Holidays. A desert beach. My friend Sol Goszczynski films with her phone 360º around her and says something like: “one of these days I’ll record the sound of the sea, so I can take it back home with me”. I reply: “I brought my digital recorder… it has good microphones… if you want, next time I can record a bit of sea for you”.
Some days later I was approaching the shore, recorder in hand, when my friend Lu Jurkowski asked me, with XXI century common sense: “but why don’t you download it from the internet? Surely there must be lots of recordings of people that did this before?” My automatic reply, without really processing the question, was: “it’s not the same”.
Half an hour later, I had my recordings.
However, Lu’s words left me thinking.
It’s true that the sound of sea waves on a beach is a pretty ubiquitous sample (and pretty cliché, by the way). In fact, there must be a lot of people that made these recordings with much better equipment and in a much more professional way. And it must be quite easy to find a good recording of the sea in the internet (I didn’t make the search, to be honest).
But even so, I still think it is not the same. The moment is relevant.
A field recording is the capture of a specific moment, a specific sound. It is THAT sound, and no other. It was THAT beach, not the sound of a beach randomly chosen amongst many others floating in the internet.
When I took the samples, my only intention was to “give” Sol some 10 minutes of THAT beach. My only contribution would be the way in which the recording had been made. Nothing more.
To any person alien to the circumstances in which this recording was made, these sounds will not be much different than any other recording of any other beach. To other people, this beach is unidentifiable.
However, when I heard the recordings after those holidays, my head went immediately back to that place, back to THAT beach. I had the hope that the same happened to Sol.
But after a first quick listen, I strongly felt that I had to do something with those recordings, which by themselves were not as interesting as the original sounds (they never could have been, really).
So I cleaned the recordings up a little bit, built some sounds in the Nord Lead 2x, hit “REC” and started playing, eyes closed, with the feeling that I was playing in THAT beach, with my feet on the water.
It was pure instinct. A force, a motivation that appeared from who-knows-where or how. That thing that one might call “inspiration”.
And thus it was that, instead of that beach, I gave Sol the recording “intervened” by me with my synthesizer.
This track was an improvisation recorded in one take, using sounds created with the Nord Lead 2x and recorded using the phrase sampler Boomerang III.