silhouettes once they went up into the tree.
Wesport, CT, around 3:30pm
unseasonably hot day, so we spent it at the beach.
Pound Ridge, NY, 9:14pm
close-up mic of an external 1TB hard drive writing files i'm archiving.
thump/click is the hard drive, noisefloor is the laptop fan/noise.
Pound Ridge, NY, 12:00pm
while geocaching (a close shave) in the Westchester Wilderness
Walk... recorded in a pool of water populated by skunk cabbage.
small trickles of water, and a distant bird. it was a beautiful
Pound Ridge, NY, 9:45am
the same Korg NanoKey controller controlling the frequency of
a feedbacking patch in Kyma, which is playing in the background.
Pound Ridge, NY, 9:02pm
just seeing how the binaural microphones pick up the guitar when
i drop them into the body of the acoustic. the guitar was still
on its stand, and i just plucked with one finger for a little
Pound Ridge, NY, 1:20pm
the clicking of the small plastic keys of a Korg NanoKey controller.
New York, NY, around 2:15pm
walking down Madison Ave in the pouring rain. also, after listening
to this recording, the last time i will ever use the Limiter on
the Tascam recorder. similar to the ocean recording from a few
days ago, the limiter is anything but transparent... really kicks
in horrible pumping artifacts. destroyed this recording... although,
there were heavy winds which blew the levels out a lot. still,
not the nicest limiter.
Ridgefield, CT, 7pm
a musical toy in a public park/playground. rubber mallet on glock-type
bars. some nice ringing. trying to also capture the sliding of
the cable attached to the mallet. the sound around 20 seconds
is a wheel filled with beans (?) that turns and makes shaker/rainstick
Pound Ridge, NY about 5:30pm
during a youth baseball game at the town park. something really
great about the natural reverb of this one.
Pound Ridge, NY 12:40pm
turning out the exterior water pipes after a cold winter. this
is the sound of spraying the hose in the yard.
Pound Ridge, NY between 9 and 10pm
i never get tired of the late night spring (or summer) sounds
around here. as you will hear, the forest really becomes alive
in as it gets closer to summer.
Pound Ridge, NY 1:16pm
table umbrella on deck blowing in the wind. clamps against poles,
Pound Ridge, NY 11:22pm
silent night outside. noise is mostly noise-floor from recording
after about 35db gain. some nice soft clicks here and there.
Pound Ridge, NY late afternoon
experimenting with an SP-1200 sampler and an output-to-input feedback
loop. sampling the feedback loop and making rhythms.
Charlotte, North Carolina, 6:40pm
waiting at gate E1 for connecting flight home. those little vehicles
that shuttle people around were dopplering around me.
Venice, Florida, around 9pm
another sidewalk walk through the crickets and late night insects.
Venice, Florida, around noon
an attempted recording at the oceanside... i had to high-pass
filter the excessive wind in the mic which made the recording
sound very pushed and broken... gives it some character though.
Venice, Florida, around 7am
a walk down the sidewalk the same sidewalk. nighttime insects
replaced by morning birds. small clicks are the handling of the
recorder... i think they are interesting.
Venice, Florida, evening
a walk down the sidewalk. a little girl passes on a scooter.
Mount Kisco, NY, 12:02pm
noodling around in the infant toy aisle at a store while running
Pound Ridge, NY, 9:40am
snapping together Legos.™
Paris, France, 6:26am
woken up only 3 hours after i went to sleep by the sound of these
birds in the courtyard outside my hotel window. they were quite
beautiful and i knew i had to drag myself out of bed to get the
recorder. it was worth it... one of the more memorable sounds
from my trip.
Paris, France, right before lunch.
standing on a street in Montmarte... trying to record a street
musician and realizing my microphones are not really the right
kind, and i was too far away. he was playing an upright bass,
which failed to be captured. the sound of his tambourine can be
heard (he was stepping on it with his foot). fortunately, the
environmental sounds are nice as well.
Paris, France, around noon.
the "moat" room in the basement of the Louvre. boardwalk
around original castle wall.
Paris, France, early afternoon
Metro ride with Ken and Clémence en route to Radio France
Paris, France, early afternoon
a complete circle walk through the interior of Notre Dame. quite
a nice reverb and lucky to have the choral singing.