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It is shocking how hard it is to find quiet places. Our planet is completely rumbling of humans machines. It does not matter where it is, in the ocean on land or in the sky. The situation just goes worse every year.
But „quiet nature“ is not „nothing“. It can be a glorious soundscape with lot of details that can be really wonderful to listen. That is one of the reasons why „quiet nature“ is my favorite recording material. It is hard to find and always difficult to record.
It is a luck to get a nice recording of ¨quiet nature“ It must be all in one, right place, correct time and specific calm weather.
Most of Iceland is without trees or forest. It is mostly bare open landscape so sound can travel in long distances. Sometimes is it possible to hear traffic up to 30 km away. So just one car can cover a huge area with noise pollution for a long time.
In October 2013 I was recording over night in Stafholtsunga, west Iceland. I located the microphones in a ditch to avoid traffic noise as much as possible. But traffic noise all over the county and air conditioner at nearby farm infected this recording most of the time.
The recording starts between 6 and 7am.
If you have quality headphones and sound card you will hear many other things than noise. You will hear in several bird species like raven, starling and swans and birds activity near the microphones. Also barking dog, sheep and horses in distance. You will hear some dripping sound from the groundwater in the ditch. Gust will also gently weep grass and nearby bush.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at low level in relaxed position.

Dögun í Stafholtstungu, fyrsti hluti

Það er orðið skelfilegt hversu erfitt er að komast í „náttúrulega þögn“ án vélrænna hljóða frá manninum. Það skiptir engu hvar maður er og á hvaða tíma dags, hávaðinn er alls staðar frá vélum mannsins, í sjónum, á landi og í lofti.
En stundum kemst maður í ágætis færi við „þögula náttúru“ svo langt sem það nær. Auðvitað mætti komast í þessa þögn fjarri mannabyggð en áskorunin er mest að ná þeim í byggð, enda er þar mjög margt áhugavert sem spennandi er að hlusta á án vélahljóða.
Þann 20. október 2013 var ég í Stafholtstungum í Borgarfirði. Setti ég hljóðnema í skurð svo að umferðin í sveitinni kæmi sem minnst inn á upptökuna.
Þarna má heyra ýmsilegt svo sem í húsdýrum, fuglum sem og ýmsu sem fer fram hjá flestum í dagsins önn.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á þessa upptöku í góðum heyrnartólum og á lágum hljóðstyrk um leið og slakað er á í þægilegum stól eða rúmi.

 Download mp3 file. (256kbps / 56.6Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 744
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40)
Pix: EOS-M
Rec. Location: 64.672699, -21.629450
Weather: Clear sky, calm, -4°C

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It was early morning 20th of May 2014, when I and my friend arrive in to the campsite in Skaftafell national park, after almost five hours drive from Reykjavik.
There was just several tents on the campsite so we could easily find a quiet place in distance from other tents. I placed the microphones 30 meters from the tent, started recording and fell asleep.
The following 25 minutes long recording is what happened next. It is nice soundscape of early spring in Iceland without noise from human activity.
Many bird species are audible in this recording. Common snipe, Whimbrell, Red-tailed Godwit, Common Redshank, European Golden Plover, European, Oystercatcher, Whooper Swan, Redwing, Meadow Pipit and Rock Ptarmigan. There are probably many other bird species audible in this recording which I have not a clue the names on.
The recording this morning was about 6 hours long so I will probably continue to publish more of it later one.
Thanks to the Friends of Vatnajokull who made this rercording trip possible.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at low level.

Vor í Skaftafelli 2014

Það voru nokkuð þreyttir menn sem mættu á tjaldsvæðið í Skaftafelli rétt fyrir kl 4 að nóttu þann 20. maí 2014.
Fáir voru á svæðinu svo það var auðvelt að finna stað fyrir tjaldið. Áður en gengið var til náða voru hljóðnemar settir upp 30 metrum frá tjaldinu og upptaka látin ganga langt fram undir morgun.
Sú 25 mínútu langa upptaka sem hér fylgir hefst u.þ.b. 20 mínútum eftir að við vorum sofnaðir.
Á upptökunni má heyra í mörgum fuglategundum, þar á meðal í hrossagauk, spóa, skógarþresti, rjúpu, og álft sem og mörgum öðrum sem ég ætla að leyfa hlustendum um að þekkja og skrifa nöfnin á í ummælum hér fyrir neðan.
Þessari upptöku má þakka samtökunum Vinum Vatnajökuls sem gerðu það kleift að af þessari upptökuferð gat orðið.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á þessa upptöku í góðum heyrnartólum og á lágum hljóðstyrk.

