Binaural Diaries

Binaural field recordings by Ollie Hall About meListen
Ollie Hall

Ollie Hall

Field Recordist

Binaural Diaries Field Recording Blog

The Binaural Diaries is my collection of field recordings, or ‘sound photographs’.

Many of the recordings are ‘binaural’, meaning that the method of capture recreates an accurate stereo image of the recorded environment when listened to using headphones.

My current field recording setup comprises of a pair of Sound Professionals SP-TFB-2 binaural microphones and a Sony PCM-M10 recorder. Occasionally I use the M10’s built-in stereo mics which I find can be handy when I don’t have the time to set up the binaural mics.

I record straight to 48kHz/24-bit .wav format using the M10, and apply a small amount of amplification if necessary.

The early recordings featured here were made using an unbranded pair of binaural mics and a Sony MZ-R50 minidisc recorder.

The Blog

In 2006, inspired by recordings I heard on the Wire magazine’s Wire Tapper compilation series and Aaron Ximm’s Quiet American website, I picked up some amateur recording equipment and started documenting sounds for pleasure.

Shortly after, I started the Binaural Diaries blog and have been ‘sporadically’ sharing my recordings ever since.

It still appears to be a niche interest, but over the years I see more and more amateur recordists sharing their work online. The amount of feedback from visitors has also increased and I’ve learned that people get pleasure from playing field recordings as background ambience as much as focused listening using headphones for the binaural effect.

I hope you continue to enjoy the recordings as I grow this site and find inspiration in the incidental and serendipitous.

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Leigh Woods, Bristol

Field recordings made in Leigh Woods, Bristol. Recorded on 21/11/2016. It was a rainy day, so much of the subject matter is the sound of rain against the leaf mould, the trees, and puddles. Gear: Sony PCM-M10 Sound Professionals SP-TFB-2 in-ear binaural mics....
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Woodhill Bay, Portishead

Field recordings made at Woodhill Bay, Portishead. Recorded on 14/10/2016. This was my first outing using the Sony PCM-M10, and involved some clambering on the headland rocks to try and get into a good position.  The tide was quite far out, and the sea calm. Gear:...
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Crashing Waves at Miramar Beach near Porto

Binaural field recording of crashing waves at Miramar Beach, near Porto. Recorded on 12/9/2016. Gear: Zoom H2 Sound Professionals SP-TFB-2 in-ear binaural microphones....
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The Porto Metro, Hurtling Past

Binaural field recordings of the Porto Metro, taken in various parts of the city, including the Dom Luís I Bridge. Recorded on 17/9/2016. Gear: Zoom H2 Sound Professionals SP-TFB-2 in-ear binaural microphones....
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Bustling Street Sounds in Porto

Binaural field recording of bustling street sounds in Porto. Recorded on 17/9/2016. Gear: Zoom H2 Sound Professionals SP-TFB-2 in-ear binaural microphones....
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Riding the Vintage Tram in Porto

Binaural field recordings of the vintage tram that runs from the Casa do Infante, Porto, to Foz do Douro. Recorded on 13/9/2016. Gear: Zoom H2 Sound Professionals SP-TFB-2 in-ear binaural microphones....
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Rain outside yurt, Norfolk

Binaural field recording made while sheltering from the rain under a yurt in Norfolk. Norfolk 12/06/2015 21:58 Gear: Zoom H2 Sound Professionals SP-TFB-2 in-ear binaural microphones.   Listen: [soundcloud...
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Ranworth Broad, Norfolk

Field recordings made of rain and birdsong in Ranworth Broad, Norfolk. Recorded on 13/6/2015. Gear: Zoom H2 Sound Professionals SP-TFB-2 in-ear binaural microphones.   Listen: [soundcloud id='133074036'...
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Cumberland Basin, Bristol 20150420

Binaural field recordings made while walking around the Cumberland Basin in Bristol. Road traffic, bird song, helicopter passing overhead... Recorded on 20/4/2015. Gear: Zoom H2 Sound Professionals SP-TFB-2 in-ear binaural microphones. Listen: [soundcloud...
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Bath Christmas Market 20141206 1427

Binaural field recording of the crowds and other sounds at the Bath Christmas market 2014. [soundcloud id='180391833']
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Bedminster Lantern Parade

Binaural recording of the Bedminster lantern parade precession, Bristol. 20141206...
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Coffee Grinding

Grinding coffee with a Rhino coffee hand...
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Footsteps through muddy puddles

Binaural field recording of footsteps through muddy puddles and leaves in the woodland near Tintern...
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3D Printed House Exhibition, Amsterdam.

