Reading Soundcapes for Recordists and Listeners

An unedited soundscape recording is usually dismissed as having no ‘content’ or meaning due to its lack of visual information or seemingly typical setting. On the contrary, a soundscape recording can contain plenty of information and meaning that we perhaps have not trained our ears to hear. There are several compositional elements that can make up the 'content' of an audio recording. Some of the most common elements of a soundscape recording are layering, live improvisation, and time. Usually the combination of these elements actively by the recordist, or passively by the listener will result in a interactive, content-rich recording. A soundscape recordist tries to paint a picture in your mind to connect you to the ‘place’ and on a deeper level, to reveal the emotion and intention of the recordist, or subject. The clearer the picture is in your mind, the closer you are to the ‘place’ and ultimately the meaning of the recording.

的音景音通常被摒弃,被认为是没有"内容"或者意的声音,因缺少视觉信息,或者看似典型的环境背景。而事实是,一个音景录音包含大量的信息和意义,只是未经训练的听众无从辨识。一个音频录音的"内容"通常由一些组合元素构成。最常见的元素包括声音的层次、现场即兴创作还有时间。这些元素通常是由录音师有意识地主动在收音时进行编排组合,或者是听众被动接收到的信息,这些构成了一个交互式的、内容丰富的录音。每个音景录音师都尝试通过录音在听众脑海里勾勒一幅画面,将听众和"那个地方"更深层地联结起来,从而表现录音师本人或者是被收音主体的情感和意图。听众脑海里的画面越是清晰,听众和"那个地方"的距离也就越近,对录音的理解也就越深。

Listen | 聆听:
New Students
From 60 Minute Cities- Mianyang
邓丽君和拐棍老人(2016年录于南山公园)
朱鹏

Soundcloud
虾米

Layering is something that every field recording has in some way. Whether it is to emphasize it or not, there is always a description of depth in every recording. The recording above is an amazing example of layering. The chanting of army-like drills initially emanates from right next to the recordist, after this group is dismissed another distant group count together and then followed by another group even farther in the campus. The depth of this recording is amazing and helps paint and vivid image of the surroundings. An immense sense of space can be discerned within this recording. The use of layers can bring you into the recording so you can 'see' more of the aural image making the recording 3 dimensional giving it a sense of space, depth, and directionality.

声音的次是每一个音里都能听到的,尽管程度不一。不强调还是其他原因,每一个音都会有对声音深浅的表。上面这个录音就包含典型的声音层次。军事训练的反复叫喊声最初是从录音师身旁发出,这个队伍解散之后,又听到远处的另一个队伍一齐报数的声音,接着是在校园里更远的地方的其他队伍的声音。这个录音的层次处理就非常明显,勾勒出关于周围环境的一幅生动画面。通过这个录音可以听到一种强烈的空间感。声音的分层让听众融入录音本身,真切"看到"更多的听觉图像,增加录音的三维立体感,赋予声音空间、深度和方向性。

Listen | 聆听:
邓丽君和拐棍老人(2016年录于南山公园)
朱鹏

Dropbox
虾米

Live improvisation during a recording is where the recordist composes a scene with as little interference to the action as possible during the entire length of the recording. A successful improvised recording involves a recordist actively improvising with his surroundings or passively letting his surroundings interact with him to 'compose' the track. The audio track above is a good example of both active and passive improvisation. It begins with the recordist following an old man with a speaker attached to his person while he walks with a cane. The recordist leaves him and the radio is swallowed by the sounds of a street sweeper that slowly approaches him and finishes the recording beautifully. Although the recordist cannot be heard, his composition suggests his movement in a subtle way. It is a beautifully choreographed piece. The recordist still maintains his distance from the recording, but actually he is right next to you. He is in fact, you.

