Gale Force #fieldrecording

Sorry for the lack of posts, but this is very likely my modus operandi for the first 8 months of 2012…. Two very good, very creatively demanding films back-to-back equates to not a lot of free time to indulge too many of my other projects… And prioritizing means the films take first priority ALWAYS, HISSandaROAR gets first dibs on ‘free’ time (Tortured Cymbal Library release next week, hopefully!) while one of my 2012 new year resolutions is to release a DUB45 every month (first one for 2012 is very near ready for mastering) and that takes second priority… Then its a dead heat for about a dozen projects for third place, so this post is one of them: some recordings I made last week when the gale force northerly winds that we love & loathe here in Wellington visited for about 16 hours!

Maybe its because I grew up on a farm, but I always check the weather forecast, every morning. I have a distinct childhood memory of my Dad tapping the barometer in the hall (the rhythm of the taps, the reverb, the light in the hall..) so he could know what to plan for work tomorrow when his barometer predictions came true… I autotap a tab in my browser & get similar results, so I knew this Northerly was due & would be literally Gale Force, but I didn’t really plan to record it…. until I heard the roof blow off the warehouse next door….



Of course I’m being overly dramatic – the entire roof didn’t blow off the warehouse. I was working away in my studio & could hear the wind howling outside, but slowly became aware of a synchronous beating every time there was a big gust. And some of these gusts were over 130kmph = white knuckles if, god/jah/buddha forbid you happen to be in a plane landing at the time… The beating kept getting louder until I had to go investigate & in the big warehouse next door used by FUSE CIRCUS it soon became apparent that three sheets of clear corruguated roofing had broken loose & sooner or later were going to break completely free… Back to the studio, grab my brand new pair of MKH8040 mics and my trusty pair of MKH70s, cable them to my 744 & hit record…. These are the first sounds I recorded with the 8040s – what a way to christen them!!!



I love recording multiple perspectives – nothing beats standing listening to some action and acoustically jumping backwards & forwards by 20 metres, at the flick of a monitoring switch! Despite all the soothsaying about the MKH80X0 mics having sub frequency overload issues this was a great test, as the pressure vectors of the huge wind gusts hitting the building & broken roof were a good test. Similarly taking the 8040s in their new tiny Rycotes outdoors later that night proved how amazingly stable they actually are, when tucked amongst the shelter of bushes & shrubs that are taking a beating from these winds…

But before you listen, imagine an alternate reality: look at the waveform of this first phrase & instead of 130kmph northerly gusts, imagine the source of these sounds are a large group of taiko drummers standing on the roof next door, quietly waiting for their cue…



Gale Force Wind INT Warehouse 01 by timprebble


Gale Force Wind INT Warehouse 02 by timprebble


And yes, the best parts of the 2+ hours I recorded in quad will be going into a HISSandaROAR library at some stage, along with some wicked wind in wires I recorded late that night, and ungodly shrieks I recorded even later in a deserted boatyard…. The energy involved in creating these sounds is unimaginable in human scale and people joke about the wind in Wellington but if you live here its a bit like a monster occasionally visits… a monster capable of pulling the roof off!

And its not every day you get to record sounds such as these, but despite them being inanimate objects I figure my new mics just knew they had found their new home, when this was the first sounds they got to listen to…

UPDATE: Apparently winds in the Wairarapa (over the hill from Wellington) hit 159kmh last night!!

2 thoughts on “Gale Force #fieldrecording

  1. Enos Desjardins

    Nice sounds! I’m quite surprised how great those little Sennheisers sound! Such clarity and high frequency detail!

    We had some very windy days here in northern UK some weeks ago so I spent some hours capturing winds too…one of my favourite things to record!

    Good to see another recording post of yours btw and all the best with your projects…all of them!

  2. Pingback: Music of Sound » Recording the largest sub bass generator

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