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, 9:00am
heavy, steady rain... waning.
Pound Ridge, NY, 10:10pm
me making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Pound Ridge, NY, 8:51pm
the dehumidifier outside the studio. had to turn it on tonight.
Pound Ridge, NY, 2:45pm
brushing through various flowering plants in the driveway.
Pound Ridge, NY, 1:00pm
one of mine and savvas' new songs being played in the car (i was
checking the bass), the recorder was outside the window.
Pound Ridge, NY, 4:00pm (ish)
pebbles rolling down slides made out of barrels, and pebbles hitting
Pound Ridge, NY, lunchtime
sounds from behind the house on a hot summer day.
Pound Ridge, NY, 4:00pm
more outdoor ambiance. i just love the gentle, tactile sounds.
Pound Ridge, NY, 1:30pm
a clicking noise outside that i thought would make a nice incidental
sound in a song.
Pound Ridge, NY, 2:10pm
a juno-106 synthesizer pad playing over speakers at the other
end of the room.
Pound Ridge, NY, 4:20pm
inside the car. rain hitting the roof. a terra cotta windchime
my son just made at craft activity at the town library.
Pound Ridge, NY, 11:00pm
manipulating the contents of my office garbage can. plastics,
cd cases, shipping detritus.
Pound Ridge, NY, 2:10pm
a walk through the grass. wind hitting the limiter.
Great Falls, MD, early afternoon
cicadas on a nature walk through the Great Falls park. these sounded
more metallic than i'm used to. it could have been the surrounding
rocks altering the acoustics or maybe my proximity to the cicadas.
Gaithersburg, MD, 1:30pm
playing a loop on a children's playground woodblock instrument.
Pound Ridge, NY, around noon
a nice spacious recording outside the house. a variety of birds
Pound Ridge, NY, 10:40am
a guitar app on the iPhone that i use for learning chords. it
has a cheesy guitar player in it as well. these are the sounds.
maybe no so bad, if used right.
Pound Ridge, NY, after 11pm
just a late night, outdoors.
Pound Ridge, NY, 10:15pm
a sound i made on the nord modular G2 that was behaving in a very
strange way. not sure what the bumping/pulsing was coming from.
Pound Ridge, NY, 12:57pm
i heard harmonica coming from somewhere and found that it was
my son in his room with the door closed upstairs. i grabbed the
recorder and sat on the stairs. if he had known i was recording
he likely would have stopped.
Pound Ridge, NY, around 3:30pm
putting the recorder into the refrigerator and shutting the door.
always wondered what it sounds like in there with the door closed.
Pound Ridge, NY, around 1pm
today i received the horrible news that a dear fellow member of
the music world, Dani Banquet-Long, passed away unexpectedly at
the young age of 26. she was one of a musical duo called Celer
and i have listened to and enjoyed their music for a while. in
fact, i have been in constant contact with the other half of the
band, WIll Long, in the past couple of weeks as i just finished
the mastering of their new CD. This is just horrible, sad news.
you can read a message from will here. http://artificialcolors.blogspot.com/
today's sound is a simple one minute of silence in memory of a
girl who had so much more to contribute.
Pound Ridge, NY, around 9pm
so happy to catch this sound last night. i brought my old, falling
apart sound recorder with me in the car on a drive last night.
this is actually one of the fondest sound-memories i have as a
child. it is the sound of a baseball game being aired on AM radio
in a car.
when i was very little my parents would load my sister and i into
the back of the car for car trips to, what seemed like, far away
places. i would be lying down in the back seat, half asleep, and
with no idea of where we were going. my father would be listeneing
to a baseball game on the AM radio (probably the Cincinnati Reds)
and that particular sound would become a sonic blanket to me.
there was something incredibly comforting about this scratchy
voice mixed with the hum and bounce of a car going down the road
in the heat of the summer. my memories of this always seem to
conjur up thoughts of the evening hours. dusky summer, setting
sun, fading heat... in mid-western America.
still to this day when i hear baseball games on AM radio i am
instantly transported to the back of my parents car, curled up
in back, on an unknown journey, yet feeling safe.
i spent July 2-5 camping in the Catskills Mountains in upstate
New York. In a tent, on a lake... the sounds were amazing. deep
frogs at night, birds i've nevre heard before, wind, waterfalls,
heavy rain, fire. unfortunately the first night i arrived and
turned on the sound recorder i found it failed to turn on. nor
did it work the remaining four days. i suppose the cold weather
zapped the battery. however, when i arrived home i found that
the battery now no longer holds a charge at all, and i's only
a few short months old. i recorded no sounds during the days troubleshooting
technoloy failed me last weekend, but my ears did not.
Pound Ridge, NY, evening
sounds of cooking. i've now forgotten what.