The summer 1978 I got a job at Sogsvirkjanir power stations, about 50 km east of Reykjavik capital. There are three power stations close to each other in the river Sog south of Þingvallavatn lake.
This place was familiar to me because my grandparents lived at a nearby farm, Efri Brú.
For me, as a tanager, this summer was very important. It was the time to decide what I would like to do for a living; a technician, farmer, engineer, or something else. I was not sure.
My job at Sogsvirkjanir was miscellaneous, gardening, cleaning and painting. But what interested me most was working in the power stations when generators were shut down for cleaning and overhauling. As a thin, lithe teenager I was used to go into and work inside places in the generators where older, fatter and stiffer engineers could not access or work. Afterwards I think it was very damaging environment for my health. Working almost every day with 1,1,1Trichloroethane and other toxic liquids with useless mask. But in these days nobody took care of it, and I did not take care of it either.
All this machineries fascinated me so I decided to start learning electrician in the autumn 1978.
The following recording is a combination of five recordings I made in and around Ljósafoss power station the summer 2013. This is the oldest power station in the river and was built on my grandfather’s land 1934. The birdsong in the recording is from a nearby county at Laugarvatn which is my grandmothers’ birthplace. It reminds me of my childhood at my grandparent’s farm, especially in the swamp behind the cowshed, so it is worth to keep it with this recording.
Even though all these sounds gives me some nice memories, they sound also far in my mind. It feels like a memory from my “last life”, not something that happened in my life about 40 years ago. Every thing has changed fast in this county. My grandparents are long gone and almost all farming in the county too. Land in many places has been broken up in peaces for cottages. Farming and animals have disappeared.
Instead of narrow gravel roads, all roads now have asphalt. Fast driving, noisy traffic, day and night seems to be the only human activity.
Sadly, in just thirty years, this beautiful countryside has changed into “American style suburb”
The following recording gives you a flight as a ghost, or a spirit from my grandparents farm to Ljósafoss power station. Your flight goes above and through water, concrete and steel. It starts over the reservoir, then trough the intake, penstock, power house, transformer and to the outflow canal.
The flight ends as it starts with “quiet bird song” far away from the nosy power station.
Miningar frá sumrinu 1978.
Sumarið 1978 fékk ég sumarvinnu við Sogsvirkjanir. Þetta sumar varð mér heldur örlagaríkt, en þá tók ég ákvörðun um að læra rafvirjun. Eftirarandi hljóðmynd var tekin upp sumarið 2013 í og við Ljósafossstöð. Segja má að það sé í raun minningabrot frá sumrinu 1978 og þremur næstu sumrum á meðan ég vann þar við ýmis störf.
Last weekend in February I and my brother in law went to Skaftafell national park. Our sons were with us and we spent one night in a tent on the campsite. One of the reasons that we drove all this way from Reykjavík was to get in touch with the place where I will be recording the nature next spring and summer.
We were lucky with the weather. It was dry and the temp. about zero. But most of the time strong gust was blowing down from the glacier over the place.
This recording was made during midday on the campsite where the gust was blowing through the naked branches.
Skaftafell í febrúar 2014
Síðustu viku í febrúar fór ég með mági mínum í stutt ferðalag austur að Skaftafelli. Höfðum við syni okkar með því veðurútlit var gott og við ætluðum að tjalda. Var ferðin að hluta til farinn vegna hljóðritunarverkefnis sem ég fékk styrk til að sinna næsta vor og sumar. En styrkinn fékk ég hjá samtökunum Vinum Vatnajökuls.
Á meðan við dvöldum þar þá gekk á með hvössum vindstrengjum ofan af Skaftafellsjökli. Það var því kjörið tækifæri að hefja hljóðritunarverkefnið með því að hljóðrita vindinn sem geystist í gegn um kjarrið á svæðinu.
Last summer was mainly wet, windy and cold in Iceland. It was no exception while I was recording birds in the nature reserve Flói, south of Iceland.
I was three weeks later than usual, so it was probably too late to record a reach bird chorus.
I spend two nights in the area and tried to record surrounding ambient through soaking wet windscreens. I stayed most of the time in a bird watching shelter to keep me dry. It was different from last tree years. Surroundings looked more like a swamp than grassland.
I kept one recorder in the field in a plastic box. The second one was in the bird watching shelter.
Just before I fell a sleep on the floor I started to record. The following recording is a short part of that moment while shower passes over.
Most windows on the shelter were open so birds surround are audible. Background noise is not a traffic, it is the surf at nearby south coast, about 3 km away.
