Fall down X Get up X+1

In the realm of ideas, everything depends on enthusiasm.
In the real world, all rests on perseverance.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


I had a great reminder of both aspects of that Goethe quote this week.
I have been doing some concerted research on my next library recording project, and it culminated in me banging on the door of a fairly industrial companies front door, inspired & ready to do my best pitch to gain access to their yard, to record some very specific props.

Of course it requires after hours access and I was happily prepared to cover the costs of having someone supervise me, but what happened next sent me home in a foul mood. Someone opened the door & proceeded to stop me in every way possible. I hadn’t even had a chance to explain any of the details and she was already saying no. I soon realised what was happening, and realised it wasn’t going to happen & decided to annoy her.
Me: ‘Are you the owner?’
Her: ‘Um, no… they are upstairs’
Me: ‘OK I would like to speak to YOUR MANAGER, thanks’
Her: “Hrmpf…’
and off she goes…

I needn’t have stuck around, she came back a few minutes later & simply repeated her ‘no, no, no..’
All without even bothering to find out even the most basic details.
As far as mood swings go, I went from inspired & optimistic to ARG! in less than 3 minutes.
I drove home cursing her, her manager, their company & their ancestry….
I felt disappointed, frustrated & I started to doubt my inspiration – maybe this persons response was normal?

A day or so later and my attitude on the matter was back to inspired, enthusiastic & UNSTOPPABLE.
I had done more research & had a list of half a dozen companies with the same props, and if I had to,
I would work through them all, one by one. Until I found someone who ‘got it’ & saw the same potential that I do.

And here’s the funny thing, the very next attempt hit the jackpot. A young guy, co-owner of his own business. Noticed straight away how I was auditioning props.. ‘What are you going to use it for?’
Less than two minutes of explaining, I plugged decent headphones into my iPad and showed him one of the HISSandaROAR videos and he was more on to it than I was. He then proceeded to give me a sonic tour of their building; ‘this makes great sounds etc etc…’

I don’t like ending the day feeling defeated. But sometimes it happens – that person at the first company had no interest in what I was doing. Now I am not a meglamaniac & do not presume everyone should be interested in what I am doing. But I recognise curiosity a mile away, and if someone I meet doesn’t have any then I actually feel sorry for them – imagine a world where your life has led up to a point where you are no longer curious? I can not say this loud enough: FCK THAT! People like that are toxic, I want nothing to do with them & they do me a favour by self-identifying as fast as possible.


Moral/s of the story:

Enthusiasm (& falling in love with an idea) led me to meet person 1. If I had no perseverance my beautiful idea would have ended then & there. But, I DO have perseverance. I wont be stopped by some small minded dweeb with the imagination of a gnat.
Perseverance introduced me to person #2 and within 5 minutes he had introduced me to possibilities I had never even considered. I will go out of my way to repay this generosity of spirit beyond what could ever be expected. Giving someone some cash helps them in the short term but we all have skills that can help people long term. When its warranted best to do both!

The contrast in attitudes could not have been greater. But it all would have amounted to nothing without perseverance. It doesn’t matter if you get knocked down X times, as long as you get back up X+1 times!



In the realm of ideas, everything depends on enthusiasm.
In the real world, all rests on perseverance.


Thank you Johann Wolfgang von Goethe




Sound Mirrors

I want a pair of these for my garden: Sound Mirrors by Tim Bruiniges

Andrew Grantham maintains a list of real sound mirrors in the UK (with locations) originally used for early detection of incoming bombers during WWI, although it wasn’t only the UK that used them – check out these Japanese War Tubas


When doing a quick search I entered ‘tuba war’ instead of ‘war tuba’ and suddenly imagined a battle of the brass bands!

Scattered Light 142


Kapiti island, again…. shot from halfway between Pukerua Bay & Paekakariki
EOS M infra red camera with 10-22 EFs lens

Detritus 314


> (some of the) greatest electronic albums of the 1950s and 1960s


> love this: how to disable a surveillance camera using a corkscrew wine bottle opener


> Noam Chomsky is a new X Factor judge!
(FWIW I’ve had a few grumpy conversations with the parents of kids who watch that complete SH+T!
And after trying to clearly state what it is that repulses me from it, it took Dave Grohl to verbalise it)



> Have you ever considered being of no fixed abode?


> Films sync our brains?


by Jim Henson! via



> When an ecosystem becomes an orchestra (or something)


> while I like the concept, not 100% sure I’d appreciate it if I turned up to this lake to enjoy the quiet…


by Andy Thomas


> Scientists recording sound? What will they think of next!


> I’ve never owned a tent – my idea of ‘roughing it’ is either staying up all night, or staying in a hotel room without a mini bar… But, with summer in NZ approaching (& the idea of shooting overnight timelapses & dawn ambiences in remote locations) I have been reconsidering this concept of ‘a tent’. These photos are helping motivate me too… So… which model tent comes with WIFI?


> Also via Twister Sifter, turns out the cleanest lake in the world is in New Zealand (its obviously far enough away from any dairy farms to be contaminated) – adding it to my list for next South island road trip


> nicely made little mini doco about wasted rita


> Wow – great video/interview with Adrian Sherwood – i dearly LOVE the idea of not using automation when mixing, and have had many great conversations over the years with re-recording mixers who developed their skills before automation (ie where you had to learn the material and actually perform a great mix, rather than doing pass after pass, tweak after tweak) I am definitely not saying one is better or worse than the other (it isn’t a binary question, plus there are so many factors/considerations as to the actual art involved, the aesthetics, sensitivity to subject matter etc etc… the ability for ideas to transcend technology? yeah, yah… whatever…)


Ever get the feeling field recording is slowly becoming commoditized? For example how many times does someone say ‘GE’ in that video? And why, with all the supposed recording does the music sound generic? Why? Why? Oh, never mind….


