Over the past month, I have had the pleasure of spending many hours in the Claire Trevor Theater, including four all-night designfests during tech for The Merchant of Venice.Amidst my near-hallucinatory exhaustion, I became very aware (or perhaps convinced myself) that the CTT comes to life at night—at least sonically. One notable “feature”, which actually plagued a couple of the dress rehearsals for Merchant, is the air pressure difference between the inside of the theater and the outdoors. When the correct combination of entrance doors are left open, the air travels very quickly through the doors and creates and eerie humming sound. It's somewhat similar to the use of wind whistling through open doors in David Fincher’s TheGirl with the Dragon Tattoo movie, but on a larger scale.
So I got to thinking that someone ought to record Claire’s diverse sound palette and expansive reverberant space. I got my trusty Sound Devices 702 and a couple of mics and headed in at 11:30 PM on one night. I recorded everything I could get my hands on for about 3 hours: the enormous loading bay door, the incredible booming bass of the concrete stairwell to the catwalks, a chainlink fence of a gear cage, and all sorts of activity in the catwalks including footsteps and various bangs.
Ironically, I was unfortunately unable to capture the air pressure difference sound — I was pretty tired by 2:30AM and I couldn't figure out what combination of doors to open... Bucket list!
I've uploaded a COMPILATION of the recordings that I edited together quickly (I have the full set of edited effects available upon request).
Flood, the group of Long Beach modern-art-impresarios behind SoundWalk, have just announced Merge, an urban art installation set to open in Long Beach on 31 March. The approach is slightly different than SoundWalk in that Merge will be diversifying the curation across area business owners and homeowners and that the artwork will be broader in scope than just sound art.
If you're going to be at the USITT conference in Long Beach this March, you'll be in town to check out Merge! Come on down!
Sound Designers take note: this is research paydirt!
The Wire is reporting that in March, all of Alan Lomax's recordings are going to be available, in their entirety, for free, right here. Currently, the recordings are only available in 45-second snippets.
I can't tell you how much Lomax has meant to me. His work (both on his own and with his father) as an ethnomusicologist) has preserved old musical styles and re-ignited interest in their performance. His field recordings span time, place, and genre, and I've used them in research on many of my designs and scores. The newgrass movement, the resurgence in the folk movement, Moby's album play... they all owe a great deal to Lomax's recordings and scholarship. I can't wait for this collection to come available.