Flói 2014. 1. hluti
Síðast sumar var kalt og blautt miðað við það sem maður hefur vanist síðustu ár. Alla vega elti óheppnin mig með leiðinda veðri á röndum hvert sem ég fór með upptökutækin. Hin árlega ferð í Flóann var þar enginn undantekning. Ég mætti á svæðið þremur vikum seinna enn vanalega. Ég mátti því búast við að fjöldasöngur fugla væri farinn að dvína. Vindasamt veður gerði svo erfitt um vik, hvað þá að hljóð gæti borist langar leiðir.
Að vanda tók ég upp í tvær nætur í flóanum. Í þetta sinn flaut allt í vatni og því ekki hægt að liggja úti í grasinu eins og vanalega, heldur var leitað skjóls inni í fuglaskoðunarskýlinu.
Fyrir utan var eitt upptökutæki að taka upp á hefðbundnum stað. Annað var aðgerðarlaust inni í skýlinu. Rétt áður en ég fékk mér lúr á gólfinu ræsti ég upptökutækið. Hér kemur partur af þeirri upptöku þegar skúr gekk yfir svæðið. Gluggar voru opnir svo það heyrist í fuglum í grennd. Suðið í bakgrunni kemur frá briminu suður við Ölfusárósa.
Some weeks ago I found a photo gallery on the web. All those photos were taken by a Dutch photographer Willem van de Pool when he visited Iceland in the summer 1934. It was the year when my parents were born so it gave me a connection back to last century.
The quality of those photos is stunning. It looks like they have been taken yesterday. Most of the places are easily identified even though the surroundings have changed a lot. Willem captured five pictures at Laugarvatn, a place about 75 km east of Reykjavik. At this time my grand grandfather was a landowner at Laugarvatn farm and a district administrative officer.
Following picture above shows some people relaxing in hot sand. This shore is just below a big hot spring named “Stóri hver” (not shown on the picture). Today this place between Stóri hver and the lake is so hot that the sand is used every day to bake a bread.
The following one piece recording was made 25th of July 2012, with BP4025 on a boom pole, moved close to the boiling surface between Stóri hver to Laugarvatn Lake. It starts at Stóri hver, then scanning the boiling sand and then to the lake surface.
Stóri hver við Laugarvatn 2012
Hér er á ferðinni upptaka sem tekin var upp við Stóra hver sunnan við “2007″ baðhúsið. Notast var við BP4025 stereo hljóðnema á bómu og hann færður hægt og sígandi um svæðið milli Stórahvers fram yfir vatnsyfirborð Laugarvatns.
About 30km east of Reykjavik capitol is Hellisheiðarvirkjun a geothermal power station. This power station uses energy from drilled wells in the surrounding area.
In the drilling process it is necessary to let the wells “breath” or “blow” for a while. When it happens it is extremely noisy when the energy is wasted into the atmosphere, mostly as a hot steam in mixture with toxic gas like carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and also substantial quantities of hydrogen (H2). Other gases such as nitrogen (N2), methane (CH4) and argon (Ar) are in the gas mixture, but in lesser extent.
The rumbling noise from blowing wells is so loud that it can be easily heard in far distances (up to 20-30km, depends of condition).
It was easily audible when I was on my way east of Reykjavik on a cycle trip last summer. I was cycling Nesjavallavegur (road) when I decided to record this noise. The power station was in about 10 km distance, but the blowing wells were somewhere between in 10-15km distance, probably behind the mountain Hengill.
This recording was made at 3am, 24th of July 2013 at Mosfellsheiði. The weather was calm, but cold, very humid and fogy.
Keep in mind, this is a “quiet nature recording” so you should not play it loud. On the field the birdsong was barely audible.
Hér er á ferðinni upptaka frá því 24. júlí 2013, þegar ég fór í stutt helgarferðalag austur fyrir Fjall. Þegar ég lagði af stað var vel liðið á kvöld og skollin á blaut og köld þoka.
Þegar á Nesjavallaveginn var komið varð ég var við miklar drunur ofan af Hellisheiði en þar blés borhola út orku og eiturgasi engum til gagns. Drunurnar virtust fylla loftið fremur en að koma úr tiltekinni átt svo ímyndunaraflið fékk að blómstra. Það var ekki laust við að maður léti hugann reika, því þar sem maður átti að venjast þögn á þessum tíma sólahringsins voru nú þungar drunur allt um liggjandi sem hér um bil kaffærðu söng sumarfuglanna. Nálægð við helvíti eða heimsendi var manni efst í huga þar sem maður sniglaðist einsamall eftir veginum fremur kaldur og blautur í dimmri þokunni.
