Monday, 19 July 2010

as i write this i am sitting on a balcony overlooking the paiva river in Nodar, Portugal....I am here to record, to capture moments along the river as part of a residency project....I never loose sight of the fact that i am extremely lucky to have these opportunities....

there have been many times in the last 30 or so years that i have had conversations & even heated discussions with other artists (field recordists / composers / musicians specifically) about subjects such as John Cage, Morton Feldman, Microphone placement, technical knowledge, 'learning' & I suppose I have, to some extent, been unable to fully express my personal view before bumping into defences (mine & those of others) is something that happens of course in all conversations on subjects where there are passions and paths of understanding forged over the years....

I realise that I come to the point I am at now in the contrary way that many others who work in the same very broad area (field recording, composition, improvisation) have....if Cage, Schaefer,
amm, feldman, electro-acoustic theory, precise technical knowledge can be seen as the big cities of this creative landscape, the place where many people head for at first - to find a footing, a clue, a sense of a foundation for exploration - then I am lucky in that I had no knowledge of these places for the first formative years of my interest & by the time I did I was too interested in other places, in the small villages, hills & valleys of this creative landscape. I arrived at those cities with all of that passion, all of that exploration in me....if I am to be critical then I would say that it is not at all important to know of Cage or Schaefer or indeed of how to place a microphone - it is not important to know the difference between this model of microphone or that - it is not needed to do things that way when one first ventures out into this world....for me what I love about exploring the creative landscape & the world is to be an innocent in part at all be amazed & to hear a sound (created or natural) & to feel a sense of joy or desire to go further into it - or indeed to experience it & then move elsewhere, returning perhaps at another time....

so, my advice to anyone at an early age, an early point in their own creative journey is this; you might be told of these big cities & you might be told they are important to know about before you begin perhaps....well, for some that might work but it is not the only option & if at all possible visit the smallest villages first if you have that chance....why not ?

Saturday, 17 July 2010

. a photo diary of my residency in portugal recording (amongst other things) a 20km section of the paiva here

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

April 2011 - booking now:

Advanced Wildlife Sound Recording course
with Chris Watson & Jez riley French

This two-day course with Chris Watson & Jez riley French aims to explore aspects of field recording in more depth, plus a demonstration of techniques for editing audio files on a computer and mixing soundtracks. It is suitable for those who have already taken our Wildlife Sound Recording course, or those who already have good experience of sound recording in the field.

The bulk of the course will be taken up with recording in the field - experimenting with different techniques and microphones, including hydrophones and surround sound systems - and then analysing the results back at base.

The course is taught by Chris Watson, one of the world's top wildlife sound specialists who regularly works for the BBC, and assisted by audio specialist Jez riley French.

Day 1 : Aim to arrive by 6pm, directions will be sent when you have booked your place.
7pm - evening meal served (no problem if you arrive later)
8pm - introductory chat - who we are, who you are, and what we will be doing over the next two days.

Day 2:
Dawn - recording of dawn chorus in the grounds of Whitwell Hall.
8am - breakfast
9am - a discussion about the sound recording fieldcraft and techniques we will be practising. This will include the selection of appropriate microphones, microphone placement, rigging and cabling, mono, stereo and surround sound techniques and the use of hydrophones and contact mikes. This will be followed by practical work in the grounds of Whitwell Hall and analysis of the morning's dawn chorus recording.
1pm - lunch
2pm - a demonstration of how to edit, manipulate and improve sound recordings, and also how they can be effectively combined and mixed together to produce a soundtrack. This could be for a television or radio programme, for installations, or for your own enjoyment.
7pm - evening meal served, after which we will take a trip to Holt Country Park to attempt to record woodcock and other birds at dusk.

Day 3:
Dawn - recording of dawn chorus in Foxley Wood.
8am - breakfast
9am - further fieldwork including the use of hydrophones in ponds
1pm - lunch
2pm - critical analysis of recordings made over the weekend
4pm - course ends

Chris Watson - experienced sound recordist specialising in wildlife - Chris also runs courses in wildlife sound recording and post production at the BBC Natural History Unit, and lectures internationally on location sound and sound design. He has worked closely with two of the most high-profile natural history presenters in the business, David Attenborough and Bill Oddie. He is Oddie's favourite sound man and the TV veteran says of Watson: "I don't know anyone who is so intense yet so splendidly frivolous." Chris became a sound recordist in 1981 when he joined Tyne Tees Television and is now widely regarded as one of the most creative sound artists in the business. His recent credits include the hugely popular Springwatch and Autumnwatch, and he received the Wildlife Film Asia Award for the BBC's Galapagos: Born of Fire. Watson also creates for the radio, with credits includingSoundscape: The Sea Swallow, Watersong and The Estuary all for BBC Radio 4. See

Jez riley French is an audio specialist whose output involves elements of intuitive composition, field recording (using conventional & extended methods) photographic images (including their use in photographic scores) and improvisation. He has performed, exhibited and had his work published widely across Europe and also lectures in both field recording and intuitive composition as a guest lecturer. He is currently resident artist at Hull School of Art & Design.

Jez also makes & sells his own hydrophones and contact mics + runs the ‘in place’ project with a website exploring various aspects of field recording & related work. In recent years Jez has been working closely with specific architectural spaces, capturing a sense of place that is both highly personal and yet offers the audience a fascinating opportunity to look and listen anew to the environments in which we spend our time.

Lasse-Marc Riek - 'harbour' new cd

Lasse-Marc Riek - 'harbour' (hebal international) click here to visit label website

From Spring 1999 to Spring 2007 I made location recordings of microsounds from Harbours in Germany and Finland. A lot of various gangways, tunnels, bridges, ships, boats, ferries, floating docks and coastal birds are making abstract sounds. They where modulated from wind, water and machines. This field reseach was listening to the self-composition in the area "harbour".
- Lasse-Marc Riek -

1. Björköby, Finnland
2. Wismar, Germany
3. Hamburg, Germany
4. Hamburg, Germany
5. Hamburg, Germany
6. Hamburg, Germany
7. Hamburg, Germany
8. Österö, Finnland

Unprocessed Field Recordings 1999-2007, Germany and Finland.

Audio CD, 6 panels digipak
Release date: July 2010
12 Euros + shipping

Imagine an incredibly large hall. Its walls are brick built and covered with some sort on lichen. Many of its stone have already started to crumble. The huge space might have witnessed a cotton mill. Anyway, the former industrial site has disappeared. Instead of an majestic void an empty space like this would usually create storage racks have been put into the hall almost touching the cover. Besides, every inch of the solid steel shelves is occupied by folders. Thick like those files from the law series. Compact as they wait on their shelves all of them are closed in storeys high as an apartment block. Impossible to look inside of them, though every single sheet of paper must be covered with signs and letters, symbols and tables from either side. Billions and billions of pages and of characters. What will you hear when you walk the aisles between the storage racks? Between the steel racks, bricks, folders, pages and a cover that lies so high above that it is impossible to figure out what it is made of. Will you hear how the bricks go on crumbling when time passes by? Would the steel groan under its heavy burden and when the draughty air sucked the humidity from the documents? Could you listen to what is inside the folders themselves? Their history, their sad and funny stories, the undoubted truth in and by them? Now, what do you hear when you walk on a dock?
Stefan Militzer