At the end of July, a seismic period began on the Reykjanes peninsula, which ended with a volcanic eruption in Meradalar south of Reykjavík, not far from the place that last erupted in Fagradalsfjall during the COVID period.
I recorded for a few days during the earthquakes. Both with microphones and simultaneously with Geophones on four channels. After I had set up the microphones, the big quake stopped, but I did catch one that was 4.8 on magnitude.
When it started to erupt in Meradalir, the seismic activity stopped almost completely.
I took advantage of the weekend for a cycle trip to the eruption site and recorded approx. four hours of material. It was not easy. There was a lot of gas pollution and wind that are always characteristic of volcanic eruptions, but tourists and drones in the area never shut up.
I didn’t have a gas mask, which made the situation almost unbearable these four hours. It was therefore also impossible for me to record in places where other visitors could not reach.
I had my second best microphones for this project. It was my parallel MKH8020/8040 rig that gave me a lot of options to record a difficult and different subject. The attached recording is a small composite story of the events of the last few days, starting with an earthquake that then leads to a volcanic eruption.
The earthquake was recorded on four channels with two NT2a in MS configuration and two LOM geophones fixed in X/Y axis in my garage.
The eruption was recorded in AB40 on four channels with parallel MKH8020/8040 mic rig.
In post-processing, 8020 was used for the low frequency and 8040 was used for the higher frequency, which significantly reduced the noise from tourists and wind noise without losing the low frequency which in some places sounded more like a shock waves from the crater.
The recording of the eruption is from three places at the eruption site. You can actually hear it when I move the microphones once.
Then, unfortunately, drones and airplanes can be heard.
During the eruption, sounds are heard that would be worth explaining. There is a lot of all kinds of white noise, which mainly comes from glowing slag that splashes in all directions when it falls to the ground around the crater. It was also interesting to hear when it rained on the lava, an unusually loud white noise filled the air. It may be heard for a while in this recording.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid volume.
Be careful, this recording starts quietly. But most of it is pretty loud, especially at lower frequencies.
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(mp3 256 kbps / 65,2Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices MixPre6
Mics: Rode NT2a in MS & LOM geophones in X/Y axis (earth quakes) and parallel MKH8020/8040 in AB40 (eruption site)
Pix: Canon EOS-M50

Weather: Wind 2-4m/sec, drizzle rain, foggy & 5-8°C
(but on the recording site, gust up to 20m/sec and 15-35°C )
Location: 63.900428, -22.246934
Eruption site on Map.is


This recording is actually recorded in a „natural silence“, far away from traffic in open landscape, which can be said to be my area of interest. But the weather, as so often before, was no way to work with me. Windy and wet which means I was not able to record the „depth in the field“ that can often be heard through good recordings, recorded in calm, dry weather.
There is no doubt when I say that 95% of all the recordings I record in Icelandic nature sounds like this. Therefore, it is also wrong not to report it with examples.
Here is one. The location is the highland at Arnarvatnsheiði, northwest Iceland near a place called Hæðarsporður
I had to find a sheltered place close to the ground to protect the microphones as much as possible from wind and rain. Close to the ground isn’t a good position for microphones, but often only way to record something for a days or a weeks
While Rode NT1 is a cardioid I couldn’t find an ideal location, so it is not a good balance between right and left channels. Right channel has noise from the Norðlingafljót river just over a km away, as well as there is less bird life on the left side
The result is as it is.
This is a part of a ten hours long overnight recording. During the night the windshield gets very wet, so one of the reasons why this recording sounds a bit „dull“.
The soundscape was quiet as usual on the Icelandic highland. It was almost impossible to hear anything except wind noise. The recorder was at +50 db gain on SD788. In post the gain was increased by about +25db (up to -7db). RX noise reduction was not used. Wind noise was decreased below 100Hz with EQ, also NT1´s white noise was lowered above 10Khz about -3db,  and -6db at 15khz.  Normally it does not harm the recording while bird songs which have the highest frequency range in Icelandic nature are mostly below 7Khz.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low volume
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  (mp3 256kbps / 55,8Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 788
Mics: Rode NT1 (NOS 90°/30cm)
Pix: Canon EOS-R

Weather: Windy up to 8m/sec, drizzle rain, foggy & 5°C
Location: 64.854845, -20.545331


