Whenever I travel overseas, I’ve always taken a little minidisc recorder with me and recorded all sorts of sounds from the places I have visited. I love doing this. Sometimes the process is like creating a kind of sonic postcard, and other times it feels like I am a weird scientist taking sound samples from an alien atmosphere (Fortunately, no scary creatures have popped out of my chest in the process of collecting these sounds).
Earlier this year I went on a little adventure to Italy, Spain and Israel with my partner in crime, Tali Gal-on. This time I didn’t take a minidisc recorder, I took one of those iPad thingos and used an app called iMaschine. The app only allows you to record very short sounds, so while it may be limiting, it also makes you work in a different way and think differently about the sounds around you.
Some of the sounds I recorded have possibly existed in these locations for hundreds or even thousands of years. That blows my geeky little mind! So the next question is………. can I make music out of all this?
Here are some of my favourite the sounds that I recorded:
-Water dripping from stalactites in an ancient cave under Jerusalem. (This description sounds like a exercise from an interpretive dance class)
– A big bearded Latvian Orthodox choir
– A bloke sharpening knives with a lawnmower powered grinder on the back of his motorbike in Granada (A very NIN sound indeed, and every time I hear it, I considering painting my fingernails black).
Already some of these field recordings are working their way into the tunes for the next album and they are really helping to keep the creative process really fresh, challenging and pretty enjoyable.
Here is a picture of a geeky little spacecadet sampling the sonic atmosphere on a rooftop in Jerusalem. I hope to get some of these tracks into your ears soon!
One of the best places to capture sounds, on a rooftop in the Arab Quarter in Jerusalem. Check out the old speaker busting out a distorted call to prayer. It sounded rad.