> And lastly, apologies if you live outside NZ and follow me on twitter or FB or G+ or what/wherever and I post the occasional political nonsense that will be meaningless to you….. The thing is, politics in NZ is getting weird right now! We are about 3 weeks away from an election but thanks to a whistle blower/hacker (seriously BIG thanks!!!) it seems like every few days another revelation occurs, showing some of the usually hidden inner mechanisms of the incumbant government & their (successful until now) manipulation of the media….
But OMG dirty laundry is being aired very publicly and while there are, of course, issues of privacy, it is deeply fascinating to learn that the public good over rides these concerns. As someone said to me many years ago, it always ALWAYS better to tell the truth & act ethically, as then you don’t have to remember what you said because it was the truth. Corruption is an evil – it must be eliminated, especially in the public service of a so called democracy.
Anyway, a side effect of the perceived corruption is that the parties attempting to be elected have been putting up their advertising prior to the election, and some creative/stealthy people have been altering them…. Example #1? That geezer on the left! Brilliant!


Scattered Light 141






shot in my garden with infra red Canon EOS M camera and EF100L macro lens
infra red Spring?

Perpetual Motion

this was an accidental loop (from the recording of TORTURED WOOD) that I started jamming with…
double bass with much thanks to david donaldson & steve roche at mod wheel – arigatou!

Scattered Light 140


Kapiti island, shot 24th August with Canon EOS M infra red modified camera & 22mm lens



Turning Point

Someone emailed me asking: “Which New Zealand movie was, according to you, a turning point in terms of cinema sound (probably one you worked on) – that would be good to know.

The turning point in New Zealand cinema sound for me was created before I was born, by someone so far ahead of his time that we are still catching up with the vast legacy that he left. These need to be seen on celluloid, projected, to really experience them properly (but if you watch them now, please watch full screen)

Len Lye – Free Radicals (1958)

Len Lye – Particles in Space (1957)

Detritus 313

(thanks Gary!)


> Interview with Max Richter


> Some up & coming film composers to keep an ear out for (thanks Peter)


Tunnelblick from Henning M. Lederer on Vimeo.

Tunnelblick – A constricted circular tunnel-like field of vision.
A collaborative project between Rob Clouth (Sound / robclouth.com) and Henning M. Lederer (Visuals / led-r-r.net).


> secret? how secret? (thanks Peter)


(thanks Mick!)


> 10 sounds that changed the course of history


> wow – love this vinyl sticker for your laptop (thanks Guy!)



> Do you ever feel like you are losing the war on clutter? Every so often I get fed up & grab a big plastic bin & go around removing the debris that accumulates… but I am not in the league of these people – yikes!!!


> If Michael Bay Directed Pixar’s Up #more_explosions!


> wow! DIY laser microphones? thanks @TonalGurus


> can’t wait to check out the new Aphex Twin tunes


> This is the opposite to that previous ‘I liked everything on Facebook’ – the benefits of liking nothing


> Iannis Xenakis: Music and Architecture


> interview with Laurie Anderson


> mmmm bioluminescencnt firefly squid


> so Soundcloud now has ads? Rather than hate on the service or option, it is important to remember that like Youtube it is the person who owns the content who decides whether they want ads included in their work. Every time I see an ad on a Youtube video I curse the person who uploaded it – is it really worth the $0.001 that you collect by attempting to monetize your video IF you reach the views threshold?? Because it is making the experience far less pleasant!

It is obviously for each person to decide whether they want inappropriate (and often times fckng dreadful) advertising content jammed in front of their beautiful work… But heres the thing: I have NEVER clicked on an ad on youtube, ever. They have never managed to target ANYTHING at all remotely relevant to me. So if google cant reach me with all their spying, what chance does Soundcloud have?

I’d suspect in the grand scheme of things it is a token effort to please the shareholders & venture capital funders, rather than providing a viable income stream…. But I appreciate some people make a living off monetizing their Youtube videos, so what would I know, other than that I much prefer ad free Vimeo and happily give them my $$$ to remain that way!


> Lastly, apologies if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter & occasionally (??) I promote my own stuff too much… I figure at worst if I ever do that too much, someone will either complain, or simply unfollow me… Its always a fine line and a good example is recent local great film WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, which had a great social media campaign that helped promote a small indie film to the top of the local box office for a few weeks, which is an awesome achievement & of course wouldn’t be possible unless it was a great funny film. But.
If every film had such an intensive social media campaign I think I would stop following anyone & everyone who is promoting their films that way – it was intensive & unrelenting, although thankfully it was also done with some humour… So it requires a balance, hopefully it ebbs & flows… While I have unfollowed people for the same reason, although usually it is because they are promoting something I have no interest in eg I might be kind of inetrested in a musician or band, follow them on twitter, only to discover their twitter presence is solely an endless ad for their new album or whatever – no personal engagement or insight… Anyway if you are interested or have projects to promote online this article is a useful read YMMV.