In attendance: Tony, Rene, Lizzie, Bond, Ann
At Bond's suggestion, we began by sharing extreme weather stories related to the high winds we've had lately.
Rene: As an insurance appraiser, he's dealt with three cars hit by falling trees.
Bond: On his way to visit him, his mother had to take a five-hour detour into DC because a bridge closed in MD due to tractor trailers blown over by the wind.
Tony: He got last Friday off work!
Ann: On his way to visit her from Boston, Ann's brother's flight had to make two attempts to land due to the high winds. Luckily, he was not on the "barf flight" that landed at Dulles.
Lizzie: Not directly related, but last week contractors discovered a buried well in her backyard. We don't know how deep it is, or when it was built, but it's creepy as hell and anything could crawl out of it:
Sounds we shared:
Rene shared some SoundScene footage from last year, which he intends to make into promotional material for this year's event. We heard Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Rain" performed on a violin made from a baseball bat, and suggested structuring the piece around the violin music itself -- letting commentators lead us into the scene through description before telling us what we're hearing and end with the stellar line "if you haven't been here, shame on you."
Bond shared a song from Dessa's new album, Chime, called "Fire Drills" and it rocked. "You can't be too broke to break." Check it out!
Tony, who will be giving a workshop at the NSS (Natural Sound Society) on birdsong recording, shared a binaural recording he made from a canoe. Above him a colony of frigate birds nested together in mangrove bushes, and we could hear the young birds calling to their parents for food.
We also talked about binaural recordings for VR, and the microphones now being made in the shape of a human head, including some with pig skin for the "skin" and human-shaped ears (which have a significant effect on the recordings). We wondered if they could make a microphone with cat-shaped ears and head that would allow us to hear what cats hear...?
Ann shared a compilation of short but fully immersive recordings from her trip to China, which included street sounds, singing, and the bells the men ring to advertise ear cleanings. YES, EAR CLEANINGS. They use a "tiny bamboo scoop," a series of brushes, and a long fine wire which they insert into your ear and then touch to a tuning fork to let your whole head ring with an otherworldly vibration.
We wondered whether some of these street sounds (geo-linked recordings) could make a good contribution to this year's Sound Scene, "Mapping Memory." Tony added that we now know our ears are so finely tuned to our surroundings, however unconsciously, that even as adults we could identify our childhood bedroom from a bunch of recordings of empty rooms.
Rene shared audio from a podcast called "Tweet of the Day," featuring a different bird call and short accompanying explanation each day.
The conversation turned to the darker themes (virtual kidnapping and forest fires) so Bond pulled us back to the light with a song ("Everybody's Coming to My House") from David Byrne's new album, American Utopia.
We all ate copious amounts of peanut m&ms. A good time was had by all!
Looking forward to next month!