Music Retreat #3

Got back late last night after four days of healthy attitude adjustment, re-energising, chilling out & occasionally drinking too much! Weather was good, changeable as it always is in the north of this country.. and we got to check out quite a few places I had never been before (and one or two that I will definitely be back to, as soon as possible) This was the house, way up a drive on a no-exit road:

Fantastic views! It was so relaxing to watch the day change & then as dusk set in, to watch the colour drain out of the sky….

Below is my temporary studio; it was the only drag of having to first fly to Auckland ie I couldn’t take speakers with me; I hit my 20kg baggage limit as it was due to camera gear/tripod etc…. but my little Yamaha SK1XG keyboard fitted in my suitcase. Its a damn handy little MIDI keyboard, velocity sensitive, cheap, small… the built in sounds won’t win any awards but who cares! And it might not look so 2001-ish as those new Korg nanokeyboards, but I bet mine is more playable!

I didn’t do much writing music as such, because I am following my own advice & shifting modes from creating to finishing tracks with the very clear aim of releasing some music in the near future… but that view was great for staring at the horizon, listening to work-in-progress & trying to be either objective or totally caught up in it all… Progress, its all progress! Relatedly while away I finished an excellent book which I can’t reccomend highly enough to anyone working in a creative field. Its called Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils & Rewards of Art Making (by David Bayles & Ted Orland) and here is just a few of the invaluable quotes I scribbled down as I was reading it:

“development is a progression of decreasing possibilities”

“perfect is the enemy of good; to require perfection is to invite paralysis”

“courting approval, even that of peers, puts a dangerous amount of power in the hands of the audience. The only pure communication is between you and your work…”

and one that is true of life in every way:

‘The answers you get depend upon the questions you ask’
Thomas Kuhn

My travel buddies were dear friends, one of whom is a D.O.P. & animator while the other is a picture editor, so it was pretty usual that if there was anything visually beautiful happening we’d be shooting it in three or four formats! Sitting on the table is a fully kitted out HD camera while the beauty on the tripod is a Beualiu super 8mm film camera… There were more than a few times when we were all shooting timelapse & it was like being stuck inside an erratic clock shop!

This beach was just one of the many beautiful spots nearby…
have a listen, this was recorded standing on the waters edge:
download mp3 1.5MB

And heres what the wideshot sounds like:
download mp3 1.2MB

Whenever I record the sea I always try to do a close up recording as well as a wide perspective, my reasoning being that if a film ever has a scene set on a beach they will tend to avoid recording dialogue on the waters edge for fear it will end up having to be replaced with ADR… There is also something very evocative & calming in the distant sound of a beach… as Walter Murch once said “sometimes I am recording space with a sound in it, rather than sound in a space” – the evocative & useful nature of that sound is in the space, as much as the sound…

And a few other places we went:

And yet…. I couldn’t be happier to be back in the studio!
I missed my subwoofer

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