I have made my journey to the Hellnar Area, a land filled of geothermal activities!
The Icelandics have made a proud of controlling this great renewable source of energy! 85% of all eclectricity in Iceland is provided by renewables!
I went to the geothermal plant to explore the sound of these steams and pipes.
Then I sought for mud pots and hot springs! I really like the natural crepitation and bubbling sounds coming from our earth. It is so exciting!
I eventually found out that it even exists a geothermal cuisine!
This was my last stop in Iceland! I still want to record more, as this island hasn’t revealed all its power!
I am really impressed by how the Natural Forces (Wind, Earth, Fire, Water,..) are inherent of the landscapes and shaped the way human cultures developed!
*in the video, it is the mic from the camera.
Recording with the Sennheiser MKH8090 handheld over the rocks. Quite a nice place at Ytri Tunga, where seals are used to come, but today there was none. Beautiful spot anyway!
On the trail to Snaefellsjoküll, I passed through a place called “Songhellir” or “Singing Cave” in English.
I walked up from the road intersection since there was no way to continue by car because of the ice and snow (winter time!)
I arrived in front of the entrance of the cave but unfortunately it was obstructed by a lot of snow.
Anyway, I was able to climb up the snow and the icy rocks.
Hopefully I had train climbing last year, so I had some assurance doing it!
A the top of my climbing I could enter some cavities where the wind was funneled and this made really cool swooshing sounds.
So, even if I couldn’t get into the cave, I had some nice recordings of wind!
I have been exploring some place in the peninsula.
I have to say some places are breathtaking.
I have been riding through the Snaefellsjoekull National Park up to Hellnar and Arnarstapi.
It is pretty much lava fields all the way through which makes it looks more alien than any place I’ve seen.
The absence of trees or even bushes is stunning! The soil is a raw mixture of sand, rocks, moss and grass.
The fauna is therefore sparse, which is great to get some silence.
However these winter days are quite cold and windy!
This puts to the land an odd dimension of inhospitality while still attractive by its features.
Although I could capture some birds ambiences, and of course wind again!
From Anarstapi to Hellnar, the cliffs are majestic, they cut straight into the ocean, with colonies of thousands birds living right on the cliffs!
Just after Hellisandur, I found this high antenna that sparked my curiosity, unfortunately it did not emit any sound.
I began to climb on the trail that leads to Snaefellsjoküll glacier!!
The mountain is one of the most famous sites of Iceland, primarily due to the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) by Jules Verne, in which the protagonists find the entrance to a passage leading to the center of the earth on Snæfellsjökull.
I have always been attracted by abandoned house and places,
It is still mysterious to know that people used to lived there or some activities took place at this particular location.
The remains of another time, makes us travel in our imagination, and still sound can have some interesting particularities at those places.
In my trip to Iceland I stumble on 3 different shelters: 2 abandoned houses and 1 fish shed.
Since wind was an inherent part of the trip, the air passing by the remaining architecture and the holes made interesting recordings.
Today I have been driving a lot,
making my journey to the magnificent Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Again today was a gusty day.
The wind was so strong that I had to watch for my stuff as they would fly away and disappear with no notice. Few times, it happened that I almost blew the door of the car when I opened it.
Like Yesterday, I kept on recording wind as much as I could since everything everywhere was shaking.
I drove on the main road for a long time, but I was always looking to find the small tracks to get out of the main traffic.
I managed to find some and adventure myself onto those paths.
I setup the mics close to the ground so I could record the grass wavering in the wind. It was not easy to stay outside, wind and cold was unbearable.
I decided to go first at Stykkishólmur on the north coast of the peninsula as the weather forecast was announcing difficult rain in the south.
Arriving through the first lava field after the plains was thrilling. The green moss growing on lava rocks and contrasting with the icy mountain in the background is a candy for the eyes.
I found a nice little river with howling metal fence.
Arriving at Stykkishólmur, I was abble record some nice harbor ambiences but mostly wind-shaked stuff.
I also recorded the sound of these birds on the shore:
However in this video, it is the sound of the camera microphone. You can hear how windy it is!
I continued towards Rif, passing by Ólafsvík and Grundarfjörður with a nice cliff and finally a beautiful waterfall.
First destination on my itinerary – Iceland!
On this first day, I was tired of the overnight flight,
However I did sleep maybe 30 minutes in the plane, I was excited to discover the first stop on my new journey.
I walked around Reykjavik old city centre, recording ambiences of people passing by in the street of Laugavegur, and Austurstræti and around the pond of Tjörnin.
Interestingly at this pond there are really a lot of migratory birds such as geese, and many more.
then, I have been stealthily recording cafes ambiences.
I also had some construction work sound.
This is it! I finally made the big jump.
Today, I left the city and the 2 countries I’ve been living in for almost 8 years: Montreal in Canada and Montreal in Quebec.
But most of all, I began a grand new journey around the world. Indeed, my utter nomadic life begins here. I left almost everything, de-cluttered all my life, and selected the ultimate possessions to keep so they can fit in only one small backpack!
I am starting a new way of living which I believe will open doors to new opportunities.
It has been many years that I’ve been thinking of it, and it has been one month that I made the big decision and acted upon making it comes true.
I believe I will be able to travel and work at the same time.
The most exciting part is that I will record sounds from all over the world, and get immersed in varieties of cultures more easily than if I would have had to get back to an attached location.
I am now free to explore anything anywhere.
The world is full of wonders! Let’s discover them…
We visited this old prison in Ottawa which has been re-affected and now holds an hostel! The cold reverberated sound coming from the stone wall amplified the eerie atmosphere of this moment.
A definitely unique place with its own unique sounds!
Here it goes, I’ve finally been able to put my hands on DRY ICE! This literally burns on bare skin! Who knows?
So with gloves I spent all night up and messing around to try various interactions of the dry ice with objects and materials.
This has been pretty exciting!
Thanks to my friends Pablo and Charles for providing me with some dry ice. This was nicely inspiring.
Here is a sample from the recording session. Recorded with Sennheiser mkh-418 and Sanken Co-100k to get those high frequency in.
Following my recording sessions from New York, Chicago and Philadelphia; I wandered into the city of Toronto in ultra cold winter and snow, I focused mainly on interior public spaces.
It is such a mixed city, with many communities from all around the world.
Arriving in the city was not easy since there was a snow storm all along the road.
Using my SSS Technique (Stealth Surround System),
I finally got into shops, groceries, cafes, undergrounds, malls, subway, streetcars, recreation centers, hotels, …
It’s a long process, where I needed to find the right spot, with good open angles from the variety of sound sources, people, or other noises. Not too close or too far, with good stereo imaging, and a long enough time without disturbances, music, or unwanted noises.
On top of that, it’s always tricky to stay still for few minutes without getting noticed, so it is great to pretend doing something on this particular spot (for example, waiting for someone, or reading something on the phone, or looking at the map, or just being in awe for a supposed touristic landmark). In most cases, the action evolves and people move, so it needs a lot of adaptation on the spot.
It is so rare that the recording unfolds smoothly the way I wish it should. It is a good exercise for nerves, working on patience and tolerance.
And if it doesn’t work in one place maybe it would in another place….