It is remarkable to not hear any sound, and this is what I experienced in the desert! The sand absorbs any reverberation and any sound is dampened.
It was not all quiet though! At times I could hear distant motorbikes. And in the morning really sparse birds around the few trees in here.
The most notable sound comes from “wind”! It creates this noise from the motion of grains of sands but also the palms if there any trees here.
What is the soundscape you have in mind whenever one speaks about Switzerland?
I think I got this one. Not easily though. but with few days of meandering in the inner country.
Visual landscapes are more easy to capture than their corresponding soundscapes!
Partly because too many noise pollution is going on.
One main reason is that Switzerland is in the middle of Europe airplane flight paths.
I have been testing out my config in the Switzerland country around Interlaken.
I put in place an ORTF Stereo with Sennheiser MKH8090, coupled with a stereo pair of DPA 4060 spaced omnis.
All connected to Sound Devices MixPre-6.
I found this configuration quite interesting to record immersive ambiences.
I have to say I have been meandering through the region during the latest weeks. There are some beautiful sceneries here in Canada.
Conversely the sound at Autumn is as special as the landscape is.
My main focus was to capture the leaves rustling in trees or on the ground.
It turned out to be quite a challenge, due to the vast amount of unwanted noises, cars, constructions, dogs, …, but also because of the wind itself:
too much wind resulted in too much pink noises coming from all trees around, too few wind is difficult to have enough sounds emanating from the rustle.
The kind of trees is also really important, some leafy branches were quite disappointing, meanwhile I got surprised by some other types of trees or leaves that would deliver incredibly subtle and rich sounds.
I have been searching zones on the map, the further as possible from the roads. I had to travel quite a bit to get away from the traffic, and even there it wasn’t easy to get satisfying soundscapes. I am still experimenting and for few days I am also performing rustling foliage inside the studio with some plants I have gathered on my way.
At that time I had already recorded a profusion of sounds throughout the city of Montreal. I was about to release a collection of ambiences from Montreal. As I re-listened the tracks I noticed how often I could hear fountains anywhere at any time. It wasn’t just a thing that was belonging to the decor, I felt as if it was such an essential part of a city and its inhabitants. Also it isn’t particularly related to Montreal itself.
Indeed Water is Life! It is a universal elements and through the sound of water many shades and stories can be drawn. Furthermore it is possible to find the existence of fountains throughout all time period and civilisations.
It is at that time that I decided to partition my city soundscape project into various parts. Thus having separate elements available would allow creators to shape their own story, their own city atmosphere.
I thus started to focus only on fountains for few weeks. Through my wander I found incredible variety of tones. At first I assumed water streams and jets are like washy white noises. In fact it is true from a distance but as soon as you get a little closer the caracteristics of the sound start to unravel. Depending on the number of jets, the force, the materials, the bassin… So many variables play a role in shaping this water sound. I found it astounishing, and therefore I tried my best to capture these detailed specificity in a comprehensive manner.
It is funny to think no one usually pay attention those sounds, still fountains can say much more than we think; thus they can play a big role in a scenario. They are powerfull as they can easily mask any other sounds at large flow. They also can emphasize emotions with subtle water drops ryhming with romantism.
Over the course of this library craft I felt empower of a mission, collecting useful and precious windows of time in the city.
Of course it wasn’t so easy to capture, as cities are always buzzing of myriad of sounds. Hence I did most of these recordings at nights so I could avoid as much as possible extranuous noise. From editing I make it esential to create loops for these sounds. And then make them last forever if needed.
Overall it took maybe 1 or 2 months to complete this collection from which some of the recording were made one year pior to the project.
Some of these recordings are included in the free water pack v1 available on articulated sounds here. (it is possible to use them even for commercial project)