This project is situated in Drumshinnagh, Swinford, Co. Mayo on my family farm, run by my father. It is in North Mayo, about three miles outside… Read More
This project is situated in Drumshinnagh, Swinford, Co. Mayo on my family farm, run by my father. It is in North Mayo, about three miles outside the local town in a rural area. It’s a small farm with only 15 cows, and consists mainly of a slatted house which is indoor housing for cows for the winter months, a hayshed where we keep our turf, and many fields. The location is our old family home which my family moved from 24 years ago, half of the house still stands and is connected to the slatted house.
I chose this place as I thought it would be interesting to record the area in the winter. In spring it is full of life and energy, but in winter it can be lonely. My father spends much of his time down there completely alone, so I thought it would be interesting to hear the sounds that he listens to everyday in the dead of winter. It is quiet a lonely area; even the cows are very quiet. It is still winter, so the animals are housed which made it easier to record them.
I decided to record in day and night to get a better grasp of the place. I found it easier to record at night in the dark as sounds seemed more eerie and therefore I was more sensitive to sounds. I also recorded during the day. I have used largely unprocessed sounds due to the raw, natural sounds that occurred there. I thought the effects of the arrangement and mixing of the sounds would be enough of a distortion and that anything too complicated might take away from the sounds.
How I recorded:
I recorded this piece primarily using two microphones (a Sennheiser e825 s and a shot gun microphone which I thought would be useful to record the animals and my dad with as it has a narrow sensitivity area) and a Marantz Solid State Recorder PMD661.
How I gave the piece structure:
While I was aware that this piece might become quiet documentary type, I still wanted it to have a strong focus on the sounds and not simply an A to B story of a day or two on the farm. I wanted to capture the mood more so than a linear narrative of the farms activities.
How I mixed:
I mixed using Adobe Audition Suite because I don’t have a MAC or Protools. Before doing anything with my clips I made sure that they peaked at a maximum of 6 disciples though normalization process on Audition. As part of the rain clip I made sure to record the background noise while it wasn’t raining so I was able to take a noise sample and use adaptive noise reduction to isolate the sound of the rain drops. Throughout the soundscape I made use of the pan effect, this allows the listener to experience the sounds in a 3 dimensional way. I found it was prudent to use the fade in/fade out effect on many of my clips to make them seamlessly flow in the timeline.
D) List of Principle Sound Sources:
January 1st 2012
1. Cow eating cabbage and silage in slatted house at night. – Went down with dad after dinner when he was giving the cows scrap food and putting the silage out for the night.
2. The “crush” opening and closing. – Metal structure to trap cows if the vet needs them to stay still or if they need to be milked for a calf they have rejected.
3. Gate Opening.
4. A beer keg cut in half rolling on concrete that my dad uses for height.
5. My father’s voice calling a cow over that’s a week overdue to calf.
6. A cow peeing!
7. The huge door of the slatted house opening and closing.
8. Dad shovelling the ground moving excess silage, against concrete.
9. Filling a bucket of water.
10. The light switch of the slatted house.
11. A general night time ambiance recording of the entire building.
12. The distant sound of the traffic on what used to be the main Dublin road, but has been bypassed.
13. The sound of my dad getting into the tractor.
14. Trying to start the tractor.
15. The sound of dad checking a new fence he put up.
16. Dad walking with a bucket of calf nuts.
17. Calf eating nuts from a bucket. Read Less