录音过程中的现场兴创指的是录音师在整个录音过程中,在尽可能避免干扰收录主体声音的情况下,进行自己的声音创作。一个成功的即兴创作录音要求录音师主动和周围环境互动,或者被动让环境里的声音进入收录的声音里,从而"创作"这个录音的声音。上面这个音频就是主动和被动即兴创作录音的成功作品。录音一开始,录音师跟随着一个拄着拐杖行走的老人,并将麦克风放在老人身上。随后录音师不再跟随,麦克风被慢慢走进的一位清洁工发出的声音填满,而后完美地结束这个录音。尽管全程听不到录音师发出的声音,他对声音来源的选取却微妙地展现了他在过程中的位置变换。这是编排精美的一个作品。录音师看似一直保持着和声音的距离,但是又像一直在你的跟前。他,就是你。

Listen | 聆听:
Lujiazui
By Bivouac Recording

Soundcloud
虾米

Sound can only exist in time. Time, is the ultimate challenge for a sound recordist to capture. This is not an 'interpretation' of time, but 'capturing' of time itself within the context of the place being recorded. The challenge and the art of soundscape recording is to capture something non-visual with something non-visual- to think abstractly about something rooted in reality. These sounds can be obvious much like the example above in which time is noted by the distant clock across the Huangpu River in Shanghai suddenly ringing telling the current time, or it can be more abstract and suggestive such as recording the season of winter within one recording such as in this recording of melting snow in Vancouver.

声音只能存在于时间里。时间,是每一个师在捕捉声音的过程中面对的最大挑战。这不是声音对时间的"解读",而是在录音空间场景里对时间本身的"捕捉"。用非视觉的方式捕捉一些非视觉的事物,是抽象地思考一些根植于现实的东西,这是挑战,也是音景的艺术。这些声音可以是非常明显的,就像上面这个音频里的一样,远处上海黄浦江对面的大时钟播报当时的时间,让听众直观感知到时间的声音,又或者,它也可以是抽象的,暗示性的,比如这个温哥华融雪的声音所展现的冬季的声音。

Listen | 聆听:
Melting Snow - Trout Lake
Adrian Dziewanski

Soundcloud
虾米

The creative use of one or the combination of these elements allow the recordist and listener to engage and interact with the recording. For the recordist, understanding these elements help give meaning and direction to their recordings and how they hear. For the listener, Using these elements to visualize the complete scene being recorded and allow you, if you dare, to dive deeper into the scene to seek more abstract meanings, emotions, and connections. In the old man and the street sweeper track, the symbolic fading of the old man could be further interpreted to suggest death and the sound of sweeping the waves crashing on the shores to the threshold of life beyond. The goal is to regard what you hear as something concrete and tangible. By training the ear and mind to listen and interact with these elements, the recording is no longer an empty and meaningless recording of a typical scene, rather, it waits to immerse you in a new world to create and make real.

通过创造性地使用一个或几个上面提到的元素组合,录音师和听众参与到录音的声音里,或者是发生互动。录音师通过理解这些元素给予录音意义和方向,以及决定听众如何去聆听这些声音。而听众根据这些元素勾勒出声音收录场景的完整画面,并且,更勇敢的听众,甚至可以走向这些场景的深处,寻找那些抽象的意义、情感还有联结。在上面的老人和清洁工的录音里,老人声音的标志性淡去,从更深地层面上可以理解为死亡的暗示性;清扫工清扫地面时扫帚撞击路缘的声音暗示着生活里的门槛和界线等等。这些理解的目的都是把听到的声音具体化,形象化。通过训练聆听时耳朵的敏感度和心的感受,和这些录音里的元素互动,这些声音就不再是空洞的、没有意义的、只能表现一个典型场景的声音了,而是等待着让你沉浸到一个新的世界,去创造意义,把虚无变成真实。

[P.S. It must be said that one can only plan so much of a soundscape recording. The elusive and rogue element of serendipity- that single event that magnetizes all the elements to form a complementary piece- magically steps into our recording. Recordists and listeners need to listen for these and be ready to let it open new, hidden doors that tear apart the canvas we have just painted to reveal something even more amazing.]

【注:不得不说的是,每个录音师在一个音景录音里只能编排有限的元素。有时候难以捉摸的、非平常的意外巧合也会神奇般地出现 有时候我们也会在单一录音场景里听到包含上述所有元素,互相补充的声音。录音师和听众需要在聆听的时候去寻找这些,随时准备好跟随声音去开启新的、被隐蔽的门,就像撕扯开刚刚在脑海里勾勒完画面的画布,揭开可能会看到一些更令人惊奇的东西。】

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