Download mp3 file (192kbps / 32,6Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 744
Mics: Rode NT1a (NOS)
Pix: Canon EOSM
Rec. Location: 64.016466, -16.973356

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One year ago I published the first part of this calm seashore recording. It is therefore now a good reason to publish the rest of this beautiful recording.
This recording was made close to Holtstangi in Önundafjörður, in the north vest of Iceland 19th of June 2012 after midnight.
For those who like to get this recording in full length (42 min.) and quality can order it at Very quiet records.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at low level.

Bryggjan við Holtstanga. 2. hluti

Hér kemur seinni hluti upptöku sem sett var á vefinn fyrir ári síðan.
Upptakan var gerð undir bryggju vestan við Holtstanga innst inni í Önundafirði 19. júní 2012.
Fyrir þá sem langar að eignast upptökuna í fullri lengd og gæðum geta sótt upptökuna hjá útgáfu Very quiet records.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á þessa upptöku í góðum heyrnartólum og á lágum hljóðstyrk.

Download mp3 file (192kbps / 30,2Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 744
Mics: Rode. NT1a (NOS)
Pix: Canon EOS 30D
Rec. Location: 66.017053, -23.447596

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„Oh boy another fireworks recording“. This came up in my mind when I decided to put this recording on the web.
But this recording was made in the end of the Reykjavik Culture Nights at 23rd of August 2014 when one third of the Icelandic population was in down town Reykjavik in a wonderful weather. As usual after the rock concert finished, the program ends with a great Fireworks show. This show is normally a big hit…even for recordists.
This recording was a „Binaural array test“. It is a microphone setup I hope I can develop for my needs for nature recordings. It is a pair of MKH20 microphones in a single Rycote stereo windshield which I hope will give a better result than AB40 array with BBG Rycote windshield. I also hope it will give more natural and relaxing „sound space“ while listening, similar as binaural recordings with Dummy head. Fireworks are probably not the best sound source for such test, but anyway MKH20 is a grate sounding mic and in this case it was important to detect sound from all directions to pick up the echo from buildings all around. The rumble bass and the calm music in the background is coming from the concert stage. The fireworks start slowly but end in total madness.
I recommend quality headphones while listening.
I will not inform about my opinion about this test- recording , but you are welcome to leave a comment below.

Flugeldar á menninganótt 2014

Það getur verið álika spennandi að hljóðriat flugelda eins og að mynda þá. Er það ekki í fyrsta sinn sem ég set upptökur af slíku efni á þennan vef.
Á menningarnótt notaði ég tækifærið og prófaði nýja uppsetningu á hljóðnemum sem ég bind miklar vonir með að ég geti nýtt mér í framtíðinnni við náttúruupptökur. Er þar stuðst við svokallaða Binaural uppsetningu þar sem staðsetning hljóðnema á að líkja sem mest eftir mannseyranu.
Upptakan af sýningunni fer hægt af stað en verður tryllingsleg undir lokin. Bassinn og tónlistin í bakgrunni kemur frá hljómsveitarsviðinu framan við Arnarhól. Ég mæli með góðum heyrnartólum til að hlusta á upptökuna
Varðandi upptökuna af flugeldasýningunni þá má segja að hún sé þolanleg, en stóðst samt ekki væntingar. Ég fer ekki nánar út í þá sálma hér, en leyfi hlustendum að dæma og segja frá sinni skoðun í „leave a comment“ hér fyrir neðan.

Download mp3 file (256kbps / 24,5Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 744
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20 (binaual array)
Pics: Canon EOS-M

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I got a grant to record nature sounds in the Vatnajökull national park from the association “Friends of Vatnajökull”. It was not a trouble free trip, but anyway it was very instructive and I recorded many hours of very interesting and lovely sounds. Most of the recordings are long and unbroken. Some of them are up to 6 to 10 hours long so they contains many things I have never heard until now when I am registering the collection and searching for material to publish.
In 22nd of May I spent most of the day near Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. I recorded around three hours in the lagoon with hydrophones. I was located close to the ejection because there it was most likely to catch some wild life activity.
When I started following recording the current was flowing out of the lagoon. Three or five seals were diving nearby between the icebergs which slowly were moving towards the ejection.
It was stunning when I put the hydrophones in the lagoon.
What a sound! It was much louder than I thought and was both stunning and frighten.
The several thousand years old ice was melting with cracks, screeches and scratching the bottom of the lake. Sometimes I could detect a deep rumble sound in a distance, probably when icebergs were scratching the bottom of the 200 meters deep lake. Comparing to all those loud sounds, everything was peaceful above the surface.

