soundscape and acoustic ecology in the san francisco bay area
BASEbot 005 – Cheryl Leonard’s Antarctic Sound and Music (sound recording)
In 2009, Composer, performer, improviser, recordist and instrument builder Cheryl Leonard travelled to Palmer Station, Antarctica in search of sounds and music. She returned with a wealth of recordings, stories, and materials for building musical instruments. Cheryl shared her work at BASEbot on Feb 21, 2010.
In her own words, Cheryl “creates experimental music using amplified natural objects as instruments.” If you want to get the drift, just imagine improvising a windswept landscape using a penguin bone screwed to driftwood, a contact mic, and a loop of light cotton rope . Or bowed limpet shells. Or evoking a flow of brash ice with resonant stones worn smooth by century after century of nesting penguins.
I encourage you to check out Cheryl’s Antarctic Trip Blog. She’s a fantastic storyteller, and there are a lot of great photos. Being a blog, the first page is the most recent, meaning it’s about the gigs after the trip rather than the trip. So you might start with the First post and work your way forward.
Also see my BASEbot 005 photo set on Flickr.
Cheryl’s main website is www.allwaysnorth.com She’s got an an Antarctic field recordings CD called Chattermarks available for sale there. (or on iTunes)
Thanks to Dan and Sharon for hosting us!
BASEbot 004 – Gordon Hempton (sound recording)
Nature sound recordist Gordon Hempton shares some of his beautiful recordings, and discusses his One Square Inch of Silence project, including his recent book.
BASEbot 003 – James LeBrecht [sound recording]
Sound Designer James LeBrecht shares a few of his most favorite and most personally meaningful sound recordings.
Here’s the setup: Jim is sitting in the center of Dan Dugan’s control panel, with Pro Tools behind him and faders for a quadrophonic monitoring system. On and off, he talks and plays sounds which he’s gathered for the occasion. About twenty people sit, listen and discuss.
We start with sounds from an exhibit installation about hybrid California cultures titled Trading Traditions. Over the course of an hour and a quarter, we hear among other things Foghorns, quad recordings from San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, a Thanksgiving dinner, and evocative insects and frogs.
Later James talks about upcoming projects, including a documentary he’s mixing on the staging of the opera Doctor Atomic. There’s a discussion of the sound of air itself clipping. At around 68 minutes, we go around an mention favorite sounds.
On a technical note: It was a hot evening in San Francisco and we had a fan running during the presentation. Traffic can be heard going by the open doorwas going by, and a band down the street was practicing. This recording documents that soundscape. Where possible I’ve crossfaded from the room mic to a clean recording of the sounds.
BASE Radio: Soundscapes Real and Imagined from the San Francisco Bay Area
Soundscapes Real and Imagined from the San Francisco Bay Area – A two-hour mix of soundscape recordings and compositions native to the San Francisco Bay Area.
A 2-hour sound collage for radio hosted by Jeremiah Moore and Aaron Ximm
Orignally broadcast February 22, 2009 on free103point9.org, an episode of Giant Ear, the radio voice of the New York Society for Acoustic Ecology.
Last August, Jonny Farrow, Ned Mooney and Andrea Polli of our New York-based sister organization New York Society for Acoustic Ecology (NYSAE)  were visiting San Francisco. We had a meet up and mind-meld, out of which came an idea: Could BASE produce a two-hour show for Giant Ear))), NYSAE’s monthly radio program on free103point9.org ?
The theme of our show was very clear from the start: we would focus on the sounds of the place where we live, the greater San Francisco Bay Area. We live in an area full of clear soundmarks and vast contrasts juxtaposed. The Bay shores of Alcatraz Island, the swells of the Pacific on Ocean Beach, the wharves and marinas; the grit and tourist-charm of Chinatown, the ice cream carts and taquerias of the Mission, the sound exhibits of the Exploratorium, the windmill fields of Livermore and Pleasanton. Group social sounds of public ceremony, celebration, protest and everyday life. And closer times like a Mah-Jong game, a family dinner, and the last notes of a funeral dirge. The sounds of getting around, footsteps, subways, cable cars and of course – like everywhere – trucks, cars and planes.
To realize this idea, we called on members of our community to send us their sounds. And we scoured our own libraries for favorite material.
About 45 minutes of our show (from 0:03:34 to 0:53:23) was performed by Jeremiah Moore and Aaron Ximm live on-the-air on Pirate Cat Radio . Thanks to DJ Yuri G for having us on – check out his show Psionic Dehiscence.
In keeping with the “Imagined” part of our concept, in several places we played composed works in their entirety. At 1:18:38 “Sweeper” by Jeremiah Moore, at 1:35:24 “Maritime Suite: Port” and at 1:46:37 “Maritime Suite: Starboard” both by Aaron Ximm.
And so, it’s with great pleasure that I present our program.
Thanks for listening.
San Francisco, Feb 2009
 NYSAE www.nyacousticecology.org
 Free103Point9.org Transmission Arts
 Pirate Cat Radio www.piratecatradio.com
Produced by Jeremiah Moore
Hosted by Aaron Ximm and Jeremiah Moore
Engineered by Jeremiah Moore at Listen Studio, San Francisco
Contributors (alphabetical by first name):
Aaron Ximm [quietamerican.org] – Various field recordings including Bernal hill owls; composed works “Maritime Suite: Port” and “Maritime Suite: Starboard”
Andrew Roth [naturalsounds.org] – “Exploratoraphone” a sound-collage exploration of the sounds of… the Exploratorium
Chris Watson [chriswatson.net] – Three perspectives on windmills near Livermore, CA
Claire Schoen [claireschoenmedia.com] – Two episodes of her radio series Earthtones, on Elephant Seals of Point Año Nuevo and on the Wave Organ
Dan Dugan [dandugan.com] – “May 22, 5:29 AM, West Road of Alcatraz Island. Roost of herons and egrets. Also Western gull, white-crowned sparrow, others.”
David Silberberg [d4doc.com] -Berkeley Traffic, UC Berkeley Campus ambience, Cordonices Creek Berkeley CA.
James Goode – “Belt_Railroad_Tarp” is a field recording made on June 22nd, 2008 near the entrance to Heron’s Head Park. A black and yellow San Francisco Belt Railway diesel locomotive, covered in plastic tarpaulin ripped to shreds in some places, sat idle amongst chest-high weeds and pillaged tracks. I placed a stereo microphone in a
Jeremiah Moore [jeremiahmoore.com] – Various field recordings; composed work “Sweeper” exploring harmonic str[...]
BASEbot 002 – Andrew Roth [sound recording]
Audio: Stories and sounds from Andrew Roth's forthcoming Natural Sounds of Japan
BASEbot 001 – Chris Watson [sound recording]
An hour-long lecture in two parts from field recordist Chris Watson. Part One defines a personal ontology for recordings. Part Two features an in-depth account of recent work with four-channel surround sound hydrophone recording.