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.
Posts by Gareth Davies.