Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Turkey: Day Thirty One

I've always liked the tulip, and felt an affinity with it because of my Dutch heritage, so when I discovered its origins in Turkey and saw so many beautiful Iznik tulip designs, I knew what my next tattoo was going to be :) I recorded a little of the guy before me getting inked, and the tattoo gun drone is the sound at the end of this track, except I eliminated the high pitched 'buzz'. Plus two tracks of cymbals from yesterday.

This is the last track for Momentum: Turkey, and I can't believe how fast the month has gone! There's more to come though, just in a different format - I'll be doing some live versions in Melbourne and Sydney for Fringe in September. Details are on my website.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Turkey: Day Thirty

As I mentioned yesterday, I went to the factory shop of the Turkish cymbal company, and of course made some purchases! I play the three new additions to my arsonal (with my fingers) one after the other in this track - a small, thin splash cymbal, and two bell-like cymbals with upturned edges, similar to a china cymbal but thicker like a crotale. There's also the drumming from yesterday, played forwards and backwards simultaneously and with some delay.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Turkey: Day Twenty Nine

I went to the Turkish cymbal factory today (that's the brand name, and more on my purchases tomorrow). It's in a street in Istiklal that's filled with music stores, and I recorded some drummers having a jam in a percussion shop. I think they were trying to attract business, or perhaps just pass the time, but they were really good and they feature in the middle of this track, with some granular delay and a little panning. Plus the ferry horn honks from yesterday, pitched down, slowed down, reversed and looped.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Turkey: Day Twenty Eight

Continuing with the transport theme today: ferry horn honks from Kadiköy with train door bleeps from Bursa. With both samples I made three loops, each with different delays and pitch shifting. All the honking sounds that are slightly reminiscent of french horns at the end are made using about 1 second of ferry horn recording.

Also, I wanted to mention how I've been typing the Turkish characters like ö and ç on my non-Turkish computer keyboard: it's with the help of this site - it's been very useful for these posts!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Turkey: Day Twenty Seven

Back to İstanbul today! For some much needed rest and last minute touristy things before I head home. I recorded the beeps of the closing train doors heading from Bursa to the ferry terminal, and there are train/mechanics sounds as well as some voices in there too. Plus the super echoes from the Green Tomb from yesterday. The photo is of Bursa from the top of the hill where the Green Tomb and Green Mosque are situated.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Turkey: Day Twenty Six

There are the most fantastic echoes in Yeşil Türbe (the Green Tomb) in Bursa. I recorded a tour guide talking and some footsteps and nearly all of the reverb and delay on the track is acoustic. At the start of the track I played the spinning top sample forwards and backwards simultaneously, and there's also the fountain from Sultanahmet, with pitch, panning and granular delay.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Turkey: Day Twenty Five

Off to Troy and Çannakale via Bursa today, but before I left Istanbul I recorded the sound of the public fountain out the front of the Hagia Sophia. There are two versions of that sound in this track - one as is and one pitched down with a ring modulator, which creates a high hum towards the end. Plus spinning top from yesterday.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Turkey: Day Twenty Four

I can't believe there's only a week to go - this month of travel and recording has gone so fast! Todays addition is a cute little spinning top I bought in Sultanahmet yesterday for 2TL (around $1.20AU). You wind it up then throw it down and try to get it to spin on its bottom. I really like the sound the spinning metal disc on top makes, and I set up the zoom recorder on the floor to record and it kind of sounds as though I had my ear to the floorboards, which is pretty cool. In this track I play the spinning top sample forwards then backwards, and do the same with the bağlama recording from yesterday.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Turkey: Day Twenty Three

I've seen a lot of street musicians here playing bağlama, which is a kind of Turkish traditional guitar. The strings are doubled, like a 12 string guitar, and the distance between frets is made up of quarter-tones as well as semitones; the sound can be quite different to what Western ears are used to. Thanks heaps to Dave for playing for me, through little computer speakers because we didn't have an amp :) Also there's soccer-playing kids with whistles from yesterday, as is and also pitched down and octave, then two.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Turkey: Day Twenty Two

