New Mountford Park

A lot has changed in the park at the heart of Leeton, so I returned last Sunday with my contact mic and camera to hear how the new flying fox and basket swing sound. This is my first go at using the samples.


This video features percussion isolated from the track below. I'm working on a full video that will debut at the screenings I'm organising in Leeton next month.

Ableton Live has this FANTASTIC feature where you can manipulate the audio of video samples as easily as just audio and then export video with basic edits. I think they updated the codecs it'd accept in version eight but it still seems limited to standard definition, which is a great start. I'd really like to see them improve what the program will export, such as reversing footage when this is done to the audio.

Number five is alive

Dinosaur Park

Here's an early experiment with material recorded at the park my kids have named for the purple dinosaur. I'm working through my park recordings and generating new material to screen next month. This is okay, I've already got a couple of reservations but I've also already got another remix underway too.

Below is a remix of Dinosaur Park in a techouse style from a talented Belgian producer.

Waipukurau Park

Knowing that my neighbour Corey plays drums, I invited him to try playing our local playground. He settled into a rhythm on the slide and then experimented on the fence around the child care centre. I've looped parts of the former and added a slowed-down section of the latter.

Borrowed dream

The Disquiet Junto this week was a challenge for me, because (a) I don't usually remember much of my dreams (which is good because they often seem to involve my kids falling to their deaths) and (b) my room is very quiet aside from the noise of my daughter usually stumbling in around 1AM. So I borrowed my youngest's dream and added a few effects.

I like that it's a running dream. Many dreams I remember from my childhood involved running from things.

Playground magic

Been revisiting my recordings of Leeton playgrounds and remixing them again but this recording seemed interesting enough without treatment. My plan is to screen a short presentation in a couple of parks this July to mark the anniversary of the For 100 Years album, the closing of town's centenary and to collect together new material that will appear on the DVD I'm finally going to finish.

This recording was made at Gossamer Park, which benefits from being one of the last parks I recorded. I used two types of piezo contact microphone, on the left channel is my homemade one and on the right is the cheap clamp-on variety. There's a little EQ but otherwise no further production.

Below is the mastered version, which sounds massive.

Return to Central Park

After the Junto, I returned to samples of Leeton's Central Park, last heard closing For 100 Years. It's been about a year since I manipulated these recordings and it's interesting returning to find new possibilities but I'm looking to record there again in July too.

Junto clap remix

This week's Disquiet Junto involved recording clapping and remixing applause. It's another interesting exercise in revealing how different people approach the same material because claps seem to produce very similar transients, so everyone is almost using the same ingredients.

To record my clapping I used a Rode NT1 with an Audio Technica AT4040 (I think, it's the cheap version of that model) in an XY position. I thought it would be interesting to compare these two mics as I don't use them much and was thinking of Ebaying them. The NT1 is a bit brittle and the AT4040 is kinda quiet but the waveforms showed quite a bit of difference between the two, although my ears didn't register much as the placement of my hands varied the results more.

It was interesting to experiment with hunching over the mics to get more lower frequencies reflected around them and leaning back to get more attack with the reflections from the roof. I think this was the case, I was also extenuating the treble in the slap at the time too.

Manipulating the recordings in Ableton Live led me to loop a couple of claps, vary the loop placement and then have them follow each other with a bit of a Beat Repeat effect. It sounded like I couldn't clap in time for a while but eventually I got a minimal percussive part going and lost interest. At this point I often think it's best to start afresh with a clearer idea of what results can be achieved, but instead I continued.

Returning to the track I sought to develop a harmonic progression but the short transients wouldn't give me much joy. Then I remembered the Sine Vibes plug-ins and used a few of their presets. After that I arranged those parts, added some dynamics with effects and mastered.

My clap trap