The 3D printers at the 3D Printed House Exhibition, Amsterdam....
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Amsterdam – Sitting by the Ij

On the northern bank of the Ij, Amsterdam. A variety of boats and people passing...
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Amsterdam city street sounds

Binaural recordings of Amsterdam's city streets. Surrounded by boats, pedalos, bicycles, trams and cars all at...
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Amsterdam houseboat

Binaural recording of sounds aboard a houseboat in Amsterdam. View Larger...
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Champ Sonique Sound Installation, Amsterdam

The Champ Sonique sound art installation by Mo Becha in Amsterdam....
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Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014 6am balloon ascent

Binaural field recordings of hot air balloons as they ascend at Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014. Between 06:30 and 07:00 during the morning launch on Sat 9th...
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Concert for the Birds

Recorded in The Lord Mayor's Chapel, Bristol, prior to Annika Kahrs' 'Concert for the Birds'. 20140505 1345. Remember to listen using headphones!...
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Temple Church Park, Bristol

Temple Church Park, Bristol 24/04/2014...
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Rainwater Flowing Over Rooftop

Rainwater flowing over rooftops. Leaning out the back window. 20/04/2014...
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Birdsong 20140331 06:35

Birdsong 20140331...
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Fridge-freezer drones

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Book Hive Installation

Two binaural recordings while exploring the Book Hive installation at Bristol Central Library. Arts Council...
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Churning Cement Mixer

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Greengrocer Patter

Bristol greengrocer tempts the public with blueberries and...
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River towpath splashing water under bridge

Recorded binaurally on 18th May 2013 12:03pm Under Temple Bridge...
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Bristol Canal Towpath

Creaky barge moorings recorded binaurally on 18th May 11:59am in Bristol, near Temple Meads Station ferry...
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Bristol Ferry Boat Company

Recorded binaurally on 18th May 2013. I recently spent a morning with Chris Littleboat of The Paper Cinema collecting sounds for their latest show entitled West. Traversing Bristol's waterways featured heavily in the show, and The Bristol Ferry Boat Company were kind...
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Portishead Outdoor Swimming Pool

Portishead Outdoor Swimming Pool.
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Car journey

A binaural car journey with the window...
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Bird feeding – St Margaret’s Loch, Edinburgh – 20130215 1559

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Edinburgh Sleeper Train

Edinburgh Sleeper...
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Camp site farm animals

Ducks, ducklings, geese and pigs.   06 Sept 2012 - 09:21   Henry's Camp Site, The Lizard,...
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Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2011

Almost exactly a year ago I made some recordings at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. We weaved between fairground rides and crowds of...
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Free Music Archive / World Listening Day field recording mix

To celebrate World Listening Day 2012 the Free Music Archive have put together a compilation of field recordings. I was excited to find that two of my recordings from Japan were included alongside some really great work.  You can stream or download the compilation...
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Construction site – Temple Meads 20120613 13-55

Lunchtime walks take me past abrasive building site...
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South Bank Skate Park, London

South Bank Skate Park,...
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A3029 Underpass

Ten minutes from where I live, the A3029 crosses the river Avon.There's a pedestrian walkway beneath part of this crossing, where BMX tracks, graffiti and cycle routes out towards the Clifton Suspension Bridge exist. There's a point on the flyover where two large...
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Church bells – Christ Church with St Ewen, Bristol

Church bells - Christ Church with St Ewen,...
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Shopping in Chinatown

Chinatown London January...
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The Thames Clipper

Thames Clipper journey from Tower Millennium Pier to London Eye Millennium Pier. London, January...
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Creative Commons Mix for Japan Relief

I recently found some of my Japan recordings included on a mix available for download from the Free Music Archive, put together in support of Japan Relief following the very sad recent...
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Brick Lane 2

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Brick Lane

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Japan By Ear revisited

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London, January 2011 – Borough Market pt.2

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London, January 2011 – Borough Market

Recordings made at Borough Market using my Roland CS-10EM mics. It was a cool place, more upmarket than I had imagined. I think I was expecting something more rustic. Listen for the trains passing...
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Seaside sounds at Pedn Vounder beach, Cornwall.

There is a blanket of wave sounds in these recordings, but I wanted to augment this by capturing some of the rock pool trickles and drips. View Larger...
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Exeter Food & Drink Festival 2010

A short snippet of ambience from this year's Food & Drink festival in Exeter. By this point in the day, many people had been sampling the offerings of the beer...
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Junior Taiko Drumming Group

The Kagemusha Junior Taiko Group playing at the Exeter Respect Festival...
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Swanage Railway

We recently had an afternoon at the beach via the Swanage Railway from Corfe Castle to Swanage itself. We had a good swim and picnic, but most of the fun was had riding the old steam...
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Water feature, Bristol.

