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.
Katonah, NY, around 5pm
at the Beaver Dam Sanctuary in Katonah. large grassy field.
Pound Ridge, NY, 10pm
an ebow resting on the G-string of my acoustic guitar.
Wilton, CT, early afternoon
geocaching in the Marble Van Haelewyn - Richards Preserve in wilton,
connecticut during a light rain shower. the forest sounded (and
smelled) pretty amazing. at the end, the raindrops were hitting
the microphone, i think.
Pound Ridge, NY, 11:14am
an intentionally dirty recording of a looper pedal (eventide time
factor) looping a synth and sounding pretty bad.
Pound Ridge, NY, 10:56pm
some sort of large insect caught between a glass window and a
Tarrytown, NY, mid-afternoon
inside a stone silo at Stone Barns. it had just started raining
outside and the beginning of this recording happened to catch
the very first thunderclap outside. distant voices, footsteps,
and metal coat hangers provide sounds in the natural reverb of
Croton on Hudson, NY, around 4pm
a renaissance band playing at a festival. my distance to them
combined with the crunching of gravel underfoot makes it sound
like an old radio transmission.
Pound Ridge, NY, early afternoon
birds on a loop.
South Salem, NY, late morning
a beautiful, small stream in the woods. shallow water, breaks
in the tree canopy. binaural microphones placed in two different
areas of the stream for different Left/Right water sound.
Pound Ridge, NY, 1:15pm
manipulating the copper hinges on a wind chime.
NY, NY, around 11pm
another recording in Grand Central Station on the way home from
an Iron & Wine in-store performance at Other Music. i never
get tired of the ambiance in this space.
Pound Ridge, NY, 5:13pm
getting into the car to pick my son up from his after-school program…
Pound Ridge, NY, approx. 5:34pm
outside of the grocery store… just capturing quiet ambience…
and then a grocery cart.
New York, NY, approx. 3:30pm
walking down 42nd street, Times Square. rhythm is a woman asking
for change… shaking her cup.
Bedford, NY, around 8pm
the bedford town carnival… i made a few recordings of various
game, ride, and children.. but this one, as short as it was, was
Pound Ridge, NY, around noon
scraping an old propane tank. i particularly like the sounds at
the very end. they get very physical, in a subtle way.
Pound Ridge, NY, 10:20am
a held chord from a Hartmann Neuron synthesizer during a morning
of programming sounds.
Pound Ridge, NY, 10:50pm
the recorder and binaural mics closed into the refrigerator.
San Francisco, CA, 9:52am
Powell St BART station waiting for SFO train to airport. the recording
after the announcement at the beginning is incredibly spooky.
i love it.
San Francisco, CA, around 3:00pm
a lesson learned not to carry a mobile phone in the same pocket
as the digital recorder. phone interference ruined what would
have been a nice recording at a playground... hoping the children
would have gone back to the mallet instrument though.
San Francisco, CA, sometime between 11pm and midnight
in Sound Arts studio with Christopher Willits. a night of improvising
to hard disc to get fodder for our forthcoming collaboration.
i was using a Nord Lead 3 and the nice sinewave pad i had created
somewhere over Nevada, around 5pm, local
on board Delta Airlines to San Francisco. meaningless passenger
chatter and engine ambience.
Pound Ridge, NY, 8:15pm
i can't pass up a sound like this... standing in a forest at night
during a light rain shower with treefrogs in the distance. doesn't
get much (sonically) better than this...
New York, NY, 5:30pm
a busker-quartet warming up to play the passers-by some music
@ Union Square. i thought the warm-up sounds were fantastic.
New York, NY, 5:55pm
another pass through Grand Central Station. from the main hall
into track 23.
Pound Ridge, NY, 7:52pm
trying to make a really low-quality recording of processed electric
Pound Ridge, NY, 1:49pm
close up recording of some grasses.
Pound Ridge, NY, 8:44am
a warm, foggy, and rainy morning. underneath an umbrella... keeping