20 July 2011

The half-baked baguette worked as a perfect host for my NT55 Rode microphone. Previous recordings of pigeons at the canal had been distorted due to the loud sounds coming from the nearby factory and also the canal, in particular the weir.

The pigeons took a little coaxing, (there was already a pile of bread crumbs left by someone else to compete with!) to feed off the baguette microphone, but once they started it was a challenge to get them to stop and they quickly found the microphone.

I wanted to record the sounds of pigeons feeding and was inspired by Chris Watson, at a course organised by Wild Eye. He spoke about his time in the dessert recording the sound of vultures feeding off a dead zebra carcass and how he had successfully added a microphone to the skeleton.

I walk along the canal and see the pigeons everyday, if they have been left food they tear it apart, so it is more manageable to eat, by flinging it with their beaks, fighting off seagulls and other birds. I wanted to record this intimate sound, but what I got was a muffled recording. The hum of the factory, the occasional snort, squeak and wing flap from a pigeon, but mainly an aggressive pecking which sounded like an attack on the microphone.  This wasn’t the best way to record pigeons feeding, the microphone had an omni-directional head on it, so no matter where the pigeon was feeding from, its ‘peck’ could be heard.  Perhaps next time I need to use a clip tie microphone attached to the baguette or make a frame for it to sit in above the bread to be able to take a more realistic and clear recording.

Listen to baguette microphone approx 2.30 mins

Lucy Stevens’ artistic practice examines the acoustic ecology of the natural environment, using field recording, digital illustration, performance and printmaking as a tool to visualise sound produced by wildlife, weather and other natural phenomena.

4 comments on “Baguette microphone

  1. Pingback: Project Pigeon talk at The New Art Gallery Walsall « Lucy Stevens' audio projects

  2. Pingback: Exchange Bar art exhibition « Lucy Stevens' audio projects

  3. Pingback: Cross processed | Walk With Me

  4. Pingback: Cross-processed « Lucy Stevens' audio projects

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