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.
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.
Nothing could be further from the heady drama of his opera “Faust” than Gounod‘s cheerful, melodious “Little Symphony for Wind”. Its infectious nonchalance and easy gracefulness has made it a favorite with amateur as well as professional wind players. Though it was written when the composer was 70 years old and has the formal structure of a classical symphony, ever one of its four movements breathes youthful gaiety and Gallic charm. The second movement, Adagio, is a lyrical, finely sustained melody, mainly for flute. The final Scherzo, with its bright, staccato, syncopated theme, is remarkably “modern” for its time, and shows that Gounod was keeping a weather eye on his younger contemporaries*.
This recording was made the 23rd of November 2013 with members of Iceland Amateur Symphony Orchestra in Seltjarnarnes church. Keep in mind that the orchestra comprises mostly those who earn their living in occupations other than music so this is a perfect performance.
This is a binaural recording with Sennheiser MKH8020 mounted into foam dummy head. The sound is rather harsh in some mid range frequencies and the reverb may have been better and lasted longer. This might be repaired in post, but I am not interested in such thing. Good recording is more important. I think this poor sound is mainly because the design of the hall (church). Also is the microphone placement difficult to change during the concert. But anyway this stereo recording is a nice example of binaural recording. Normally, headphone is required while listening, but in this recording the instruments in the performance are dancing nicely between the channels so it is nice to listen in both headphones and speakers.
Charles Gounod – Petite Symphonie
Hér er upptaka frá tónleikum Sinfóníusveitar áhugamanna í Seltjarnarneskirkju frá því 23. nóvember 2013. Er þetta lítil sinfónía eftir Charles Gounod sem hann samdi sjötugur að aldri árið 1885 fyrir níu blásturshljóðfæri.. Var það félagi hans og flautuleikarinn Poul Taffanel sem pantaði verkið sem sver sig í ætt við blásaraserenöður Mozarts.
Upptakan er gerð með svoköllaðu “binaural tækni” sem gengur út á að staðsetja hljóðnema í kúlu eða bolta sem líkist mannshöfði. Þannig má oft ná mjög skemmtilegum umhverfishljóðritunum sem oftar en ekki er best að hlusta á í góðum heyrnartólum.
Flutingur blásara á tónverkinu er afbragðs góður, en upptakan hefði alveg mátt vera betri. Miðjan er yfirmótuð á einhverjum tíðnum sem gerir hljóminn svolítið harðan á köflum. Gera má ráð fyrir að það reiknist að stærstum hluta til á eigin tíðni salarins. Þá hefði mátt vera meira eftirhljómur frá salnum. Þarna skiptir bæði salurinn og staðsetning hljóðnemanna miklu máli. En því miður er ekki hægt að finna bestu staðsetninguna á meðan á tónleikum stendur. Það getur því oftar en ekki varið hrein heppni að ná góðum upptökum með einfaldri steriotækni.
Hljóðfæraleikarar gáfu leyfi fyrir vefvæðingu hljóðritsins.
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.
Three stereo microphones noise and sensitivity comparison.
Shure VP88 – Rode NT4 – Audio Technica BP4025
This recordings include a spoken word from pocket radio at very low volume and ticking alarm clock in 1,6m distance. The volume settings on the radio was so low, the sound was hardly audible with bare ears. Noise from radiator pipeline is audible in the background. Miscellaneous bird life is outside and should be also clearly audible.
Keep in mind. This test is only noise and sensitivity comparison. High sensitivity and low noise is VERY important for nature recordings. This comparison does not give any information how this microphones sounds for music recording or how they withstand high pressure sound level. See spectrogram and pictures
Quality headphones recommended while listen.
Shure VP88, Rode NT4 and Audio Technica BP4025 direct from recorder. All at same gain level at 55dB.
All three recordings are now independently level normalized up to 0dB.
At 13th of May I cycled to the shore, west side of Reykjavik to make some microphones setup test in quiet environment. It was sunny and calm, but cold as it has been all this year’s spring.
This coastline is mostly unspoiled from humans works so there is miscellaneous birdlife. Along is a very popular walking and cycle path. Some places can be very quiet like the beach south of Skildinganes where I have recorded many times nature sounds…as far as it goes.
As usual where nature are close to humans automotive world there is a deep rumbling noise, a terrifying noise from burning fossil fuel. It does not only disturb my ears or recordings, it is a very clear warning about our stupid lifestyle that will sooner or later destroy our planet within a century.
Drunurnar frá Mordor
Upptaka af notalegri vorstemmningu í Grófinni sunnan við Skeljanes.
En í bakgrunni heyrast drunur frá vítisvélum borgarbúa sem fyrr en síðar munu breyta þessum ljúfu vorhljóðum í fjörunni.
In 10th of February 2013 I recorded a concert with Amateur symphony orchestra.
The program contained a wonderful melody “Senur” composed in four chapters by Sigurður Sævarsson. It was composed for string orchestra and obo. Both the orchestra and the soloist, Guðrún Másdóttir, played it flawless. Hereby is the first chapter of Senur without any post work.
I was pretty happy with the recording result, even though the concert hall (a church) sounded terrible for recording. It has a very harsh sound and difficult peaks in some resonance frequencies.
Over the orchestra I used a Jeclin disk with a double pair of mics, parallel MKH8020 and MKH20 in 45°+45° (as shown on the picture).
Close to the soloist there was a pair of MKH8040 and far behind in the hall was a pair of SE4400 with spaced Omni (70cm).
Past months I have got a few emails where people ask me for a sound sample with my Jecklin disk. So here are two samples, both almost the same, but one is recorded with MKH20 in 45°+45° and the other one with parallel MKH8020.
