Thursday, October 05, 2006

Day30. In Search of Quiet Places to Record the Bell. New Mexico
We found several really beautiful places along scenic highway 27 where we stopped to record. It’s not very often that one can find a quiet place, and except for the occasional car and constant wind, we were pretty excited. We stopped by a solid waste transfer station in a little valley that was not at all busy on a Saturday afternoon and took turns ringing and recording the bell- Up close, down the road, in the distance down the hill behind a tree. We used a binaural set up that Krys brought with her where you clip two little microphones onto your glasses. (It was a good thing I had just purchased a new pair of sparkly sunglasses the night before at the gas station).

Near the transfer station

Anyway, as nice as the place was, it was less than ideal because the sound from the few cars that did pass lingered for a long time. So we packed up and went looking for a better place. Sometimes “better is the enemy of good”. We drove around for quite a while and were beginning to get hungry and were just about ready to call it quits for the day when I pulled off the road onto a soft shoulder and got stuck in the sand. Quickly and deeply. It was a lot like snow and I didn’t even bother spinning the wheels until that horrible smell happens.

The quality that made the location we chose for recording so perfect was its isolation. It was a less desirable quality in our current situation. I tried to call AAA, but of course there was no signal. So we grabbed some water, locked the car and set off back down the road to a town we saw about 8 miles earlier. We hadn’t gotten very far at all when the first vehicle we had seen in half an hour came down the road towards us. There was a man and his young son in the car and they said if we weren’t in a hurry they would be right back with a chain to pull us out. So we went back to the car and sat down with the bell until they came back and hauled the car, trailer and bell out of the sand. They didn’t care to ring the bell but the boy took some postcards and they headed home. Gluttons for punishment that we were, we continued to search for a really quiet place on solid ground so that we could make a few more recordings. We did. The cows watched, and then we went to dinner.

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