I’m just in from a profound couple of hours work. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word “profound” to describe work before. You see, just now my business is mostly AVS, and I needed some nature recordings.

I set off to nearby Percy’s Reserve to get a nice bit of gurgling stream. Since I was last there, they’ve completely changed access to accommodate a motorway expansion. Enter park mildly annoyed. Turn towards accustomed path – closed. Wander up the stream by other means and get a first nice little uninterrupted 5 minutes of gurgling (with considerable duck life), before a gardener wandered by and struck up a noisy conversation. Irritated. Wander up a bit further to find the main waterfall track closed for reconstruction. Decide to do a last little bush and stream recording there and call it a day. 10 minutes in some worker with a two-stroke tractor thing comes thundering along. Quick conversation, permission to go a bit further up, a brief wait for him to go away, and two hours of private, closed off NZ native bush, and the requirement to sit still and quiet.

I learned that if you focus your eyes just the same way you have to with AVS sessions, disinterestedly at infinity, the bush takes on a new and surreal, intensely 3D perspective, with no point of focus but everything distinct. Realised how rich the bush-sound was and relocated recorder to get more bush with less stream.

It’s a while since I’ve sat alone, silent, beside a bush stream. The places I go with AVS are good. Really good. But they are no substitute for the real thing, and just a little bit of the real thing refreshes the whole memories, so that the fantasy forms are just that much richer.

I’ve got a good couple of hours recording, from which probably a dozen 5-10 minute intrusion free segments will be extracted. I’m looking forward to including the soundtracks in future sessions.

There’s no words for just how healing and refreshing that short time was. There I was wanting running water sounds, and the little sun-dappled turn in the stream turned into native bird central – wood pigeons, tuis, fantails, others whose names I don’t know, and though you can’t hear them, zillions of what I believe are Red Admiral butterflies.

Now I’m getting annoyed at how hard it is to get files off the iPod. The iPod made its way out of the “corner of shame” because, with the Blue Mikey, it’s the best field recorder I currently have – it doesn’t seem to be able to do anything, though, without running into uniquely iPod “do it the Apple way” hurdles.


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  • Dinsdale Turpentine  On March 29, 2010 at 8:09 pm


    Have you ever tried, built, or heard of a Mitch Altman DIY Mind Machine?

    A claim I’ve read is that it makes you hallucinate. Nothing I’ve tried with AVS thus far has caused me to have what I’d call a hallucination. Curious as to if you have?

    • CraigT  On March 29, 2010 at 9:00 pm

      Never that particular variant, but a few similar ones. With many factors involved, it’s surprising what can be accomplished with repetitive flashing lights.

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