Did a little exploring of some of the small(er) mosques in Sultanahmet today, and recorded a bunch of kids playing soccer outside the Little Hagia Sophia. One had a whistle and was perhaps umpiring, or perhaps just blowing it when he felt like it... Plus air conditioner drones from yesterday, and pitched down ferry sounds from the day before.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Turkey: Day Twenty One

Two things that are fairly rare in my life at the moment are felafel and air-conditioning, but I enjoyed both today - at the same time! And I recorded the rhythmic hum of the air-con fan at the same time. It enters at the end of todays track, and I slowly remove the low and then middle frequencies resulting in an airy kind of hiss at the end. Plus finger cymbal loops at different pitches with variable delays, and ferry sounds from yesterday.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Turkey: Day Twenty

At any one time there are half a dozen ferries docked in Kadiköy, waiting to go out again. Each of the boats has a number of car and truck tyres attached to the front that act as a kind of bumper, and the dock has the same attached to it. So when another ferry goes past these bumpers rub against one another and produce a great rubbery friction sound. I tried to capture this in my recording today, and there are sounds of people, sloshing water and chains as well from the boats. Plus loops of finger cymbals from yesterday, pitched down.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Turkey: Day Nineteen

Having a bit of a rest day today, so no traveling and no gallivanting and no field recordings! But I had some finger cymbals up my sleeve that I bought last week, which I think go pretty nicely with the water bottle drum from yesterday, and nice to percussion things up a bit like old times :) With the cymbals I recorded the sound of playing them and letting them ring, of playing them but holding them together and dampening the sound, and of rubbing them together to create a sustained sound. Then I pitched down the drum from yesterday, reversed part of it and added a little delay.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Turkey: Day Eighteen

The tap water in İstanbul is heavily chlorinated, so pretty much everyone drinks bottled water. This has been quite an adjustment but the water from the tap really does taste pretty bad and I don't fancy drinking a couple of litres of it per day. So in the apartment where I'm staying there's an assortment of large empty plastic bottles: I had 5, 10 and 19 litre ones set aside to improvise on for todays mix, but the 19 litre one sounded far superior (much thicker plastic and deeper tone) once I started, so I just went with that one. I played the bottom of the bottle with my palm and fingers, and ran my fingernails up and down the corrugated sides of the bottle. Plus there's roosters and chickens from yesterdays track, and I isolated some low traffic sounds from that recording to make a low drone/bed for this one.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Turkey: Day Seventeen

Another bird sound today - completely unintentional! Walking around Selçuk this afternoon I came across a yard of chicks, chickens and roosters, and of course they put on a show for me :) The two roosters even came right up to the fence so there are some pretty big sounds in there. Plus loops of storks from yesterday, with lots of delay on the beak-clapping sound, and delay and ring modulator on the miscellaneous bird sounds, resulting in more of a pitched drone.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Turkey: Day Sixteen

Visited St John's Basilica in Selçuk today, and I was captivated by the ruins of course, but I was really fascinated by all the storks nesting on top of columns of the old church. They're everywhere, and in the town proper there are even nesting frames that have been built in high places, ready for the birds to make a home. There are two parts to the new recording today - one of a stork making a kind of clapping sound with its beak to attract attention, and the other of a group of adult storks, flying in to the nest to feed their babies. Plus the wooden recorder from yesterday, with ring modulator, delay, and down an octave.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Turkey: Day Fifteen

I've been trying hard not to just buy instruments here for the sake of it, but I have been keeping my eye out for a little wooden recorder that sounds alright, and I found one in at a market in Ephesus today. I recorded it back at the hostel in Selçuk, mainly long notes with a little ornamentation, then added a ring modulator to affect the pitch and a tiny bit of delay as well. Plus there's two loops of running water and cicadas from yesterday, with the upper frequencies (most of the insect noise) EQ'd out until near the end of the track.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Turkey: Day Fourteen

I'm in paradise, otherwise known as Selçuk - 2km northeast of the ancient city of Ephesus in the İzmir Province (thanks, Wikipedia). The weather is delightful and the sound of cicadas chirping is all-consuming, though I doubt I'll even notice them in a day or so. I recorded the insect orchestra and a faux waterfall by the swimming pool from a hammock - a really great place to work, highly recommended! The only problem was that the gentle swinging of the hammock was enough to contaminate my recording with a lot of wind noise. So instead of a minute-long arc of cicadas chirping louder and louder then softer and softer, as one, I made a couple of loops of bits of the recording that weren't so windy.

