The latest Real World Sounds sound pack is special. On his travels, Neil Spencer Bruce has recorded endless hours of environments in interesting places all over the world. This is his first sound pack for Real World Sounds, and there are plans for more.
Neil is a guitarist, composer, sound designer, producer, engineer, educator, and founder of Spencer Bruce Music. Over to Neil...
How did you find yourself in these amazing locations around the world?
Travelling is part of who I am, and I have been very (very!) fortunate to travel to some amazing places around the world. Once bitten by the bug I continue to have itchy feet to get back out there and experience the amazing planet that we inhabit. A big part of that is also not just wanting to take in the visual beauty but also the aural world that surrounds us. I feel that photos tell half the story and captured soundscapes can transport you straight back to a time and place, and fully immerse you in the experience.
A large part of the recordings were made whilst travelling around trying to pinpoint unique soundscapes. For example, although not a million miles away, Berwick Street Market is one of the last remaining street markets in London (and the UK), but it has a unique soundscape which could be lost to future generations. I feel like the role I am playing is as an ethnographic sound gatherer, storing these memories for future generations.
What was your strategy for recording
Keep it simple. Recording in these locations can be tricky (especially now in the UK where there is a sense of recording device paranoia), and also - as in photography - there is the need to move quickly at times and be up and recording very quickly. I have a tendency to allow the tape (showing my age) to roll for long periods of time, ensuring I capture not only what I need, but also any variation in the soundscape. I find that it takes at least five minutes for the soundscape to start to settle down into its rhythm. It also enables me to have much more material to choose from at a later stage.
The hard part can be being still for long periods of time! Ideally I try to record either binaurally, or in stereo, again to give me options at a later stage. If I am recording sound marks then I will switch to a mono microphone.
Were you able to record fairly quickly? Did you have any roadblocks or delays?
Using the system that I have means I can be up and running very quickly, particularly using the Soundman OkM binaural headphones. I can pretty much leave them in all the time and hit record when I need to. I was fortunate enough to be working on a large soundscape project, which gave me access to a wide range of portable recorders, so I was able to put them through their paces. I found that the smaller devices with an external Sound Devices MixPre produced the best results, was incredibly compact and could be up and running in seconds.
Now, with the advent of USB bus power, the issues of having lots of batteries is a fading memory and has made longer period recording much much easier.
World Spaces (Volume 1) will be available this coming Friday (26th April), exclusively via this website. It will be royalty free, which means you can use the content for your personal or commercial projects with no further charge.
It's around this time of year that it's natural to reflect on the months gone by, and especially if you run a small business. My year has been, well, unexpected. I started out by doing a couple of voice over jobs, launched Real World Sounds and recorded eight broadcast-ready sound packs, proceeded to make six music library albums, launched an audio brand for kids, did some more voice over and soundtrack work, created a sound environment with foley and voice over for a Ted Talk art installation and more.
It has been very fulfilling. For many creative people it helps to concentrate on one area and develop their skills and networks. For me the wide variety of work this year has been so rewarding, that I know it's the way forward. It's so easy to put yourself into a category: composer, painter, sculptor etc. If 2018 has taught me one thing it's this: it's not for you to put yourself into a category, others will do that for you. My voice over clients don't care that I'm a composer. It doesn't matter to my composing clients what else I can do. I'm known to them for that thing.
My new year's resolution is to keep developing creatively. There are things I have planned that will feed into this, and for everything else my mind is wide open.
Have a very happy New Year and a creative 2019.
Well, a curse and a blessing really. I realised the other day that my mood is directly tied to the amount of creativity I'm consuming. I previously thought it was tied to stress levels, general contentment etc. It wasn't until I was flicking through Twitter (oh, the irony) and seeing new things being released or created that I noticed my mood physically changing.
I saw some new animation transitions for the next Android OS (see, the curse of the creative brain). I saw the band Lo Moon tweeting and made me think of their debut album I discovered this week. I saw Paddington 2 has been released, really looking forward to seeing that. The Last Jedi deleted scenes? I'll put the kettle on! Oh, and the look and feel of that Blue Zoo animated short 'Via'...it all came out of the brain of concept artist Izzy Burton. How cool is that?
I then saw that Will Belcher of Aardman is nominated for an animation award for Shaun the Sheep. I saw that composer and sound designer Matt Bowdler invited female composers to make an album using his soundsets and sample libraries to celebrate International Women's Day and raise money for Women's Aid.
On top of that I'm busy creating. Two library albums are at the mixing stage and I'm gearing up to release my first Real World Sounds sound pack next week.
So if you need to add a spring to your step today, look around at all the new things being created. You won't have to look very far.
I have wanted to set up a way of recording and sharing real world sounds for such a long time now, and when I recently discovered Patreon it seemed to be the perfect fit.
If you don't know Patreon, here's a video explaining how it works. What a great idea!
With my trusty Tascam DR-22WL audio recorder, I will make one royalty-free, high-resolution sound pack per month, mastered to broadcast quality. In each sound pack there will be ten tracks, some of which will have multiple versions (for instance, ambience will be one track, glasses clinking maybe five or ten versions over one track).
Whether you are a sound editor or producer looking for real world sounds to add to your production, an educator looking for resources for your students, or an amateur looking for high quality, high-res audio for your home video or audio projects, I hope you will appreciate the real world sounds you hear coming from my Patreon page.
I'll release the first sound pack on March 15th. If you watch out on Facebook or Twitter I'll be sharing more details leading up to the launch. In the meantime you can visit my Patreon page to learn more here:
Posts by Gareth Davies.