Scattered Light 87

Waiti Bay

Infrared image of some very old trees near Westport, shot 30 June 2013

FREEDOM day one



After a week of relentless right brain activity (moving out of apartment, sorting essentials for 3 different trips, terminating services etc…) finally this was the moment signifying the start of my freedom: five minutes into the three hour ferry trip from Wellington to Picton…
Goodbye #Wellington!

There was no noticeable swell until we had left Wellington harbour & hit Cook Strait – I went outside & went up 3 decks to the viewing area & was struck by three seperate sounds:
- the throb of the engines venting out of that weird sculptural exhaust in the photo above, especially when we manouvering (eg reversing into Picton harbour) the deep almost subsonic beating tones were beautiful!
- when we hit the swell at the harbour entrance, the bow wave went from a gentle constant hiss to much more clearly defined longer doppler waves, 10-15 seconds in duration as we rode through each swell
- some lovely arhythmic percussion courtesy of these two tinkling triangles, beautifully rigged to resonate (what could their other purpose be?)



open water = freedom!



And this is heading into Marlbourough Sound, a sheltered deep cove… Noticed the two guys fishing, just off the point – local knowledge rules!





After getting off the ferry at Picton I had a four drive ahead of me over to the West Coast, but first stop was my favourite prop/junk store in Picton – scored an old gas can that was SO resonant, I went up to the counter asking how much was the portable gamelan? $15? Sold!
Midway stop in Murchison = two more props… And then into dense bush as I crossed the top end of the Southern Alps. Crossed this one lane bridge and had to stop so I could take a few photos






Arrived in Westport & drove past my sister studio!



And finally out to the West Coast, just in time for sunset! According to swellmap, I may have to wait until Tuesday for 4m waves but lots to explore & record before then….





FWIW I did a major camera and lens upgrade in the last month – sold my canon 7D and all but one of my lenses, and have made the leap to shooting full frame! I am now the proud owner of a Canon 5DmkIII and three gorgeous L series lenses: 16-35mm f2.8L, 70-200 f4L, 100mm f2.8L Macro (kept my 50mm f1.4) and am waiting on the Atomos Ninja 2 to come back into stock so I can get set up to shoot video in RAW format. The difference in lens quality & camera was so immediately apparent – I plan to shoot a LOT of material on this trip south as need to be instinctively familiar with this new setup before starting my short film project as part of Japan Artist Residency in September… As with getting new mics and/or recorder, it feels a LOT like my own resolution has been increased! Amen to that!


Detritus 261

> these are quite amazing: wind powered kinetic sculptures


> this is particularly relevant to me at the moment, but applies to anyone using gear in the field: protecting yourself from gear theft


> I was discussing the sound of MRI scans with Jay & came across this recording (just need to find a friendly MRI operator now!)


> David Lynch: current state of the film industry is “Depressing”


best book promo ever?


> love these big ears


> How many of you have actually suffered downtime due to the legendary iLok fiasco of 2013? Thankfully I have had no need to even visit the iLok website in many months… But one can only hope this is the death noll for this form of protection. If you want to use ProTools you don’t have a choice over whether you use iLok or not, but when I look at all the software I own there isn’t much that requires an iLok – it is only ProTools & some of the plugins that work with ProTools… None of the graphics, video, utilities or data apps that I own use it, which means there are plenty of software companies that don’t need to resort to a physical dongle to protect their software. It seems we are typecast as filthy pirating musicians..

Whats the ideal model for authorisation for you? Mine would be via The Plugin Alliance – notice their byline: 3 licenses, forever! Not one iLok (which may or may not work)

I think its time to move past iLok and their dinosaur model of copy protection. If I buy an app or plugin I want it licensed to me. I will likely always own 3 Macs – a Mac Tower, a Mac Mini and a laptop. But there is only one of me, and in this day and age it seems incredibly redundant to have to carry a stupid little plastic dongle around with me, or buy the software three times. Respect to the Plugin Alliance! This iLok incompetence may prove to be the best marketing for their approach ever!!