Hljóðin í Jökulsárlóni. 1. hluti

Ég fékk styrk s.l. vetur til að hljóðrita hljóðvist Vatnajökulsþjóðgarðs frá samtökunum  Vinum Vatnajökuls. Það gekk á ýmsu á meðan á því stóð en á endanum var ég komin með mikið af áhugaverðu og skemmtilegu efni. Mikið af þessum upptökum eru langar og ósltitnar eða 6-10 klst langar svo ég hef ekkert hlustað á fyrr en nú þegar ég stend í því að skrásetja upptökurnar.
Þann 22. maí var ég staddur við útfallið við Jökulsárlón og hljóðritaði undir yfirborði lónsins með vatnahljóðnemum. Bæði hljóð og hljóðstyrkur kom verulega á óvart. Þarna var aldagamall ísinn að bráðna með hvellum og ískri um leið og hann skrapaði botninn á leið sinni að útfallinu. Öðru hverju mátti heyra drunur einhvers staðar utan úr djúpi lónsins og stöku sinnum mátti heyra hljóð sem hugsanlega komu frá 3-5 selum sem syntu ekki langt frá upptökustaðnum.
Það var óneitanlega mun háværara niðri lóninu en á yfirborði þess.

Download MP3 file (192kbps / 34,4Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 788
Mics: Aquarian H2a XLR
Pics: Canon Eos M (see more pictures)

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Life has been difficult for some seabird species in some places around Iceland. Puffin colony with around 3 million birds has almost disappeared within few years from Vestmannaeyjar island south of Iceland. Change in the ecosystem is probably the main reason for this dramatically changes. But it is not only Puffins; many seagull species have also difficulties to survive. These gulls are in big flocks where ever scraps can be found. We have also several stories about them hunting BQ from hot outdoor grills.
Last week I was in Garðabær, south Reykjavik region, when I noticed some different behaviors of the birds around me. I went there with my gear later that day if there was something to record. I was lucky. Just when I arrived, hundreds of Arctic Tern and Black-Headed Gull was catching something on a manmade beach. Tide was getting lower so it was something trapped in a pool on the beach. I am still not sure what it was, but probably was it Pollock juveniles.
Some minutes after I started recording a flock of Lesser Black Backed Gull arrive with lot of noise until some photographer came too close and they all flew away (at 13 min).
Other birds like Great Black Backed Gull, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Common Eider, Raven and even Great Northern Diver was around, or not far away.
This recording is my contribution to World listening day 2014.

Matarveislan í Hraunsvík

Það var óvenju fjölskrúðugt fuglalíf á Arnarnesvoginum þegar ég átti þar leið um miðjan júlí. Mátti meira að segja heyra í himbrima úti á voginum. Ég ákvað því að koma þar við með upptökutækin um kvöldið og hljóðrita herlegheitin.
Ég kom svo til alveg á réttum tíma. Kría var í tuga ef ekki hundraða tali að steypa sér eftir einhverju æti í manngerðri vík í Hraunsvík. Stuttu eftir að upptaka hófst þá kom flokkur máfa sem reyndi að fá hlutdeild af ætinu sem líklega voru ufsaseiði.
Þegar mest gekk á voru þarna margar fuglategundir. Mest var af kríu, hettumáfi og sílamáfi, en inn á milli mátti sjá svartbak, æðarfugl, tjald og hrafn .
Þessi upptaka er framlag mitt til World Listening Day 2014.

Download mp3 file (192kmps / 38Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 744
Mics: Sennheiser 8040 (ORTF)
Pics. EOS-M (see more pictures)
Overview above the recording place

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This spring I got several young rats in my garage. They have probably stayed there some weeks eating the bred I used to feed the bird with last winter. Now when it was finished it was time to clean the garage of all mammals.
I owned a very nice mouse trap, a trap that would not kill the mouse. It was perfect for that job because the rats I had already seen had the size of a mouse.
It took just 15 minutes to hunt the first rat witch I put in a hamster cage.
It took eight hours for the second rat to reach the trap. During that time I recorded the whole progress in the garage on four channels. Two channels over the cage with the first rat and other two channels near the trap.
The following recording includes the moment when the rat got stuck in the trap and what happened when it realize the situation. Later on the rat in the cage starts to activate but during the night it was busy trying to find freedom.
Note: Do not play this loudly in the beginning. The trap is very loud when it pop the lock.

Rottugildra

Hér er á ferðinni upptaka af því þegar rotta er fönguð í búr, eins sem sést á myndini hér fyrir ofan.
Það var þegar búið að fanga eina og var sú höfð í hamstarbúri.
Tekið er upp á fjórar ráisr þar sem tvær rásir eru á gildruni og tvær yfir búrinu.
Athugið að spila upptökuna ekki á háum styrk fyrr en gildran er búinn að fanga rottuna því smellurinn er nokkuð hávær.

Download mp3 file (192kbps / 32,1Mb)

Recorder. Sound devices 744 + 302
Mics. Audio Technica BP4025 + Sennheiser ME66
Pix. Canon EosM

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