A multi-disciplinary journey in music, sound, and field recording.

Doors, and Saying No

Posted: July 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: field recording, found sound objects

Mmm, so many tasty, carcinogenic choices.

Like over 100 other field recordists, I signed up for Tim Prebble’s crowdsourced special effects library of doors from around the world on his boutique effects label, Hiss and a Roar.

Unfortunately, due to extenuating circumstances, I had to bow out of the project, and a number of other side-projects. (Saying “no” is a powerful tool to help rein in your life from your own over-committal. Just do it early enough.)

However, one of the more interesting doors I did manage to record was the hinged front panel of an all-metal, 1970’s-era cigarette vending machine. This thing lives in my office, inherited from previous tenants. It’s too big to get rid of, and too odd and ironic to let go of, since none of us smoke. This object has been heard here before.

In honor of the awesome work everyone has done on this upcoming release, today’s sound is a fragment of my own aborted contribution, in the hopes that everyone will support Hiss and a Roar and pick up the collection when it’s released.


[Sennheiser MKH 50/30 mid-side stereo pair with into Sound Devices 702 recorder]

Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

8 Comments on “Doors, and Saying No”

  1. 1 Benoit Tigeot said at 11:23 am on July 22nd, 2010:

    Why did you record the sound with lots of reverb/acoustic ?

  2. 2 Nathan said at 1:19 pm on July 22nd, 2010:

    Benoit, that was the space it was in, and it was too heavy to move. It would have taken about six sound blankets to decrease the reverb of the room, which is several more than I usually have…plus, this was in the field, so I usually don’t have a bunch of sound blankets with me most of the time. :-)

  3. 3 Colin Hart said at 5:04 pm on July 24th, 2010:

    I too had to bow out of that project. Here here on the power of saying no! I recently just got out of a period of being way too overcommitted. My life was non-existent, and it crushed my self-motivation. I’m just now learning when to say no.

    Awesome recording though. Cool little piece of furniture / decoration as well :-) Interesting that you work in an office full of people that don’t smoke. I know only a handful of people that don’t smoke here (including myself).

  4. 4 Nathan said at 8:23 pm on July 24th, 2010:

    Well said and well done, Colin! It’s vitally important to keep Real Life in perspective. The times I’ve been the least creative are those when I’ve been the most tired and overworked. I’m down with long days, as long as they’re balanced with being outside, getting other stuff done, and good long-term pacing. Life shouldn’t be a sprint 24/7!

  5. 5 VCProd said at 9:50 am on July 26th, 2010:

    Oh those doors. I almost had to bow out, but some free time on a business trip gave me the chance to finish.

    You might want to contact these folks : http://www.artomat.org/ about that cig machine. They have a very cool project that vends little pieces of art from them in venues around the US (maybe the world).

  6. 6 Mike Niederquell said at 10:24 pm on July 28th, 2010:

    I almost bounced on the project. It was actually a lot of work for me considering I am already employed. Never the less, I can’t wait to get my hands on a freebie seals library!

  7. 7 Rob said at 12:23 am on August 5th, 2010:

    I don’t think this is right. Sorry if I seem to come off as a dick here, but I really wanted to be part of that door project, as I’ve got heaps of amazing stuff I’ve recorded over the years. I missed the boat by a few entries. Why would you take it on, and then bail out, if you knew you had other stuff to do? I think the right attitude to have would have been to knuckle down and get the sounds done if you had committed to doing them. A few less hours of sleep and a few extra cups of coffee. It was only ten sounds.

    Anyways, wrt the cigarette machine sounds. I actually like the sound of the space. It gives it placement and character. One can always gate it if need be. I’d have also tried to contact mic the body and ecu the impact points with a mono Schoeps 641 or similar hyper.

  8. 8 Nathan said at 7:38 am on August 5th, 2010:

    @Rob: First, this was not a paid gig. If it was, there would be a 100% commitment to completion; there’s no other way to be a professional. Second, it wasn’t just ten sounds: It was ten doors, each with a fair number of variations, and it took about an hour to get through a good session’s worth of takes for a single door if one were to follow Tim’s (exact and very well-documented) specifications. Finally, at the time I volunteered, my schedule started out just fine, and other concurrent projects started to balloon in scope in parallel, which was not under my control. I bowed out the moment things got dicey, quite early into the effort; it’s not like I jumped ship at the 11th hour. I know of many other perfectly professional folks who were in the same boat as I was on this effort, and to my knowledge none of them jeopardized the project by stepping out with honesty and transparency. You’re welcome to have handled the situation differently if you were in my shoes. I’m glad you liked the sounds, and thanks for the mic suggestions, definitely good ideas.


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