Crunch Time

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In field recording, I discovered the impact and influence I had in the recordings. I had to become invisible. To do that, and monitor the recording process properly, I also couldn’t be listening. So I had to find a way to become like a first-person universal "sound technician" without actually being there.

I had to become powerless to influence the recording. It required much experimentation, much training. I couldn’t move the microphone. A big truck would go by and the ground would shake beneath me. Sometimes I had to move to avoid being hit by a bus. Sometimes someone stopped me and asked me what I was doing.

I couldn’t say anything or I would suddenly be part of the recording. Sometimes people are so insistent that I have to stop recording to tell them I was recording and they just interrupted the process. I am always recording. I had to invent ways to keep recording when I couldn’t use the sound recorder. So I took field notes too, to make up for lost time.

Remember, I was doing this before you could easily obtain proper equipment to do this. It was easier to get a hold of the proper equipment to do field recordings in the 1960s and 1970s, funny enough. But I was a teenage boy with very few resources. But I wanted to do field recordings of everything, the natural world, urban centers, and so forth. And I did it, and kept doing it for 20 years now, give or take.

The difference now is that I use a GPS, I have 4 digital audio recorders (portable media devices), have access to 8 or so digital cameras should I need them. I use index cards, notebooks of every shape and size. But I can’t use computers or tablets or mobile phones in the field, really. There’s no app for what I do. At least not yet.

That’s who I have been and what I have become. I am the mobile recording studio, always in the field. I have become a field artist. And now it’s Crunch Time.

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