Also, I chopped up the sample of the clarinet busker from yesterday, and made a short loop of the final part of his final phrase, which features at the beginning and end of the track - at first pretty much as is then down an octave at the end.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Turkey: Day Thirteen

I came across another fantastic busker, this time on İstiklal Avenue in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul. He was playing an instrument similar to a clarinet, not exactly sure what though. I combined it with the Ramadan drummer (who I still don't have a photo of! I think he took last night off or was in a different neighbourhood...). It feels like I didn't do much to alter the sounds here, but I didn't want to because they were both so great just as they were. There's a little panning and reverb on the 'clarinet', and I adjusted the EQ of the drums to try and replicate the sound I heard, more than what the Zoom recorder picked up which was mostly bass.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Turkey: Day Twelve

It's Ramadan in Turkey now, the month of the year where Muslims worldwide fast during daylight hours, feast together when the sun goes down, and offer more prayers than at other times of the year. So at 2am a traditional Ramadan drummer has been walking the streets of Kadiköy, waking people so they can eat something before the sun comes up. It's really loud and of course wakes everyone around, not just those participating in Ramadan, but it's pretty cool! I left my zoom recorder out on the windowsill last night so I could capture the sound of the single drummer playing what I believe is a tapan (or davul) drum. I will try and stay up tonight (or get up quicker!) to snap a photo, but in the meantime here's a shot I took at the end of the street in Kadiköy yesterday, of the Bosphorus between apartment buildings.

This track also has metal chain loops from the İstanbul Modern that I recorded yesterday, pitched down in varying degrees throughout.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Turkey: Day Eleven

I visited İstanbul Modern today, and had a really nice time enjoying Turkey's modern art offerings. One particular work that caught my ear, so to speak, was Monica Bonvicini's Stairway to Hell (2003), which places long heavy chains around the staircase that links the two floors of the gallery. The chains and the metal stairs made some great sounds as people traversed up and down, so I recorded! There's a no photo policy in the gallery however, so here's a picture of me getting blown about on the ferry between Kadiköy and Kabataş.

I added a little delay and panning to the chains and gallery sounds, but there was a fair amount of natural delay already in the recording. Plus there's also the simit salesman from yesterday.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Turkey: Day Ten

Back in İstanbul today, and I recorded the daily spiel of the simit salesman as he walks around the streets of Kadiköy, advertising his business. A lot of people make their living on the street here - selling things and offering services to residents and tourists alike. The simit man skillfully balances a big pile of simit (sort of like a big Turkish bagel) on his head and calls out that he has them for sale, then for 1 Turkish lira (about 60 Australian cents) you can get some nice tasty bread as big as your head, covered in different types of seeds.

In this track there's also three loops of the ceramic bird whistle that I bought in Kapadokya, pitched down and with various delays and panning effects.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Turkey: Day Nine

Yesterday I bought a little ceramic bird whistle at a market stall outside the underground city of Kaymaklı, which I recorded today in the hotel bathroom in Göreme (Kapadokya), because it was somewhere quiet and resonant. You fill the bird with water and blow into it, and I found that changing the angle of the whistle (or my mouth) changed the pitch, so I had some fun with that too. The track begins with peoples' voices and footsteps in Derinkuyu from yesterday - backwards and forewards, and at the end I applied a granular (pitch altering) delay to the whistle sound.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Turkey: Day Eight

Today I explored the underground cities of Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı in Kapadokya - wow! It's difficult to imagine thousands of people living underground, and so cool to wander through the complicated labrynths of caves and tunnels that comprise both cities. Apparently only certain parts of them are open to the public so I can't begin to imagine how big they both really are!

