Tag Archives: field recordings

Stuart Hyatt, The Great Midwestern Sound Architect

Stuart Hyatt

 

Stuart Hyatt’s career as a field recordist, producer, and presenter did not begin with records in mind, but rather as an outgrowth from a different career. “I didn’t expect architecture school to lead to a record deal,” Hyatt says, “but in hindsight that is precisely how my bumbling career [progressed].”

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Found Sounds from the Edge of Earth

Found Sounds

Sound Field recording in Iceland.  Photo by Finnbogi Petursson.

There are certain sounds that can’t be born in the confines of a studio or created after countless hours spent fiddling with expensive synthesizers. The meditative drone of a rainforest can’t be replicated by a Juno, and a drum machine will never echo the repetitive, crashing pulse of a waterfall. Field recording, the act of capturing often unexplored terrain with a microphone and a pair of headphones, is one way to archive these sounds. Continue reading

Alan Lomax’s Timeless American Recordings Find a New Audience

Alan Lomax

If you’ve heard of Alan Lomax, the man who spent his life traveling around the world and documenting as much of it as he possibly could, you’ve likely heard mention of the idea of “cultural equity.” That idea was the guiding principle behind much of Lomax’s work—his belief there should be a level playing field among all cultural expressions. To Lomax, no expression was more special, valuable, or truthful than any other. The songs, dances, interviews, and everything else that he committed to tape were all threads of the same fabric that makes us, us, and Lomax ardently believed that his recordings should be available to anyone who wished to access them.

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How The Arizona Desert Shaped Karima Walker’s Nomadic New Record

KarimaWalker_by_EugeneStarobinskiy_600

Learning about an artist’s place of origin provides context on their creative upbringing. For the impressionistic music of Karima Walker—her latest album, Hands In Our Names, is a potent combination of sound collage, tape loop, atmospheric noise and soul-bearing Americana—place is not just context, but a participating force. Field recordings stomped and mulched through effected cassette players reflect the red desert around her hometown of Tucson, Arizona.

Punctuating the ambient passages are moments of more traditional, yet no less emphatic songcraft, often featuring Walker’s golden yet melancholy mezzo-soprano looped ad infinitum. Lyrically, Hands In Our Names finds Walker taking in her surroundings. “Night points you as a compass,” she breathes on “Holy Blanket,” “Venus rises o’er the mountains.” Later, on “We’ve Been Here Before,” “there’s a place you’ve never seen/Where the trees at midnight ring/’Neath diamond skies and soda springs…”

Throughout April, Walker performed on a double-headliner tour with label-mate Advance Base (fka Casiotone for the Painfully Alone). We caught up with Walker as she finished her tour, and discussed her latest release, favorite places to write, how to balance the imaginative with the traditional, and more.

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