Field Recording Thoughts+ In The Field (book)

I have been reading the book In The Field: The Art of Field Recording but Cathy Lane and Angus Carlyle.

A couple of the conversations in the book have really hit me where they talk about being present in field recordings. I have never really thought about this before and it only struck me after I read this how present I am in my own field recordings. I initially always saw field recordings as something that is recording nature or sounds in the environment such as cityscapes or archiving our environmental sound in terms of animals, birds, soundscapes. The idea of whether the recordist is present in the recordings has made me think about my methods of field recording – what I do when I record and what I listen out for when I listen back on my recordings. I have noticed that I have tried to stay quiet instead of immersing my self in what is going around me. I think field recording is a bit like yoga, when you start you notice everything such as your breathing, your movements – your presents. Then you suddenly forget that you are recordings and you are suddenly in a kind of meditative state.


Reading about Hildegard Westerkamp and her thoughts on voice in the environment made me think about my Abandoned Symphony project and that I didn’t really know much about this world of field recording and that I just liked the idea of voice in the environment. It was interesting read loads of thoughts and questions that I had been having over the few years and seeing them on paper in discussions with musicians and artists that are inspiring to me.

One comment

  1. The Field Recordist · · Reply

    From experience, the presence of the recordist has quite a noticeable effect on the natural sonic environment; it takes approximately 15 – 20 minutes following departure of the recordist for the natural world to return to normality.

    In my opinion, a field recording can never capture the true natural ambience of a location whilst the recordist is present. This is one reason I developed my own ‘Drop & Recovery’ equipment and techniques for long-duration recordings. This type of recording can be quite revealing to listen to, and sometimes even hair-raising, especially when you hear some animal creeping up through the undergrowth and snuffling in your ears to check you out!

    Here is a link to one of my early setups, it’s a bit dated now, some 6 years old, but is still in use:-

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