It’s time for me to put a recording from my new Zoom F3 on the web.
The recording is from Stafholtstungar in Borgarfjörður, western Iceland, 4th of June 2022.
This is a 30 minutes part of another 35 hour long recording at circa 5AM. All these 35 hours I used only three 10Ah / 5V Li-Ion batteries. So each battery, which is smaller than the recorder, lasts for 12 hours.
It is different from around the mid eighties when I tried to record a natural sound on a Sony TC-D5M cassette recorder with a 4Ah acid battery that lasted for about 3 hours, or for 30 minutes with internal batteries.
The microphones in this recording were Rode NT1  in AB45 setup, dressed in Rycote WS2 windshields, about 20cm from the ground. It was recorded at 32bit / 48khz, with a recording gain at „32“ which I could believe was comparable to a 45dB gain at Sound Devices. In post-production, the recording was normalized by + 22dB up to -6dB and then converted to mp3 256kbps.
Various bird species are in the recording, such as Redwing, common snipe, common redpoll, whooper swan, raven, rock ptarmigan and definitely other birds too.
The name „Lambaklettur“ (Lamb rock) is a rocky hill above the recording site.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at medium or low volume
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  (mp3 256kbps / 56Mb)

Recorder: Zoom F3
Mics: Rode NT1. AB45 setup
Pix: Canon Eos R

Location: 64.675900, -21.623373
Weather: Dry, calm, clear sky, 5°C


I have recorded various things with LOM geophones. Including electricity pylons as well as other steel structures as for example around the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant.
All these steel structures can sound extremely different, even between different types of electricity pylons. It was also interesting to hear various ambient sounds through the steel, such as birdsong, traffic and spoken words. Wind and rain is also audible through the steel
What you hear in the recording below is a very simple mix of different sources of two electricity pylons which I recorded close to Búrfell power station..
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid.
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  (20Mb mp3 / 256kbps)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics. Two LOM geophones.
Pix: Canon EOS-R


I always miss those times in the last century when I rode on a bicycle alone for weeks in the highlands. I knew every single road and trail that could be found on maps, and other routes too. I had a special ability to look at maps and make detailed travel plans based on route conditions and weather forecasts. I knew very well my physical limitations and all the places where I could seek from bad weather. Therefore I never had any problems in my travels.
Without meeting people or seeing human structure, nature and I merged into one. The journeys were therefore both mentally and physically rejuvenation.
After the year 2002, cars and traffic began to increase rapidly in Iceland. Mountain huts that used to be shelters were now closed. Many emergency huts were removed due to poor handling. It became increasingly difficult to travel without being disturbed by noisy humans and without shelter in remote locations.
One of these very few emergency huts that still exist and are open and have saved many lives is on a Kaldidalur route. For me this hut was often a first overnight stop from Reyakjavík on the way to cross the highland.
I was in Kaldidalur 28th of May 2017 to record the surroundings. I decided to record beside the hut to record a familiar sound.
This is a typical soundscape for Icelandic highland. Birds in the distance and windy and if not windy and rainy then complete silence.
Inside the hut was normally the same sound but more silent, except if there was buzzing fly in the window.
Even though it is many years since this soundscape was part of my daily experience, I get an undeniable nostalgia for the past for listening to this recording
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid or low level.
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  (mp3 256Kbps / 63,7Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 744T
Mics: Rode NT1 NOS
Pix: Canon EOS-M

