Nearly a couple weeks ago now, my classmate Zhoro and I went on a soundwalk around Dundee to record ambient audio clips for our weekly university task. After waiting for our Zoom H4Ns to slowly power on – in Zhoro’s case with his 128gb SD card slotted into the H4N’s ten-year old hardware, the wait was painfully five minutes long – and we set off. It took us a minute to find where to go. My fingers were already cold from waiting for the gigabyte-beast to awaken; fumbling around trying to get my phone working with touchscreen gloves proved futile. Luckily Zhoro had the map saved from our university’s learning portal, and we started to follow it. Loosely.
My excuse for failing to follow the preset path was not out of any rebellion or spite, but because it was bloody freezing and my fight-or-flight instincts started to kick in and Zhoro walks faster than me.
The headphones I use to monitor audio are a little finicky, but once I have them untangled and in my ears, they provide a pretty honest representation of what I’m wanting to listen to. The only issue? They are incredibly sensitive. A motorbike revved its engine whilst I listening through my recorder’s audio inputs, and based off the ringing I heard for the subsequent ten or twenty minutes after, I was walking around with my levels all wrong. I think I passed away for a brief moment; that revving noise has perturbed the deepest depths of my dark, dark soul, etching an unceasingly intense reminder for myself to always check audio levels and playback volume prior to and throughout recording. Of course, this seems obvious, but clearly not obvious enough for whatever version of me walked past Nisa and shat a brick large enough to need planning permission. Thankfully, I hadn’t started to record by that point and promptly quashed my whoopsie.
In the end, we managed to pull a few good sound clips that could be used for some ambient Dundonian noise, local walla and all! While some of the clips were duds due to accidental peaking, Dundee’s consistent car droning, and illegible shouts of passers-by, I managed to get a good few sounds. I have since compiled them into a single track.