Prop shopping

I love shopping for sound props, but I hate leaving a great junk store empty handed which is what happened in Picton at the start of my road trip – I spent half an hour hunting through a usually reliable junk store & just wasn’t feeling it… I dunno, maybe it was my mood or something… But every time I visit my parents sooner or later I head to Overflow in Mayfield with great expectations. The benchmark was set high by finding & buying the marimba there, but every visit excites me…

After my recent visit you’ve already seen the funky turntable I scored, but here’s another photo of it:
(I love that it has an adaptor for 45s built in)


During this visit the SWISH TWO library was very present in my mind, so I was looking for sound generators that could be swung through the air…. and I found these two:


I wasn’t quite sure of what their original purpose was but the shiny metal cylinder looked like it had done hard work, and with a little help from the supporting chain rang like a bell… Turned out it was from the physio department of a local hospital, presumably patients have been hoisting themselves up using these for the last many decades, and they sound great flying through the air with a flick of the wrist to activate them…

Next was this (my iPhone 5 is included in the shot for scale)


They had a few of them – I thought they were a beautifully rendered prop until I tried to pick one up. This one must weight 20kg and turns out they were from a bridge – Jan, the owner of Overflow said she had tried to buy the bolts too but the farmer who had them kept those for weights on the front of his tractor. Not sure of its exact sonic purpose, other than as a heavy duty projectile for an update to the TORTURED WOOD library, smashing its way through layers of wood….

Next was a hammer, which I bought purely due to its exquisite shape. I am not sure what it was used to hammer but I simply love the design & shape of it


And this old tin kettle is so resonant, it might as well have a sign on it saying “PLEASE CONTACT MIC ME!


Next discovery was this pair:


I think they are called ‘cramp-ons’ – strap them on to your boots & you can presumably climb up ice. These are antique, Italian and are adjustable to fit any boot size – I figured one day they might be useful for foley for such environments/action but are also interesting in a close up complex metal way – need to perform metal monster jaws? or complex metal clatters? Or something….

And lastly, a couple of beautiful retro visual props: this small tin which apprently contained the ribbon for a Burroughs typewriter (the back of the tin says Burroughs Limited, Lower Hutt so they must have had an official branch office there back in the day) – love the type on the side of the tin…


And a map book of the North Island of New Zealand dating back to the 1950s, produced by Europa petrol/oil company – I LOVE the design & colour choices!!





And almost forgot one more sound prop: a set of chimes – apparently each bell was taken from an old clock… suspect these might get dopplered too…


Small town junk stores are the best! This eclectic collection was the best $100 I ever spent!


Demonic Gulls

While I was in Picton waiting for the ferry I went & got some orange roughy (fish) for lunch and when I threw some chips out the window suddenly dozens of ravenous gulls appeared… so I got my camera & mics out & threw most of the rest to them…. I’ve always thought slowed down gulls sound a bit like what I imagine some dinosaurs might sound like, have a listen….


Detritus 346


Acid in your browser (works best in Chrome)


▶ new version of essential plug LowEnder released



▶ the best war sounds EVER!



▶ an incredible archive of Alan Lomax recordings


▶ yeech… YouTube is using loudness normalisation – I can understand why if the author of the work is audibly unskilled, but WTF is there no bypass for people who know what they are doing with audio levels???


▶ “what doesnt evolve stays in the realm of nostalgia” – wise words from the mighty Adrian Sherwood


▶ Inside Track: Björk’s Vulnicura (thanks Peter!)


▶ more info on this fantastic project


▶ vodka under a microscope = art!


emptyset – Collapse (thanks Jason!)


▶ check out Andrew Birds beautiful Echolocations project (thanks Greg)


more info here


▶ etch a sketch meets zen garden?


▶ i like these onion style funny music industry news items eg
– Punk scientists discover fourth chord
– Native Instruments offering failed DJ career with every purchase


▶ BBC are currently airing a series of beautiful audio works by Chris Watson – check them out here
(thanks Michael & Audrius!)


Isaac Newton vs Rube Goldberg from 2D House on Vimeo.


Monochromatic Tele Tubbies + Joy Division via


▶ Handy: use any controller with Pro Tools via the m audio protocol – via We do Sound Design community forum


▶ Hear why Harry Bertoias sonambient art still resonates (thanks Peter)



video : RYOICHI KUROKAWA, sound : AOKI takamasa


Vanishing Point



shot in Cloudy Bay with Canon 5DmkIII and Zeiss Distagon 21mm ZE lens