Location: 64.447652, -20.961026
Weather. Cloudy, 4-10m/sec, drizzle rain. 5°C


It has been several years since I published a recording from Flói nature reserve. The reason is more or less because of foul weather in recent years when I have had the opportunity to record there.
It was no exception last summer from late April to mid July. It was cold, windy and wet most of the time which is actually the high season for birdsong recording.
I went there on the 3rd of July 2021 and recorded overnight. The weather was calm in the beginning but the wind increased over the night. I was also struggling with increased sea tide and therefore a surf noise from the coast line, actually at the same time when the birds were most active during the dawn.
My mics were Lewitt LCT540s in IRT cross setup. Most of the bird’s activity was in front of channel 1&2. Most „silence“ was in front of channel 2&3 and most of the surf and traffic noise was at channel 4&1.
It surprised me how much traffic was there the whole night. There was almost constant rumble in the air during the ten hours I was recording, except between four and five o’clock in the morning. This noise was much more audible than I remember in my earlier recordings. The reason could be found in different mic setup and mics. Ten years ago I used to use NT1a in NOS or AB, pointing towards the open field and keeping the nearest road and coastline behind. I have also used MKH20 in AB which is less sensitive for these details than large capsule mics.
It takes time to search in this 10 hour long recording for some nice sounding 30 minutes moments. Listening to the whole four channels it starts with heavy traffic noise in all channels, then surf noise. Then traffic noise again until the wind and the sun makes the air so unstable close to noon, both traffic noise and bird activity almost disappear in the wind noise.
But with an IRT cross rig I have many options. I can turn off the channel or channels which are disturbing for the soundscape I am looking for.
The recording below is a very good example of this. Instead of using all four channels and mixing them to stereo, I use only channel 2&3 (NOS 90°/30cm) to avoid the surf noise. The time when it starts is about 04:15 so there is almost no traffic noise, but anyway, the recording starts and ends with some engine noise in the distance.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid or low level.
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Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Lewitt LCT540s,  NOS 30cm/90°
Pix: Canon EOS R

Location: 63.900944, -21.191958
Weather: Calm to breeze, partly cloudy, ca 5-10°C


Sólheimar in Grímsnes is a fabulous place. There is an eco village that was founded in 1930. I stayed there for one night on August 16th, 2021 and of course I let the recorder run overnight.
What is remarkable about this place is that it is located in a small shallow valley in the landscape, so there is not much man-made noise from the surrounding countryside.
When I first visited this place 45 years ago, it was not different from many other places or farms in this county. Just several houses and unique tall trees in open moorland.
Today, the landscape and the previous horizon have disappeared by forestry and new houses have been built. The place is therefore unrecognizable from what it was 45 years ago. The natural soundscape has also changed. Previously, this was a favorite land for peacocks, but with the advent of trees and vegetation, it has changed and the number of sparrows has increased.
The silence is interesting in this place. It’s extremely quiet so people can call each other at a considerable distance. Over the night in calm weather, nothing is audible with bare ears. Even though the recording gain has been increased by 70dB. The only occasional sounds come from vegetation, trees or bugs.
But, there is also some background noise at mid-low frequency that slowly changes the pitch during the night. I have noticed this in many quiet recordings and it seems to be slightly different from place to place. It is not possible to tell if it is related to moisture in the air or temperature. In this recording it might be a light breeze in the leaves on the top of the trees or maybe air conditioners in nearby houses. One thing is for sure, this recording was not disturbed by traffic, not even traffic somewhere far away in the county.
However, this „ultra silence“ part is not what can be heard here. Recording begins at a quarter past five. The sun seems to be warming the area, because fly swarms are buzzing in the background.
Birds started to call and sing half an hour earlier and people were clearly waking up.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid or low level.
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(mp3 256kbps / 60Mb)

Recorder: Sonosax SX-R4+
Mics: Lewitt LCT540s  (IRT cross setup)
Pix: LG G6

Location:  64.066517, -20.642249
Weather: Calm, partly cloudy, ca 10°C


Jökulsárlón is a fascinating glacial lagoon. It is about 300m deep below the glacier tongue and from Kayak I have measured with sonar a spot which was more than 280m deep. It is deeper than many places far away in the Atlantic ocean. So if something happens in this lagoon, like Iceberg calving, the sound will echo in this huge space down there as in a large dome.
It has been almost eight years since I recorded the sound in Jökulsárlón for the first time. I was both surprised and disappointed. The sound was much richer than I thought and because of this loud and rich sound down there it was clear I could not get a detailed sound of it when an Iceberg was scratching the bottom of the lake, or calving glacier.
The most common sound there is a loud „spark sound“ when highly pressed air bubbles break out of the ice, but also when dripping water falls on the surface from the melting ice above. Sometimes the iceberg moves and scratches the gravel in the bottom of the lagoon.
The following recording is made from a Kayak, where the lagoon is 40-80 meters deep and not far away, about 200-400m, from the place I did the recording 8 years ago.
You will hear a buzzing engine noise from sightseeing boats in this recording which has sadly increased in the past decade on the lagoon. Because of increasing tourist traffic this lagoon has almost constant engine noise pollution, both above and under the surface between 9-19 o´clock every day mainly during the summer time.
It is anyway interesting to use the engine noise to get insight into how loud the natural soundscape is in this lagoon. If there were NO ice surrounded by salty seawater, then engine noise would have been echoing loudly in the space below the surface, just as an noisy moped gang was driving inside Pantheon in Rome.

