Our world is full of two kinds of noise, natural noise and man-made noise. Factory noise is something the world did not hear until the dawn of the industrial revolution two centuries ago. Electric motor driven machinery whines and hums. Plumbing swooshes while trains, cars and planes pass by.
It can be music to the ears if listened in the right context, if the noises are interesting and blended together well. The whirring of machinery can transfix a listener like a meditative ohm.
One night I was staying in Crockett, California next to a sugar refinery I remeber passing on the interstate a thousand times. I had never bothered to pull off here at the gateway to the East Bay as the Carquinez Bridge signifies one is entering the Bay Area nearing final destination, and eminent traffic congestion.
Now, I was pulling off and spending the night in a house a quarter mile up the hill from the refinery. The whirring of the plant was smooth and mezmorizing. The occasional train horn was a bit loud, but added interest to the listening experience, while the cars on the interstate bridge were practically inaudible adding a taste of tire sound the noise floor.
I left the windows open in the bedroom for a listen and had a good night’s sleep.
Come morning I wished I had recorded it, but knew I would be back with a pair of my favorite microphones the next visit.
The next visit was a peaceful night of still weather–perfect for an all-night noise recording.
The mics and recorder were set up in a bedroom window on the far side of the house (in case I snored or got up in the night) pointing North and down toward the factory.
In the morning I was happy to see the recorder’s red light still engaged. I shut it off, and packed up the gear and hit the road. Later, I pulled up the audio at the studio for listening review. It was better than my recollection of that night. There is something about listening back to ambience that is different, and perhaps more interesting than when it is occuring around oneself in real time. This seemed to be the case. I went to task listening through the entire ten hour clip occasionally removing little things that pull the listener out of the moment, like dog barks, close insects, or nearby birds.
It may or may not be be music, but it is an interesting listen. I talk with people who listen to to less music nowadays. Perhaps it’s the amount of great music already listened too, perhaps newer music is less interesting to them, perhaps these and other factors create a craving for minimalist audio listening. Thanks to Youtube for creating a platform to share such audio, but even better for extremely long playback times. There was no way to publish and easily share a ten hour audio work before 2012 in the history of audio. This is a good thing for creators and listeners world wide. Through the broad reach of the YouTube platform, interested people (e’hem…fans) who are like noise, knitting or whatever can find their people of the niche.
The uses people have for listening to noise for ten hours go beyond imagination. Take a peek at the comment fields, and you will see pepole using noise to get a better night’s sleep. mask the sound of noisey roomates at night, study or concentrate, meditate, burn in (break in) new headphone and much more.
There it is, uploaded to the dalesnale YouTube channel. Another noisey sound video, this one in the man-made sounds playlist category. There is also electronically (computer generated) noise, natural ambience on the channel, along with traditional music recording and sound production, recreation, and dog videos. If I find it interesting and relevant to my life, work and artistic creation, and am able to capture it in audio and/or video, then it goes onto the channel.
Check out the channel and see what’s new in noise.