Rétt eftir að hæstu hæð Mosfellsheiðar var náð ákvað ég að staldra við og taka upp þetta sérkennilega andrúmsloft sem þarna ríkti þessa júlínótt.
I have still lots of unpublished recordings from this midsummer nights in Flói 2012.
With a quick audition all this recordings sounds similar. But with closer attention it sounds all as a beautiful symphony. There is so much happening that it can blow your attention, at the same time it can easily be your lullaby. I think these recordings are too nice to be lost in some of my hard drives.
This recording was made 26th of June, around 2am and is a straight forward of part 5.
It contains many bird species. Red throat Loon and two snivel Loon eyes. Red- necked Phalarope, Common Snipe, Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Common Redshank, White Wagtail, Winter Wren, Northern Wheatear, Common Redpoll, Snow Bunting and maybe other birds I can not mention.
In distance there are some traffic noises, horses, sheeps and Whooper Swan.
Background noise is mostly surf along the south coast and “white noise” is mic´s internal noise .
As usual for nature recordings as this one, don’t play it loud. Play it as you will hear nature sound trough open window.
Friðland í Flóa 2012. 6. hluti
Hér er á ferðinni beint framhald af 5. hluta, upptöku frá 26. júní. Klukkan er um tvö eftir miðnætti og fuglalífið á fullu á þessari björtu sumarnótt. Þeir fuglar sem heyrist mest í eru lómur og tveir ungar hans. Óðinshanar, stelkur og spói. Ýmsar aðrar tegundir eru svo í bakgrunni. Í bakgrunni má heyra í briminu meðfram suðurströndinni, einhverri umferð, hestum og kindum.
Það er vert að minna á að best er að hlusta á þessar náttúruupptökur á lágum styrk, svipað því að hlusta á fuglasöng um opin glugga.
In Önundarfjörður (fjord) northwest of Iceland is a small village, Flateyri. During the winter, avalanches are falling in the mountains all around the fjord.
In Oktober 1995 a huge avalanche hit Flateyri. Many houses were wiped away and 20 died. Several other avalanches and the crazy weather closed the road to the village so the only way for rescue team was from sea.
The first rescue unit pass a molded 45 years old dock in the bottom of the fjord at Holtstangi. This dock was made in 1950 for security reason if avalanches close the road and other communication to Flateyri
This terrible avalanche in the October night 1995, shows how important this dock was for the community, so it was rebuilt in the spring 1996.
This recording was made in the beach close to this dock 19th of June 2012
Bryggjan við Holtstanga 1. hluti
Ferjubryggja hefur lengið verið að Holti í Önundarfirði. Bryggjan var og er fyrst og fremst öryggisaðstaða fyrir Flateyringa, vegna þess hvað vegasamband um Hvilftarhlíð er ótryggt vegna snjóflóðahættu. Kom notagildi hennar berlega í ljós þegar snjóflóðið féll á Flateyri í október 1995.
Bryggjan var þá orðin 45 ára gömul og mikið fúin. Var því gripið til þess ráðs um vorið 1996 að endurbyggja bryggjuna og þá úr fúavörðum viði.
Hljóðritið sem hér má heyra ver tekið upp um miðnætti í fjörunni við hliðina á bryggjuni 19. júní 2012.
In Iceland it is possible to find many hot springs all over the country. Many of them have optimal temperature for bath and to relax. For centurys people have piled stones and turf around some of this known natural hot springs.
In the beginning of last centuries many of this natural hot springs were used to teach people to swim. Soon, many communities all over the country built real swimming pools of concrete near these springs.
One of these places can be found at Krossholt at Barðastönd, Southwest Iceland. There is Krosslaug, a 12 meters long swiming pool, built in 1948. There is also newly built natural hot tub, build on a hot spring in traditional style. It was the Youth Association of Barðaströnd County who piled this tub with stones, gravel and turf.
From the bottom through the ground of the tub comes the warm water with bobbles that gives relaxing sound while laying there with the ear below the surface. You can hear the bobbles moving upwards trough the gravel deep from the ground under the tub.
This recording was made with hydrophones at 15th of June 2012.
Another interesting recording from Krossholt, nearby place is: Opus for power line, bass, wind and birds.
Krosslaug í Mórudal við Barðastönd.
