Disquiet Junto 0218 Sound Passage

The Junto this week was "guest-crafted" by Kate Carr, an Australian recording artist whose writing I know from Cyclic Defrost and whose recordings I've seen Mark enthuse about on Disquiet.com.

My understanding of the assignment was it involved exploring proximity. Specifically how sounds change based on distance, not so much through the proximity effect where they're exaggerated by types of microphones, rather, how they change through the landscape.

One of the distinct sounds of Leeton, the town I've been living in since 2009, is the Rice Co-operative facility. It's part of SunRice, the global brand whose headquarters is still based here, as well as being a major employer.

When I first moved here I lived across the carpark from Woolworths and I mistook the hum of the Rice Co-op as originating from their supermarket. About a year later I moved closer to the Co-op and realised the hum originated from the massive facility that runs almost continuously.

The Co-op is also brightly lit at night and I've often taken photographs of it, see here and here. It also can be heard in my soundtrack for the Reimagining The Murrumbidgee exhibition. So it seemed a good candidate for the Junto this week.

I explored proximity by moving away from the Co-op in three recordings, starting at the Railway Avenue end of Brady Way and moving toward the disused train station. Each location contributes about 40 seconds to the final two-minute piece.

When I got to the spot where I wanted to record, there was a diesel train warming up behind me. The intermittent hisses from its engine seemed to respond to those hisses from the Rice Co-op. I considered recording it but decided it would mess with my video, as I could only show one side of their conversation.

The first location is opposite a building that is closed during the day but often open at night. I suspect they close it during the day to hide that it's packed with dog food. You can smell it at times but I often think it's better to smell dog food than to live near somewhere like the Cadbury factory in Birmingham and constantly crave chocolate.

The other week when my air-conditioner broke and the heat made sleeping difficult, my son and I walked past the open door early one morning and he observed that the brand was 'working dog food' or something. He suggested it was for dogs who wore ties and collars, rather than the kelpies and blue heelers used to round up sheep. It's a cute image.

You can hear in my recording that, as I moved between the first and second locations, the hum changes a bit. Then it grows quieter at the third location, and crickets can be heard along with the mosquitoes whose numbers are nearing their apex as the warmer months come to a close.

The audio was recorded with a Rode NT4 and a Zoom H4n, with some finessing using UAD effects. The video recording was made with a Nikon D5100 camera and 50mm lens.