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 this project has been the fact that
every day I have been forced to look. 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.
sounds of children in a curved hallway at the Norwalk
Pound Ridge, NY, around noon
outside of the post office after mailing some packages.
a lot of small birds in a large bush.
Danbury, CT, around 3pm
at my friend's vinyl cutting studio. this is the sound
of the vinyl lathe as it cuts the first 12k 7" record. the
song can be heard in the background. the lathe is the high-pitched
Pound Ridge, NY, around 9:52pm
wind storm after today's snow, ice, and rain. wind chime
designed by Paolo Soleri.
Pound Ridge, NY, around 9pm
more studio roomtone, 9pm.
Mt. Kisco, NY, around 6pm
waiting in line at the grocery store. a symphony of beeps.
West Nyack, NY, around 7pm
a video arcade in the Palisades Center Mall.
New York City, 7pm
crowd ambience from an art opening for Zimoun &
Pe Lang's audio works at Bitforms Gallery in Chelsea.
Pound Ridge, NY, around 11pm
the hum and quiet sounds from the tv.
Pound Ridge, some time after 2pm
my cat Pixel sleeping and snoring on my desk. i was working
on a new piece of music while he was doing it and believe it or
not it fit so well with the song (really!) that i recorded him
and added it in (but not the loud parts at the end). i love listening
to him snore... it makes an already very human-like cat all the
Pound Ridge, 2:09pm
room tone in my studio. recorder placed on stack of external
Pound Ridge, around 9pm
no surprises here. captured at a distance from replayed
Pound Ridge, around noon
recordings so obvious and literal don't appeal to me much...
however, this was just too fun to pass up. an excerpt of me pulling
my son up a hill on a sled and then getting him set up to go down....
backwards, as he is quite excited about.
Pound Ridge, 11:36pm
snow falling on a microphone.
Ridgefield, Connecticut. around 1pm
recorded inside the lovely Aldrich Museum of Contemporary
Art. i believe this recording was taken inside the camera obscura
room as i noticed a hum in that room that i believe is the source
of the tonal background of this recording. however, the prevelance
of echoing feet and larger room reverb suggests to me it was recorded
within the galleries (i had made recordings in both places). however,
the hum here was not present at all in the galleries so i am going
to say the larger spatial ambiance and footsteps were simply picked
up outside the door by my recorder. my son was also giggling at
his own shadow in the camera obscura, which is present in this recording
Pound Ridge. 12:45pm
what strikes me about this sound is that the recording
actually doesn't really sound like what it is.... so, i'll just
leave it at that. suffice to say, it was VERY cold today. i love
this recording as a bed of calming sound. my son's voice can be
heard in the background (he was upstairs at the time) in the beginning.
Pound Ridge. 11:02pm
the baseboard heaters warming up in my studio again. this
time accompanied by a help loop from an out-of-tune D-chord on a
guitar thru an Eventide H3000. i thought the 2 went well together.
Pound Ridge. 10:49pm
turning on, fast-forwarding, and stopping reel-to-reel
tape machine. 12 seconds.
Pound Ridge. 2:32pm
a small (very very small) stream of water that is constantly
running in the bushes down from the hill behind our house. the neighbor’s
rooster in the background, and a bird (crow?) call right before
i picked up the recorder. this is the sound of a typical afternoon.
New York City. 9:33 pm
Grand Central Station. one of my favorite sounds in the
world. the din of many people in this great hall. the station was
much quieter at this time, quite lovely. i feel, however, that my
recorder failed to capture a lot of the space. might be time to
look at new ones, something of nicer quality.
Pound Ridge. 10:12 pm
cold and crisp night with a bright moon. one of our tall
japanese grasses, which is still beautiful in the winter, was looking
very photographic. this is the sound of the blades of grass against
the microphone. about 200 feet away, ice was falling off a neighbor’s
roof. i’m not sure if the recorder captured it. maybe.
Brooklyn, around 1am
leaving the Great Lake Swimmers concert. walking up 7th
street towards the car.
Brooklyn, around 8pm
walking to the Great Lake Swimmers concert on 7th street. the sound
of a light humming.
Pound Ridge, NY, 6:20
electric water boiler. boiling water for tea.
Pound Ridge, NY, 10:40am
ice storm that started last night. every blade of grass,
every tree branch down to the smallest is cocooned in ice. placed
the recorder inside of the mailbox. freezing rain and melting ice
Pound Ridge, NY, 10:33am
it’s cold today. the baseboard heat in my studio
Pound Ridge, NY 3:40pm
snow melting, dripping beneath deck
New York City, JFK airport around 5pm
on board air train from terminal to parking lot.
Kauai’i, Hawaii around 7pm
on board the flight from Kaua’i to Honolulu. over
the general din of the airplane cabin various family members of
mine can be heard talking. most noticably my mother and son.
Kauai’i, Hawaii around 5pm
the wet saves near Ke’e. there was a woman swimming
out of the darkness, audible in the beginning and then talking to
her husband (?). roosters in the distance outside. water droplets
and the cave’s natural reverb.
Kauai’i, Hawaii 9:25pm
set the recorder on coarse sand. the ocean, wind and leaves overhead.
the percussive sounds at the end are large sand particles.