© 2014 ellathompson


Listen to the audio you recorded in Tute #1.  Here. Write a paragraph or two about your recording from a technical and/or “poetic” perspective.  


What these sounds evoke for you.  What associations they have. 

Do any of your recordings suggest images?  What might they be?  

Do any of your recordings suggest the possibility of other recordings?

Our recording definitely started off rustily. We rushed into it, not taking time to consider where best to position ourselves. I’d be adjusting the gain during recording. So, the sound would get noticeably louder or quieter throughout. Or I’d start recording too early, and there would be about 20 seconds of nothing before something started happening. Or I’d miss the good part. And just record lots of dead space. So, I’m not sure about the quality of our recordings.

We recorded a few things. A truck lifter thing closing (I started recording way too early). Coffee being made using machines at a shop in the RMIT cafeteria. Someone on an elliptical trainer in the RMIT gym. A fan in the RMIT gym. A hair-dryer in a hairdresser place. Hair being dressed – paintbrushes and foil and other tools used. A walk button beeping.

For me, the truck lifter recording evokes memories of moving house (standing on the lifter thing and pressing the button to make it go up or down). It’s a low, slow, machine-like buzz sound. Strangely quiet for its task. Almost like a household appliance buzz. But it’s the background sounds – truck engine, workers communicating – that suggest that this is an outdoor sound and vehicle/machine related. I don’t really know why but, for me, this sound suggests images of the colour orange. Maybe because traffic cones are orange. And it’s also a construction-related sound.

Weirdly, the coffee machine sounds similar to the truck. Except there is a different background environment. Indoor chatter. Constant low buzz of the coffee machine. Loud whirring of the coffee machine pouring out liquids. Distinct clinks of things coming from the actions of one worker. Honestly, this sounds like exactly what it is. Someone working in a café. Those would be the images that I’d associate with the recording.

The recording of someone using the elliptical trainer in the RMIT gym was not very successful. The background music is more audible than the elliptical machine. I tried to subtly adjust the gain during recording, but obviously it wasn’t enough. We do hear the sounds of the elliptical trainer being used though. A curious rhythmic whirring sound. I don’t know what people would make of this sound if they listened to the recording. Perhaps they’d just assume it to be some sort of machine. Or even part of the song playing in the background (the exerciser is working out to the song’s beat). 

The fan recording isn’t easily recognisable. It just sounds like white noise. I suppose it suggests abstract images of chaos and repetition and circular things.

The hair-dryer also sounds like white noise. But louder. Then again, it also sounds like it could be some suction thing. The hair-dryer is definitely more recognisable when it moves position though (the hairdresser held the hair-dryer in the one spot for a long time). It changes pitch when it moves position.

I guess, from a more poetic perspective, my favourite recording is the one of hairdressers using foil and paintbrushes and other tools to dress someone’s hair. It’s very quiet. Probably too quiet (I was trying to subtly adjust the gain during). But it’s also this quietness that draws you in. It’s an intimate sound – it sounds like it’s happening very close to the listener. The other thing about this recording that I like is the lack of fixedness. Lots of other things we recorded have a steady rhythm, a steady volume, a steady pitch, etc. They largely concentrate on the repetition of one fixed sound. But this recording is of a task that requires multiple sounds – picking up new tools, putting down used tools, using the paintbrushes to paint some sort of solution on the hair, and so on. There is no fixed rhythm. No fixed volume. No fixed pitch. The quiet intermittent brushing is occasionally interrupted by loud, high-pitched clinks of things being returned to the tool table. Things are constantly changing. There is subtle movement. You can’t help but listen intently for more.

I also liked the walk button beep recording. For the opposite reason. It was simply the repetitive beeping that was hypnotic. And because it’s a recognisable sound, you anticipate when the beeping will change from the ‘wait’ beep to the ‘walk’ beep. A pedestrian pressed the button while we were recording, so we caught some authentic button-pressing, ooh-la-la. I also like this recording just because it is a clear, strong sound. I guess this walk button beep sound suggests other sounds of a mass of footsteps on concrete, cars passing, trams passing, wind, a phone ringing, a few coughs, etc.




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