Developers take note – if there is a choice, I won’t be buying anything in future that requires an iLok license. There was never any advantage from a users point of view for iLok, and now there is a HUGE disincentive.


Rest in Peace

Ok, that is enough for 2013!

If bad things happen in threes, then a trilogy is now complete.

First we lost Mike Hopkins

Then the very recent news of mixer & sound editor Mike Jones death.

And then very recently it was revealed conservationist and sound recordist John Kendrick has skipped off this mortal coil..

Those of you outside New Zealand will likely not have heard one lovely gesture Mr Kendrick made, many years ago which has gone on to be enjoyed by multiple generations. Each morning just before the news on National Radio, it has become a tradition that bird song is played and this tradition did no occur by accident, quoting from the Radio New Zealand website:

Mr Kendrick spent 20 years filming and recording wildlife throughout New Zealand while working for the Wildlife Service.

He began donating recordings to Radio New Zealand in the late 1960s when he became irritated with what he described as “the monotonous squawk” heard regularly on the airwaves and decided to supply more pleasing birdcalls.

“The director of national programmes of the day was a little bit hesitant, but I felt it was a good idea to share these recordings with the general public of New Zealand.

“So I said, ‘Well, give it a go’. They put them on and they got a good reaction from the public apparently and it’s just kept on going all these years.”

Thank you Mr Kendrick

Apparently his favourite call was the kokako “because of it’s sort of mystic, wonderful echoing organ-like notes.”

I personally have never heard a kokako with my own ears – I have heard recordings, including Mr Kendricks and I would describe its call as emotive, almost mournful – if a bird can sing in a minor key then I strongly suspect the kokako is it. But I will definitely get my chance – when meeting with park rangers last month and discussing my Artists Residency in Little Huia I was thrilled to learn that there are kokako confirmed living in the Waitakare Ranges. I don’t mind if I have to stay out all day & night, I will persevere until I witness the kokako with own ears. And with my microphones!

Rest in peace, Mike, Mike and John – my thoughts are with your family and friends.


patch cables

OMG! I had forgotten just how painful it is moving house!
Movers are here 9am tomorrow morning – anything I don’t get packed before they arrive means I have to carry it down 4 flights of stairs… FWIW my apartment building is scheduled to be demolished some time in the next year or two to make room for two more lanes of roads for all those cars that have been hissing past my window, and we have all been bought out by the Crown (such a funny term – it actually says Her Majesty the Queen on some of the legal documents!) I’ve been looking for a new place but nothing so far really appeals, so all my stuff is going into storage and I am becoming a digital nomad. Heading down south on a 2 month recording trip – have specific plans and recording scheduled for another four HISSandaROAR libraries… Then back to Wellington start of September to fly out to Japan for Artists residency #1, then back to Auckland, NZ start of November for Artists residency #2… And then? Who knows!

I keep an open mind

Detritus 260

> Birdsong app deemed dangerous & illegal!



> Phenomenally beautiful abandoned buildings from around the world
thanks Nick!


> This seems a bit like the visual equivalent of using impulse responses for sound: “The team were able to build a full 3D image of a room using four microphones to record echoes bouncing off walls” – read more at BBC


“Visitors are able to select any song from an iPad and watch a visualization of the music projected onto the surrounding walls. Through motion-capture technology, visitors can interact with and manipulate the animation through movement….”
more info on Sonos Playground Deconstructed


> The New Abnormal?


> HISSandaROAR CHAINS has been released and is available now – be in quick if you want to access the discount!

I’ve started recording the next library – it is more of a classic HISSandaROAR themed library with very diverse range of material, but suspect I’ll stop for a bit tomorrow to record some new material for a BIG SURF Ambience Library I’ve been slowly recording over the last few months. There is a one-in-ten-year weather event happening in NZ at the moment, an evil southerly storm bringing an abrupt start to the ski season, and the waves in Lyall Bay tomorrow are predicted to be 6.5m! I know just the spot to hide my microphones – just out of harms way!!



coming up next!

Low Pressure System

This is what motivated my post a month or so ago, about tracking the weather/owning a barometer etc… I have been stalking the weather to capture sound for this library due for release this week:

via Jims immortal words…