144: Camping sites are clean and have bear-proof lockers


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In mid-August, I spent about a week camping. The majority of the time I was at Mancos State Park. There was a no-burn order for the entire state, so most nights I would sit and read and write until my solar-powered lights grew dim, listen to music via my phone while watching the stars appear in the sky, and I also would sit, drink a beer, and listen to the sounds of the park. My campsite was about two miles from the edge of the Arapaho Forest, about ten miles from Mesa Verde National Park, and an hour in the car from Durango, CO.

There are two main aspects of this piece, a stereo recording from just outside my tent, and a series of midi files. The title is from one of the reviews of the campsites, a very apt description.

In the recording, you can hear the zipping of the tent, me walking away, opening a beer, the talking, coughing, of the family at the next campsite, pickup trucks slowly driving by, as well as the choir of crickets, cicadas, and other nighttime creatures waking up. The midi files were derived from bits of text I wrote while camping. The voice recording of the text was converted to midi files via a free online tool, and then edited and transformed to use with a variety of virtual instruments (flute, tuba, harp, piano, and a Viking synth emulation). The original audio was also used to trigger midi notes using the voices threshold to open/close a midi note.

This was all a very complicated way of creating a random, but a purposeful instrumental accompaniment to the sounds of camping at Mancos State Park (I might even call the musical sections sonification of text, that that just sounds too clever/academic).

If you liked episode 144 you may also enjoy these past episodes:

Episode 124: While Line Fever
The sounds and feelings of driving and driving and driving and driving and driving and driving and driving, while the mind wanders.

Episode 093: Field Notes
A collage of binaural and stereo field recordings: a walk in Mount Vernon, NY; a recording from my backyard as I trim a few trees; a recording alongside the a man-made lake near Highway 44 in suburban St. Louis; a recording of a walk back to work after lunch; among others. The tones are made through using a tone gate on the recordings, so when the wind creates a bit of mic noise, it is joined by tones and cords.

Episode 012: Central Park, Snow
A binaural field recording of walking in Central Park after a snow storm. I start at the edge of the park, so there is some traffic noise. Once I enter the park there are horses, families playing, people talking and eventually me walking in Strawberry Fields covered in 8 inches of snow. It was a windy day, so there is some wind noise.

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