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. The only rule I will set
on myself is that all of sounds must be recorded through a microphone,
no direct line connections into the recorder. This will assure
a certain quality (at times, poor) and character. 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.
Pound Ridge, NY, 4:35pm
a little way to end the month of sounds...
Suffield, CT, 11am
an old “electronic message taker” from the 80’s
that had some talking on it left by my nieces at some point in
the last few years. great static textures mixed in the broken
voices. in the background my son plays with a slide whistle
Suffield, CT, around 5pm
small rattles made of seeds and gourds that were leftover from
our teenage years at my parents house.
Pound Ridge, NY, noonish
walking down the driveway to check the mail, carrying the larger
of the two Santa Fe bells. a pleasant rain is falling.
Pound Ridge, NY, 4:10pm
ukelele noodle, scraping the strings....
Pound Ridge, NY, 7:26am
various percussions looped through the Eclipse. mostly two bells
i had picked up in Santa Fe the other week. this loop is nice,
sort of watery. reminds me of an ocean late at night, perhaps
on the deck of a boat, masts and ties squeaking to the sway of
Pound Ridge, NY, late morning
more Eventide Eclipse noodlings. ukelele, outdoor microphone noises
and various sound bits.
Pound Ridge, NY, 11:16pm
looping and ebowed acoustic guitar.
Pound Ridge, NY, 11pm
tapping the side of our water heater.
Pound Ridge, NY, 2:52am
awoken around 2:45 this morning by torrential downpours outside.
incredible. staggered into the living room half-asleep to grab
the recorder. this recording doesn’t capture the heaviness
of the rain, but definitely the steady volume can be heard drenching
the surrounding forest.
Pound Ridge, NY, mid-afternoon
another looping jam with the Eventide Eclipse. i love this thing…
also posted a high-res, and longer, version on Soundcloud at:
Pound Ridge, NY, 10:49pm
we try to avoid it, but sometimes we can't, especially when it's
85 degrees in the house this late at night. this is the sound
of the HVAC cooling system in the utility closet at home.... yes,
air conditioning... the sound of relief.
Pound Ridge, NY, around 3:40pm
more ukelele... sort of like the imperfections of this progression
and my less-than-stellar playing.
Pound Ridge, NY, morning
some more Eclipse. this one a bit more raw and sparse. just noodling
Pound Ridge, NY, 11am
first experiment with the Eclipse. didn't realize it was a looping
algorithm. i was playing a guitar through it and then realized
this wonderful jumble of sound was actually looping. very nice.
Santa Fe, NM, around 8am
shaking a tree, whose leaves sound wonderfully paper-like. unfortunately
some close-mic contact spoiled the gentle leaf-rattling.... but,
still OK i suppose.
Santa Fe, NM, late night
another late-night insect lullaby on our last night in Santa Fe.
Sandia Park, NM, around 2pm
an amazing wind-up scene of carved wooden musician dolls playing
"back in the saddle again". the fact that the sound
of the mechanical device itself is practically louder than the
music is fantastic. was recorded at the TInkertown Museum, one
of the most fascinating places i've visited in a while. strange,
somewhere along Route 14, NM, near 5pm
stopped at a roadside pulloff of an old, graffiti-covered, giant
metal cistern. there was was a hole in the side and i was able
to throw rocks in at the broken bottles and listen to the metal-drum
reverb. unfortunately, my sound recorder was out of battery power
and i had to resort to using the iPhone as a recording device
which did not come out so well.
Cochiti Lake (?), NM, around 1pm
making humming sounds and walking around inside an early native-american
Santa Fe, NM, around 9am
banging on a rusted steel table on the patio of our casita. rather
bell-like, and strong.
Santa Fe, NM, late night
just an amazing bed of crickets and insects. different here than
the dense woods of home. a great sound to fall asleep to every
Arvada, CO, around 9pm
in a friend's driveway prepping the return of the rental car.
the sounds in the beginning are zaps from a bug-zapper across
the street. dogs bark, and general suburban ambiance prevails.
Denver, CO, afternoon
off in a quiet alley in Denver in the afternoon
New York, NY,
it's been so long, i honestly forgot what this sound is... but
i love it! but.. now that i hear it more... i think it may be
from Denver.. not from New York... hmmm.. oh well.
Pound Ridge, NY, 10:25pm
a toy robot bug crawling around on my snare drum.
Pound Ridge, NY, around 1pm
found a nice chord progression on the ukelele. sitting outside
on the stone wall playing. maybe some traffic and cicadas in the
Pound Ridge, NY, 2:05pm
cicadas are popping up everywhere. just listening off the deck
Pound Ridge, NY, 11pm
a Vornado fan that suddenly stopped working. it would rev up and
rev down, and buzz... but the blades wouldn't move. sounded cool,
though. recorded it before i throw it away.
Pound Ridge, NY, 11:30am
drumming on a couple of water bottles with my fingers while driving
home from running errands. fortunately, i can steer the car with
Pound Ridge, NY, 1:20pm
ebowing my acoustic guitar outside on the deck after lunch with