Field recording is the art of capturing sounds in the world beyond the studio environment. There are a multitude of applications for this audio—storytelling, news-gathering, sonic portraits, podcasting, data-collecting, and of course making music. Artists utilize found sounds in a variety of creative ways—from the percussive samples of Tune-Yards, to the poetic soundscapes of Claire Rousay, to making beats out of random objects via the tutorials of Andrew Huang.
We wanted to explore some of the unique considerations when field recording for the purpose of creating music. We turned to producer and engineer Dennis Bunton who recorded many of the samples in our Field of Sounds Line in Arcade, which is a wide-ranging collection of found sounds curated into ready-to-use Sampler Kits. Together, we explored selecting a location, field recording gear and techniques, prepping your audio for musical use, and creating instruments — and ultimately music — out of your new samples.
The Search for Musical Sounds
What are the considerations that go into where you capture your field recordings? Here, Bunton discusses the creative choices that go into selecting a location, uncovering a variety of sources to record — from nature sounds to activating the space with percussive gestures — and the range of field recording equipment and gear you need to capture great audio.
Turn Your Sounds Into Samples
Field recording can generate a lot of material, and taking the time to clean and edit your audio will make it easier to get creative with the sounds you captured. In this video, Bunton discusses best practices for getting your field recordings off of your device and into your creative workflow. He demonstrates how to denoise audio using Izotope RX, techniques for chopping up your field recordings in both Ableton and Protools, and how to normalize your edited samples.
Build Instruments and Create Music with Found Sounds
Once all of your field recording samples are prepped and ready to work with, Bunton demonstrates how to create kicks, snares, percussion, bass, pads and textures with different types of audio sources. He uses a variety of tools and techniques in Ableton Live, and turns to Output’s Portal to process the pads and textures.
Field Recordings in Arcade
For those of us who want to dive in and start making music, Arcade’s Field of Sounds Line features ready-to-use organic textures and field recordings. We spoke with Output’s lead producer Wes Jones about his latest Sampler Kit for the Field of Sounds Line called Stinson Beach. He shared his process, creative ethos and what he hopes these sounds bring to the Arcade library.
Try Arcade free: https://output.com/products/arcade
Keep up with Dennis Bunton: https://www.instagram.com/iondriver