(mp3 256kbps / 63Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Benthowave Bll-7121 hydrophones  1,8meters apart.
Pix: Canon EOS R

Location: 64.048029, -16.192690
Weather: Calm to breeze. cloudy around 13 °C
Recording date: 25th of June 2021


Hjörleifshöfði is a 221 m-high inselberg in southern Iceland. It consists of palagonite. The mountain is located on the Mýrdalssandur outwash plain about 15 km east of the village Vík í Mýrdal, and was an island in the Atlantic Ocean several centuries ago (More info: Wikipedia).
I have very often visited this mountain, both those years when I was used to travel by bike in Iceland and now resent years when I am on my field recording trips.
But in recent years, mainly because of tourist traffic, it has not been so pleasant to stay there overnight to enjoy the natural soundscape, which can be a very different on each side of the mountain.
Thanks to COVID I got the opportunity on the 21st of June 2021 to record the soundscape on the west side without traffic noise from the main road, motor vehicles or tourists around me.
Even without traffic noise it has always been difficult to record this place because of the surf along the coast line which makes constant rumble in the background.
I arrived just before midnight. It was foggy but bright. This was last night before the summer solstice.
The weather forecast told me I would have more wind and even rain later in the morning so I quickly prepared the recording gear. I use the Kayak trailer behind the car to make a shelter from the breeze from the south and point the microphones toward the north in the middle of a big lupine field.
Most birds were mostly in the distance. But what makes the soundscape actually so interesting in this place is the redwing songs. They start their songs or themes differently from what I have heard in other places in Iceland. There are other places in Iceland where I have noticed this difference and it seems like it is somehow connected to places where lupine grows. These songs are also different between these „lupine locations“ e.g. Bæjarstaðarskógur in Skaftafell national park, while redwing songs sound pretty similar all over the country.
I have not investigated this in detail, but I have noticed this by listening to recordings from these locations and comparing them in spectrograms. What I need to do next is film them singing in these places to be sure I am actually listening to redwings (which is though 98% clear in my mind). Other things which make this a little bit difficult is the fact that not all birds sound similar in these locations so it is necessary to collect „closeup songs“ in good sound quality from several redwings to work with and investigate.
This is not my best quality recording, but it is almost impossible to record this place without traffic or surf noise. So I was just lucky to get this one.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid or low level
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(mp3 256kbps / 60Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040.  (Parallel AB) 
Pix: Canon EOS R

Location: 63.424336, -18.763861
Weather: Calm to breeze. Foggy, around 10 °C


The natural acoustic in Iceland for 8 months a year is little more than silence or noise created by the wind. It is obvious that my recording collection contains a large amount of this sound of silence. These are usually 6-10 hour long recordings. I usually do not listen to these recordings, but I run them all through a spectrogram to look for something interesting. Sometimes something interesting happens near the microphone, but it is rare. It is usually just different weather and of course the traffic that interrupts almost all recordings except for two to three hours overnight.
It was recently that the musician Hazal Elif Yalvaç contacted me and asked me about all kinds of „wind sounds“. So I searched through the collection, which made me find an interesting recording like this below.
It contains all kinds of wind sounds, both near the microphones and far away. The whole recording sounds like you are in the middle of a huge symphony orchestra. When it is calm and silent you can hear when the frost bites with a tiny „pop sound“. Straws and branches rub together in the wind and the ice breaks in the soil. Literally everything between falling snowflakes to strong winds blowing through tall trees in the distance.
This is a high gain recording (+50dB at rec.+ 20db in post) with microcosmic sound which was recorded in west Iceland 15th of February 2021.
This Gust symphony starts in Larghissimo, so be patient. The tempo will increase within a few minutes.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid level
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(mp3 256kbps / 62Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 788 
Mics: Lewitt LCT540s  (IRT cross setup, mixed to stereo)
Pix: Canon EOS R

Location:  64.673367, -21.628704
Weather:  partly cloudy, slightly snowing, around -7 to -12°C