Tokyo Vertigo

Just got home from a fantastic guided recording/shooting session by Lukasz Palka of EyexploreTokyo
I had checked with him if I could do his Tokyo Vertigo tour but with an equal focus on sound and field recording… So tonight I met him at Ikebukuro Station and we spent the next 3 hours venturing to some great rooftop locations that he knew, recording ambiences in quad for ten minutes and then shooting some stills & video… Here is just a couple…



Next Saturday I’m doing a second Tokyo Vertigo tour, but in different part of Tokyo…

Such a great experience, huge thanks to Lukas!

Arriving to Tokyo

I know all the cliches, about it being about “the journey” & not the destination…. but when the initial journey involves checking in at 6am with a hangover, the destination is the focus that makes the 12+ hours of cramped bored suffering on a plane worthwhile…

By the way, my hangover was partly due to hanging out with my dear friends ian & eddie in Auckland – check out Ians fridge, all the food groups covered here:


It was a great relief to eventually arrive to Tokyo station and make my way to my favourite familiar LOHAS SUPER HOTEL! (you know its a favourite when you dont even have to tell your devices the wifi password, they have remembered it since last time!)


And when I checked in I didn’t even need to ask – having ‘pre-ordered’ this lovely nondescript box was waiting for me:





This trip to Japan (& especially Tokyo) is going to be busy!

Tomorrow is day 1 recording quad ambiences (8040 ORTF + 8020×2 spaced omni to SD788T) in Tokyo and for the last month or two I have been obsessively researching the aspects of Tokyo I am aiming to capture…

And along with sound recording, I also have a number of music projects planned while I am here….all part of some subconscious master plan that hasn’t been revealed to me yet… but this Make Noise 0 Coast is one small part in the puzzle…. more to come!


While the sights and sounds are always welcome, I always also LOVE the olfactory response – leaving a chilly NZ peaking at about 10 degrees C yesterday, to arrive to Tokyo which was 29 degrees C at 6pm is like a great big warm hug…. but its only when you eventually get off the planes & trains and walk to your destination for the night/s that you get time to pause & fill your lungs… that sweet mysterious smell of a new adventure!

Here we go!

Tortured Tree


shot today near Harawera, with Sony a6300 and EF100-400L lens via Metabones SpeedBooster

20 days 350.11GB

350.11GB accumulated data – sound, photos, video – during my 20 days travel in the South Island

5 Hours Underground

So one of my motives for the trip to the South Island last month was to do some ‘proper’ cave recording, for the upcoming HISSandaROAR Library… And by proper I really mean guided – I am not really the adventurous type but to record clean sound I knew there was no point joining a group guided party so I contacted the excellent people at Cave Rafting in Charleston and they instantly understood what I was after and introduced me to a local guide who works for them, and who had time to take me into the Nile River Caves!

Excellent!! So I got my gear together, reducing my kit down to Sound Devices 788T recorder and a 5.0 mic rig of MKH8040/8050/8040/8020/8020 and stands, and we drove into the start of Paparoa National Park and jumped on their small gauge train, which then winds its way a few kilometres through dense bush, vaguely following the Nile River


For helping me out I offered to shoot some drone footage of the train, and on another day flew about 1km up the valley, following the train… until I lost signal from my drone and had to patiently wait for it to start ‘return-to-home’ and get back into range so I could get control again…


From the end of the train line it was about a 15 mintue walk along the river, across a swing bridge & up the side of a mountain to the cave entrance


A short distance into the cave & we arrived at a locked steel door…


It didn’t take much walking through the cave to completely forget about the outside world, and to stop hearing it….


Five or ten minutes in and stopped to record at location 1, a lovely reverbant trickly waterfall…

Continuing on, the path we followed was generally very stable and access was good, with some passages requiring bending over, especially with concern for avoiding any damage to the cave itself…


Richard my guide was full of fascinating stories and facts, and it gave me a whole new sense of wonder at the age of this cave system, eg that a stalagmite or stalagtite can take up to one thousand years to grow an inch!


Nice drips here!


A few times I started to think that maybe the art director of the ALIEN films must have referenced caves like these… and then I decided to stop thinking about that – this place is freaky enough without starting to imagine such creatures living down here!!


After maybe an hour or more underground we started to hear distant river sounds & soon arrived at another exit, and the point at which the cave rafters jump in the water!


I set up and left the recorder rolling here – note the misty waterfall on the left of that photo above…


From here we basically slowed retraced our steps back to the entrance, stopping to record at a range of locations…


In total I recorded seven locations, each time recording 5.0 for 10 minutes… and each time I would set up the mics, hit record and then we would walk 100m or more away – some of the lcoaitons were so quiet I didn’t want my breathing to be present amongst the beautiful sparse sounds…


The strangest feeling was passing back through the metal gate and out into the open – for a moment my perceptions did a twist as I kenw iw as outside but it still felt like being udnerground… then I realised – it was now 8pm and night! We very carefully descended back down the steps, across the river and back to the train and headed home – totally buzzing from the experience and thrilled with the recordings!


The photos above do not do the cave justice – while I shot a lot of photos and video, I didn’t even stop to set up a tripod as sound was my absolute priority! I would love to do another such trip with my 5D and tripod, but I think then i would get frustrated at not recording the great sounds…

The next time I am on the West Coast I am absolutely doing the cave rafting trip – they provide a wet suit, with gloves & boots, and you carry a large tyre tube down into the cave… and then get into the underground river & float through the cave, eventually exiting & drifting down the river…

Full respect to the people who shot this timelapse in the same cave, of glow worms!

And while I know you’d love to hear the sounds, you will just have to wait… This is the fifth cave location I’ve recorded in, and later in the year I will finish & release the CAVE AMBIENCES Library… But this was 5 Hours of my life I will never forget!