Á Birkimel við mynni Mórudals, hefur myndast þjónustukjarni Barðastrandar.
Það hefur reynst mér ótrúlega erfitt að afla sögulegra heimilda um þennan stað á vefnum. Því segi ég aðeins það litla sem ég tel mig muna.
Á sjöunda til níunda ártaugar síðustu aldar var þar skóli, félagsheimili, kaupfélagsútibúð og litilsháttar iðnaður. Þar var einnig reynt að koma upp fiskeldi. Það fór á hausinn.
Í dag er staðurinn líklega betur þekktur fyrir ferðaþjónustu. Stéttarfélög eru þar með orlofshús sem og ferðaþjóunsta sem rekin er frá nærliggjandi bæ. Víða í Mórudal er að finna volgar uppsprettur. Sundlaug var reist við eina slíka í fjörunni neðan við Krossholt 1948. Hefur hún átt það til að fara nokkuð illa í vondum veðrum. Vorið 2011 var laugin tekin í gegn og var þá hlaðinn heitur pottur að ég held yfir volgri uppsprettu fremur en borholu..
Það er ákaflega notalegt liggja í þessum potti í makindum með eyrun undir yfirborðinu og hlusta á volgt vatnið og loftbólur streyma upp úr jarðlögum pottsins. Meðfylgjandi upptaka var gerð í pottaferð 15. júní 2012.
Önnur áhugaverð upptaka sem gerð var við Krossholt er: Tónverk fyrir háspennustrengi, bassa, vind og fugla.
In 27th July I decided to cycle with recording gear out of Reykjavik. It was late in the evening when I left my house. Just after I left the street lights, I cycled into dark, wet fog.
I was both whet and cold when I passed the fog on the highest peak of the road in the mountain Hengill.
I waited there almost for two hours in a very calm weather, just to enjoy the prospect. Noise from nearby hydroelectric plant filled the air with a powerful rumbling noise. Below, all around me, was this thick fog and a clear sky above.
I was getting tired when I saw the sun rice above the horizon around 4 am. After several photo shots I decided to find a place to sleep and feed my recorder with “early morning summer sound”.
On my way, was a place named Hagavik, a very nice cove in the southwest of Þingvallavatn lake. When I arrived, the fog was still very thick. I spread out my bivi sack on a place I remembered I put up my tent for about 35 years ago, when this place was not so popular. It was now a filthy motorist parking and fish hunting place. But, just as in the past, the soundscape was glorious.
Two MKH20 was placed close to the lake and I went to sleep 10 meters away.
The time was about 5:40 in the morning and the atmosphere was very quiet in the fog when the recording start.
Hagavík við Þingvallavatn. 1. hluti
Þann 27. júlí nýtti ég síðustu daga sumarfrísins til að hjóla með upptökutækin austur fyrir fjall. Við Hagavík fann ég mér náttstað snemma morguns. Hljóðnemana setti ég við fjöruborðið en lagðust sjálfur í Bivi poka á grasbala sem var illa troðin eftir marga bíla. Veiðisóðar höfðu greinilega verið þarna á ferð því úldin beita, sígarettustubbar og annað rusl lá þar um allt. En hljóðmyndin og kyrrðin var dásamleg eins og vanalega, alveg þangað til bílaumferðin fór að aukast síðar um morguninn.
In last week of August the first “real winter storm” arrived to Iceland, with strong cold wind and snow down to 300 m o.s. Luckily it was not as bad as weather forecast expected.
But for sure more and stronger storms will arrive in coming months. Sometimes it happens during high tide and with extremely low air pressure so the whole harbor is floating in deep seawater.
Last autumn 2012, we got at last two times a “real storm”, and both this storms arrived while I was at work. It was really dangerous to be outside so we spent most of the day inside. Regularly we heard loud “drumming sound” and got a taste of an earthquake when containers and reefers flew of the stacks to the ground.
Following recording was recorded in one of those bad weather situations 2nd of November 2012. It is mostly audible wind noises with flying garbage around when suddenly somewhere in the harbor one container take off from a stack and fells to the ground.
Upptaka frá Sundahafnarsvæðinu í Reykavik frá því 2. november 2012, þegar gekk á með miklu norðan hvassviðri. Þá fór mikið af Sundahafnarsvæðinu á flot og nokkrir gámar tókust á loft með miklum látum. Í upptökunni sem hér fylgir má heyra í gám þegar hann fellur úr stæðu einhvers staðar á svæðinu.