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.
New York, NY, around 9pm
JFK Airport, gate 4... waiting to board flight to Paris.
Pound Ridge, NY, 11:56am
microphones hanging in a budding forsythia bush, recording leaves
Pound Ridge, NY, 8:20pm
i had recorded earlier today in a parking garage... but around
8pm a thunder and lightning storm rolled in... and by around 8:15
heavy hail was falling, beating heavily on the house. i grabbed
my recorded and ran outside and caught the tail end of the hailstorm.
Pound Ridge, NY, 11pm
a dirty recording of delay feedback from an Access Virus TI synth.
Pound Ridge, NY, 7pm
one of my favorite days of the year is the first day the tree
frogs come out and start chirping. across the street from the
house is a huge nature preserve and this is where they start.
recording them in the distant trees. one of my favorite sounds.
Pound Ridge, NY, 6:20pm
rain hitting a small metal watering can.
Pound Ridge, NY, 3:34pm
walking up my driveway. i liked the popping sounds of the microphones
(on wires) bouncing around. reminds me of vinyl record noise.
Pound Ridge, NY, 11:22pm
scratching the strings of an acoustic guitar and sending it through
a reverb bank on an Eventide H3000. recorded with microphone sitting
on desk below speakers.
Pound Ridge, NY, some time in the afternoon
a really rough tape loop made on my Fostex reel-to-reel tape recorder.
the source was of some ambient guitar tones, but after repeated
handlings, and general experimentation with how to make tape loops
on this machine, the final product bears little resemblance to
the input sound.
Pound Ridge, NY, ???
another close-up recording with clipped-on binaurals.. but i have
totally forgotten what it is... but i find it's closeness-of-sound
to be fascinating.. textural.
Pound Ridge, NY, around 2pm
outdoors, i believe just on the driveway... recording birds.
Pound Ridge, NY, around 9pm
binaural microphones inside a half-empty margarita. <a href="http://12kblog.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/how-a-sound-geek-enjoys-a-margarita/">(see
post for pictures)</a>
Pound Ridge, NY, 5pm
my son playing in a gym.
Pound Ridge, NY, afternoon
the runout groove on the latest (and correct) test pressing of
the "Weather & Worn" 7"
Pound Ridge, NY, 10:52pm
one of the bells from yesterday resting on a guitar string which
is being vibrated by an E-Bow.
Pound Ridge, NY, around 9pm
just playing around with two ball/bells from Japan. one i bought
in Kyoto, another given to me by a friend.
Pound Ridge, NY, 3:33pm
a far-too-simple test of my new handheld recorder. walking outside,
picking up some cans that a raccoon had a go with last night and
stopping to feel the breeze.
Peekskill, NY, around 5pm
a stop-off on the side of the Hudson River across from the Indian
Point Nuclear Power Plant. water lapping on the small rocks...
likely the last recording this digital recorder will ever make.
Pound Ridge, NY, 10:51pm
finally getting my flakey Waldorf Microwave synth to work. a problem
with the fuse. here, a held note... just happy to have it back.
sound near the end is one of my cats sniffing the recorder.
Bedford Hills, NY, around 11am
walking Leatherman's Circuit on a geocaching trip. leaves crunching
and distant traffic.
Pound Ridge, NY, 10am
outside on a beautiful day.
asleep. no sound.
Brewster, NY, around noo
inside Home Depot shopping for door parts. pushing shopping cart
with recorder, and then putting recorder into a bucket that's
in the shopping cart.
Pound Ridge, NY, 8:55pm
a waldorf microwave synthesizer through the eventide H3000, holding
a delay loop.
no sound. i fell asleep.
Brooklyn, NY, 5:10pm
a sound all-too-familiar for NYC'ers... in a car service from
Park Slope to Pier 92 in manhattan for Sawako's limo concert.
this is the sound of the CB/relay system that the drivers use
to communicate with their home base. i assume they know what it
Brooklyn, NY, around 6pm(?)
the beloved pinball machine, called The Cyclone, @ kenneth + wendy's
house. a true classic with amazing game play and sounds.
Pound Ridge, NY, sometime before 10pm
one of my favorite sounds... running a finger around a wine glass.
amazing that it makes such a sound.. and the way it fills a room..
not at all captured in this recording. what we've got here is
pretty much a sine wave somewhere between 500 and 600hz. my finger
was moving very slowly around the rim of the wine glass. it was
mostly empty... a sip of chardonnay left.
Pound Ridge, NY, 11pm
OK, back on track here. this is a locked groove that i had cut
when i was re-cutting the "weather & worn" 7"
today. i had Dietrich, my friend doing the lacquer cuts, test
out a lock groove. this lock groove exists only on a single test
lacquer that i have and will not be on the final record.
somewhere in Connecticut, ?
day two of nothing's noise.
Pound Ridge, NY (?), ?
well, march did not start off right for this project. the first
2 days i made recordings and didn't realize the record level was
all the way down on my recorder so.. i recorded nothing. strangely
enough.. "nothing" on this recorder has quite a noise
floor.. so i amplified it and we have some lovely noise.