I made a recording in Derinkuyu, of footsteps (mine and others) in the tiny little narrow stairwells, and the muffled voices of other tourists moving around the caves. There are long open air shafts and deep wells throughout the city, and sounds and voices echo differently depending on where they're coming from - kind of like a slow manual panning effect. Plus there's a single loop of farm equipment from the other day, and fireworks from yesterday. Towards the end of the track I remove all but the highest frequencies from the firework loops, resulting in the tinny, grainy kind of sound at the very end.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Turkey: Day Seven

There have been fireworks every night in Kapadokya so far, so I finally grabbed my phone and recorded them. This meant I didn't get a photo though, so I'm including a picture of what has been my blogging headquarters for the past three days - how lucky am I? This place is so serene and beautiful, I really wish I could stay! There are two fireworks loops with granular (pitch shifting) delay, plus the machinery drones from yesterday, pitched up and down respectively and also with variable delays.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Turkey: Day Six

I went for a walk around some of the hills and caves in Kapadokya today, and stumbled upon this piece of retired farm equipment under a tree. I turned the handle and one end spun around, making a slightly pitched metallic drone which changed speed depending on how fast I turned the handle, and made a whooshing noise as it brushed against the tree branches. I mixed it in with the birds, shutters and voice I recorded from the mosque PA yesterday, and made several different pitched loops of todays mechanic drone.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Turkey: Day Five

Arrived in Kapadokya this morning after a 6am flight and had a little nap. I was woken by the midday Azan (call to prayer), which is performed live here (as opposed to the pre-recorded versions I've been hearing around İstanbul), and was extra long because it's Friday (the holy day in Islam). I believe it's not good manners to record the actual Azan but when it was finished someone had left the microphone switched on so I recorded the (very loud from my hostel room!) sound of one of the mosque window shutters, amplified and banging in the breeze. There's some birds in there too, plus popcorn vendor from yesterday, and six pitched down loops of tram bells from İstanbul.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Turkey: Day Four

Today I took the dinging sounds from the tram in Beyazit and made three little loops, each pitched down a different amount. Plus the original tram sample, and the sound of a vendor popping corn at a stall outside Topkapı Palace, in Gülhane.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Turkey: Day Three

New sounds today were recorded at the Beyazit tram stop in Çemberlitaş, just outside the Grand Bazaar. There's lots of beeping as commuters swipe their transport cards, then an approaching tram with recorded announcements. This is bookended by yesterdays buskers from Kadiköy, with variable and grain delays.

For todays photo I overlayed two images, one of the tram and one of the beeping turnstyles.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Turkey: Day Two

I happened upon these great buskers in the streets of Kadiköy, and recorded a little of one of their songs. I bought a CDR from them too, and from what I can tell they call themselves either Simiare or Simiure, but the guy with the discs didn't speak English so I may never know. In any case they were great and I hope they didn't mind me recording them. I messed some more with the pots and pans from yesterday too, mainly pitch and time shifting - making the last sample faster and faster towards the end, so that rhythm mostly disappears.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Turkey: Day One

The next stage of Momentum begins today, as I embark on 31 consecutive days of recording in around İstanbul, Turkey; I'll be recording, mixing and blogging every day for the month of July. Todays track begins with traffic and bird sounds on the streets of Kadiköy, where I'm staying, plus the rhythms of local residents clapping and banging pots and saucepans with wooden spoons, in the streets and out their kitchen windows at night. This practice of noise-making using household instruments is called cacerolazo (the spanish word for casserole - referring to the pots and utensils), and is done in solidarity with the recent protests in Taksim.

Throughout the track I remove certain frequencies from the car/street/bird sounds, resulting in a kind of low drone. The samples of clapping and pot banging are then brought in and out, and sped up and slowed down at different points, with a little delay and pitch shifting down at the very end.