When my Consumer Waste release, and my only field recording album, of the kind’ve field recordings that most people think of when you say field recordings that is, sold out, the label republished the release as a digital download with a new recording, of frogs and woodpeckers in Gregynog, along with a new text of mine relating to the release. You can find the text on the Consumer Waste website, or download it here: like falling out of trees into collector’s albums
This was written some time ago, I still feel many of the points I raised to be relevant, but at the same time, the nagging dichotomy, drawn up on either side, is feeling a little tiresome to me, dragging a point sore through the bushes and refusing to let go in order to disinfect your hands.
Some views on The Great Animal Orchestra
Over at the Set Ensemble Blog, an old realisation has been made available for free download. Recorded around the time when Simon Reynell was working tirelessly, collecting material for his Wandelweiser box, this realisation didn’t quite fit. So we’re very happy to make this available now. Performed by Patrick Farmer (double bass body), Bruno Guastalla (prepared cello), and Sarah Hughes (chorded zither). A discreet reconciliation between balance and flux was recorded by Simon Reynell at Oxford Brookes University.
“Mantis was carried over the tumult of the dark and turbulent waters by a bee. The bee, however, became wearier and colder as he searched for solid ground, and Mantis felt heavier and heavier. He flew slower and sank down towards the water. At last, while floating on the water, the bee saw a great white flower, half-open, awaiting the sun’s first rays. He laid Mantis in the heart of the flower and planted within him the seed of the first human being. Then the bee died. But as the sun rose and warmed the flower, Mantis awoke, and there, from the seed left by the bee, the first Bushman was born”
Positioned at different points, mostly one hive at a time, between four hives out of ten in this particular apiary. What we are hearing I think boils down to a few simple things, although if one wished, the list could go on for miles.
The physical material that the microphones “are in touch” with, in this case wood, and on track 05 a ceramic stopper.
The position on the build in relation to the activity inside the hive at any one time, which is densely interconnected to the atmosphere of the air. During this recording the air was charged with static, making the bees more aggressive than usual, the insects sensing the infrasonic shifts coupled together with the barometric pressure, causing them fly to the safety of their particular hive.
The proximity of the microphones in relation to actual physical contact between insect and transducer, this contact is usually the bees forewings, and perhaps the tarsus if they land on the microphone.
Whilst I do not deny there there are many factors indwelling to my own particular methodologies throughout these recordings, I feel that due to the minimal editing and interference**, these pieces in their multiplicity represent perhaps a truer ear within the soundworld of these wonderful insects (an appendage that is almost always overlooked within reference to behaviour and other factors studied) than one that is chopped, rearranged, stitched, and processed.
A more anthropic auditory document made by myself of honey bees has been released by the organised music from thessaloniki label.
**The placement of microphones in recording situations like this I have long felt to be more important than the processing and assemblage that inevitably ensues. I often spend much longer just sitting and thinking about where to attach them than I do anything else.
Perhaps these recordings fail in light of the thoughts presented here. If that is the case I would simply like to state that the thoughts and joy that these various recording processes have presented to me are enough to keep me smiling and listening , in awe of such phenomena and the myriad elements unknown to us, long may it stay that way.
01. Inside hive no 1 from top entrance (03:15)
02. Inside hive no 3 from top entrance (11:19)
03. Top ledge of hive no 3 above small entrance (12:17)
04. Inside small entrance of hive no 4 (09:36)
05. On ceramic stopper of hive no 1 (04:55)
06. Top entrances of hive nos 3 and 4 (15:52)
07. Top right of hive no 2 (02:55)
08. Wood stopper of hive no 4 (15:33)
After about three years of sending files back and forth, meeting in Oxford to play in bathrooms and showers, and recording excitable pigs, my new album with David Lacey, pictures of men, is available on the Copy for your records label. Please contact me or the label for a copy.