Found Sound: What happens when you send a producer into the field with just a microphone for company?
We invite our favourite producers to throw on a warm coat, leave the safety of the studio, and join us for a day of sound hunting on location.
For our first episode of Field Trips, we took the beatmaker Paul White to the mysterious Maunsell Sea Forts off the coast of Kent.
In episode 2 we eschewed the serenity of the sea for the crunch, grease and chaos of a day at the bangers. Aldershot Raceway was the location and our new volunteer was Ninja Tune’s own Ryan Hunn aka Illum Sphere – an artist with plenty of studio experience but not too much in the field by his own admission.
“I’ve not done a massive amount of field recording and any field recording I have done has been on a more primitive level. But this is the first actual, field trip”
Once again, we handed our subject a Shure MOTIV MV88 and set him the task of finding as much sonic treasure as he could. This time to a backdrop of cars smashing into each other.
Unsurprisingly, finding noise at a racetrack isn’t difficult. But to pick-up more than just the sound of bumpers hitting the dust Ryan had to think on his feet. It was in the pits – observing mechanics fixing engines, airing tyres and preparing bangers for destruction that he found the audio candy he was looking for.
“Within 30 seconds there was the equivalent of a kick, a snare and a high-hat. You can just hammer the processing and you’ve got the beginning of a beat, maybe.”
Sure enough, a full drum-kit could be discerned from the hammering, hissing and clattering of the pits.
The keen-eared viewer will note that the corresponding scene in the film is in fact soundtracked by a production Ryan created using those sounds. Another great example of field recording in motion.
Watch Episode 1 of Field Trips with Paul White.
Inspired to give it a go? Check out our 5 rules for a successful day in the field.