Time at Home Farm is running out – my parents move from there by the middle of next year. It has been the family homestead for twenty years and, therefore, has twenty years worth of memory attached to it. I associate the building less with the memories – it is all about the setting that I associate with Good Times.
I have recollections of healing and wholesomeness whilst sat in the dappled, sun-splashed woodland flanking the farm. But the house is associated with hideous nightmares that plague me to this day. I had a bad run of health in that house – but I recuperated in the woodland around it.
I am trying to get as many recordings of the place as possible before my folks vacate the premises.
Today was such a day.
The first recording was taken in the Miscanthus Field near the cricket ground at Home Farm. There was a breeze blowing and the distant rumble of the A1 – far from easy recording conditions – I have had to leave the A1 Motorway in the recording, it is an omnipresent drone. However, I am chuffed with how this has worked out.
Miscanthus Field In The Breeze
For the above recording, I just stood there listening to the soundscape as I recorded it, trying not to get blown over or to make my Vapouriser audible. It summed up the act of listening more than recording and I am glad I did it the way I did. To witness the soundscape pan out and then have a copy of it was quite a good experience, just a bit cold.
The next recording was almost straight afterwards. I walked home to Home Farm in the twilight and hear an owl in the woodland surrounding the farm, Dark Walk Woods. I set up my microphone which I received from Allan Smyth Audio Visual and placed it on a Nano-Stand near a stone wall.
This was the second type of Field Recording technique that I used today. I just left the MixPre6 rolling and went about warming up in the Farmhouse. I did get a lot more footage, but I was not involved – I was detached from the process. I was not present in the recording. Here it is –
Home Farm Yard (Dusk)
This allowed me to warm up and keep toasty whilst my device was whirling away in the background, out in the yard – I admit, it was a lazy thing to do after the revelation I had in the miscanthus field. But, the temperature was dipping and I am unsure if the recorded owl would have made an appearance had I been seen stood in the yard, looking at Dark Walk Woods.
The third type of field recording I made at Home Farm today was the most experimental to date. I gaffa taped two contact microphones to a window made of single panes of glass. The idea was that if there was a vibration in the window then I would pick it up as an audio frequency on the MixPre 6 Recording Device.
The Contact Mics were made by Limpet and were my Xmas gift from Mrs Backhouse – I was allowed to open them early and set to gathering the required recordings from Home Farm. Well, what did I pick up – a whole heap of cracks and pops? I have not got the capacity to decipher the relationship between what was occurring in the house and what came up on the audio.
I have not trimmed the audio. This means that the opening two minutes of this recording below is me pegging it out of the door of the room and down the stairs. The rest of the crackling is people moving around the storey below, on the ground floor.
I just left the recording going – even though, see above.
I did not want to be in this recording.
I wanted to leave it running and just see what the result will be.
View From The Window
I learned a lot from today – the methods involved with Field Recording and different techniques used to make them. I will continue to hone my craft and I hope that the experience in the field today has made me a better listener. Not so much “Oh, I’m a good listener – tell me all your problems before I off-load on you” but an active listener. A listener who never runs out of things to hear – be it the rustling of the breeze through leaves or a gas boiler switching on first thing in the morning on a frosty day – an active listener. This is what I take away from my time spent at Home Farm.