Outside-In: Kenneth Kirschner

by 5:4

The next field recording in the Outside-In compilation comes from US composer Kenneth Kirschner. It’s another nocturnal recording, made on Block Island in the state of Rhode Island, off the east coast of the USA.

There’s a lovely sense of calm permeating this recording. The first 90 seconds or so are slightly more intense due to the more obvious presence of muted wind, but the soundscape soon calms and clarifies. In the foreground are assorted cricket and insect calls, all singing out at their own tempo and creating a network of ever-changing cross-rhythms. For me, this is one of the quintessential night-time sounds, and the collection that Kirschner has captured on this occasion are a mesmerising chorus. What i find equally fascinating, though, is the surrounding ambiance: never static, always conveying the vivid impression of life, activity and movement all around, while remaining completely nebulous. Possibly there’s the noise of boats in there somewhere, but these sounds are all the more enjoyable for their being impossible to resolve. It all makes for a highly effective mixture of certainty and uncertainty.

All of the recordings featured in Outside-In are available to download or stream; there’s no charge for downloading, but you’re free to make a payment if you wish, and all proceeds made will be shared among the contributors.

If you have a recording you would like to be considered for this project, please see the Call for Recordings information below.

Call for Recordings

If you have a recording you would like to be considered for Outside-In, the guidelines are very simple:

  • approximately 5-15 minutes’ duration – long enough to allow some decent immersion;
  • no obvious editing – recordings can be discreetly edited but should generally sound like a single recording, with no sudden cuts;
  • no indoor or underwater recordings – all in the open air;
  • no speech or overt human noises, apart from perhaps in the distance or as a part of the ambiance/surroundings;
  • the recording doesn’t need to be made using high-end equipment, but should be good enough to be enjoyed transparently, without attention drawn to its shortcomings.

Please note: the idea is that the recordings were made before the lockdown, but if you would like to make one that reflects the current, quieter state of the world – without breaking any local rules on going outside in the process! – then that’s absolutely fine.

To send your recording, please use the 5:4 Contact form and in the “Your Message” section please include the following:

  • a download link to your recording (via WeTransfer, or equivalent), which should preferably be in compressed lossless format (e.g. FLAC – no lossy recordings!);
  • information about the place, time and situation in which the recording took place – as much or as little detail as you would like to share;
  • a Google Maps link to the exact/approximate location where the recording was made.

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