“Senur” fyrsti kafli
Sigurður Sævarsson hóf söngnám við tónlistarskólann í Keflavík undir handleiðslu Árna Sighvatssonar. Þaðan lá leiðinn í Nýja tónlistarskólann, þar sem hann nam hjá Sigurði Demetz Franzyni og Alinu Dubik. Hann lauk þaðan prófi vorið 1994. Sama ár hóf Sigurður söng- og tónlistarnám við Boston University í Bandaríkjunum, þar sem kennarar hans voru William Sharp, Charles Fussel, Sam Hendrick og Martin Amin. Hann lauk þaðan meistaraprófi í báðum greinum vorið 1997.
Helstu viðfangsefni Sigurðar hafa verið óperur og kórverk. Tveir geisladiskar haf verið gefnir út með verkum hans. Hallgrímspassía kom út árið 2010 og Missa Pacis kom út 2011. Nýjasta verk Sigurðar er Jólaóratórían sem var frumflutt 2. desember 2012.
Sigurður samdi “Senur” upphaflega fyrir óbó og strengjakvartett, að tilhlutan Eydísar Franzdóttur óbóleikara. Verkið var frumflutt á Myrkum músíkdögum 2012 og hefur verið flutt nokkrum sinnum síðan í Tékklandi og Þýskalandi. Sigurður umritaði verkið fyrir skömmu fyrir óbó og strengjasveit og er sú gerð verksins frumflutt hér. Guðrún Másdóttir hóf að læra á óbó í Tónskóla Sigursveins D. Kristinssonar 14 ára að aldri. Hún lauk þaðan fullnaðarprófi árið 1992 undir handleiðslu Daða Kolbeinssonar. Hún sótti nær öll námskeið Sinfóníuhljómsveitar æskunnar undir stjórn Paul Zukovsky á árunum 1985-1991 og hefur nokkrum sinnum leikið með Sinfóníuhljómsveit Íslands. Guðrún hefur leikið með Sinfóníuhljómsveit áhugamanna óslitið frá byrjun árs 1991. Hún er í stjórn hljómsveitarinnar og hefur umsjón með vefsíðu hennar, en aðalstarf Guðrúnar er staða tölvunarfræðings hjá fyrirtækinu Mentor.
Víðgelmir is a lava tube situated in Western Iceland in the Hallmundarhraun lava field, ca. 2 km. Southeast from Fljótstunga farm in Hvítársíða, Borgarfjörður. The roof of the lava tube has collapsed, creating two large openings near its north end which are the only known entrances. Viðgelmir is 1585m long, the largest part of the cave passage is 15.8m high and 16.5m wide making it by far the largest of its kind in Iceland. The cave has a wide entrance but narrows down in some places. An iron gate was installed at the first constriction in 1994 to preserve the delicate lava formations or speleothems which haven’t already been destroyed. Evidence of human habitation, probably dating to the Viking age, has been discovered in the cave and is preserved in the National Museum of Iceland. Long stretches of the cave floor are very rough and shouldn’t be navigated without a guide. Access and guided tours are provided at nearby Fljótstunga.
Lava tube caves are formed when a low-viscosity lava flow develops a continuous and hard crust which thickens and forms a roof above the molten lava stream. When the eruption subsides, the still molten lava moving beneath the crust will continue to drain downhill, leaving an open lava tube cave. Many other lava tube caves have been discovered in Hallmundarhraun (formed around 900 AD), most notable Surtshellir and Stefánshellir.(*)
This recording was made 30th of June 2012, close to the entrance, where ice from last winter was still melting. Water drops from the cave roof are falling into differenet places on the floor, in holes in the ice and on stones on rough surfaced floor.
Deeper in the cave there is no dripping water so it is completely quiet. For most people it could be an interesting experience. During the summer people can have guided tour in Viðgelmir, just contact Fljótstunga farm.
Hljóðin í Víðgelmi í Hallmundarhrauni
Víðgelmir er einn af lengstu (1.585 m) hellum landsins og rúmtaksmestu (148.000 m³) hraunhellum heims. Hann er í Hallmundarhrauni, u.þ.b. 2 km suðaustur af Fljótstungu í Hvítársíðu. Þak hellisins hefur hrunið á allstórum kafla, nærri norðurenda hans, og er það eini inngangurinn. Hellirinn er víður fremst en þrengist á köflum þegar innar dregur. Þar var, í október árið 1991 sett upp járnhlið af félagsmönnum í Hellarannsóknafélagi Íslands til að vernda þær dropasteinsmyndanir sem ekki hafa þegar verið eyðilagðar. Mannvistarleifar sem fundust í hellinum eru varðveittar í Þjóðminjasafninu og eru að líkindum frá víkingaöld. Hellirinn er á köflum afar erfiður yfirferðar og tæpast ráðlegt að fara um hann nema með leiðsögumanni. Leiðsögn og aðgangur að innri hluta hellisins er fáanleg frá Fljótstungu.
Hellirinn var lokaður af ís frá árinu 1918 til ársins 1930 en hann lokaðist aftur um veturinn1972-1973. Í apríl1990 fór hópur á vegum Hellarannsóknafélags Íslands með tól og tæki og freistaði þess að opna hellinn. Ekki tókst það að þessu sinni en árið eftir tóku nokkrir heimamenn af bæjum í Hvítársíðu og Hálsasveit sig saman, undir forystu Kristleifs Þorsteinssonarbónda í Húsafelli og kláruðu verkið (*)
Recorder. Sound devices 788
Mic: Rode NT1a (NOS)
Pic: Canon 30D. See more pictures at Google. My camera did not work perfectly in the cave, but anyway here is my picture
(*) Information about the cave is copied from Wikipedia.