Bristol Millennium Square Water...
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Taking it through the car wash…

I'd thought about doing this one for a while now, but just didn't get round to it. Until...
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Barges at Bristol Harbourside

A binaural recording made of tour barges passing beneath the bridge at Bristol...
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KR-3 – Hypnagogic Pop / Glo-fo / chillwave / psych remix experiment

I've been listening to some Hypnagogic Pop compilations recently. There seems to be divided opinions over the legitimacy of this new 'genre', being a term first used by journalist David Keenan in The Wire magazine. Regardless of the many labels also associated with...
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Popcorn

Making popcorn at home - fun to listen to and fun to...
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Violin and Chat

Relaxing at the Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter... again... Violin and Chat by...
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Crunching Snow Underfoot

As have a lot of places in the UK, Exeter experienced a surprising amount of snow in January. I went out for a walk after work one evening and recorded the sound of the snow crunching...
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Exeter Quayside

Recordings of flowing water around Trews Weir along from the Exeter...
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Overheard from the football ground.

We live close to Exeter City's football ground - St James' Park. We can often hear the match going on from our back garden. Image Copyright Martin...
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Pub Ambience

We've got a new local pub, and it's a great one. It's called 'The Rusty Bike', and it does great food and beer. It's also a good pub for a Sunday pint and read of the paper - the very activity I was partaking in when making this...
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Trafalgar Square

I was up in London in August. It was a great sunny day, and there was plenty going on in Trafalgar Square. Trafalgar Square by...
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M5 motorway through Exeter

Walking over the M5 flyover on Tithebarn Lane Exeter, Devon. A binaural field recording taken on 4th August 2009. This is on my lunch break walking route - most of the route is more picturesque than the motorway flyover though! Motorway Traffic by...
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Exeter Respect 2009 : Pooja Angra

To quote from her official Youtube page, Dr Pooja Angra is a Hindustani classical singer with a doctorate in Indian Classical music from Delhi University. She is based in the U.K. She got her initial training from Prof Alankar Singh & Ruby Banerjee and later from...
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Exeter Respect 2009: Chartwell Dutiro

Chartwell Dutiro is a mbira player from Zimbabwe. It was great pleasure to experience his music and I was impressed by the musicianship of both him and he accompanying players. Recorded on 11 July 2009 Chartwell Dutiro by...
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Exeter Respect 2009

Earlier on during the Respect Festival I just had a walk around the site seeing what was going on. I made a few recordings while at it. One of the things I picked up on was the band previously covered - Ainote-san, travelling in 'locomotive'-fashion while making crazy...
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Exeter Respect 2009 : Ainote-san 2

At the end of the set AInote-san concluded with an improvised piece under the Whaletone Opera banner that was much more avant-garde and eccentric - as on might expect from improvised music! Members of the collective disbanded into the audience where they basically...
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Exeter Respect 2009 : Ainote-san

The Exeter Respect Festival takes place each year, and as you might be able to spot, I've taken my recording equipment along to this event in the past. Previously the festival had been held at the Phoenix Arts Centre but this was the first year for it to be held at...
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Ustad Asad Ali Khan Sahib

I encountered the following video on the blog of Sunn O))) member Stephen O'Malley. I'm enthusiastic but not very knowledgeable when it comes to Indian classical music, I find the drones and textures compelling. Anyway, this video caught my attention this morning and...
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Train from London Paddington to Heathrow

This is very back-to-front I know. But I just couldn't resist posting the recordings made in Japan before those made on the way to Japan. Our journey began by taking the train from Exeter to London Paddington, and then on to Heathrow - also by train. We travelled...
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Japan : Strolling around outside Kyoto Station

A binaural field recording made while walking around the entrance area of Kyoto Station, Japan on 27th March...
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Japan : Waiting in the Veloce coffee shop, Kyoto Station

The day of our return to Tokyo we got to Kyoto Station quite early. To kill time we went for a coffee in Caffe Veloce. My girlfriend wanted to do some last minute gift buying in one of the shopping centres in the station complex so I took the opportunity to record the...
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Japan : Waiting for the Shinkansen, Kyoto Station

This speaks for itself really. The Shinkansen trains are fantastic and I couldn't resist making some recordings from the Kyoto Station platform while we were waiting to jump on. Recorded on 27 March...
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Japan : Rain under an umbrella

Another of our walks in Kyoto followed what was called The Philosopher's Walk (哲学の道 Tetsugaku no Michi), famed for it's beauty and popularity as a place of meditation of Philosophy Professor Kitaro Nishida. We hired bikes from K's Place (the fantastic Hostel we were...
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Japan : Okura-Ike pond, Arashiyama, Kyoto

A lot of our time in Kyoto was spent loosely following the walking routes outlined in our guidebooks. The day I made this recording we had started out by catching the train northwesterly to the Arashiyama district and visiting the Tenryū-ji temple and gardens. Leaving...
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Featured in a Metroboy mix

A few weeks ago my buddy Ben of Ben and Lex included one of my recordings in one of his mixes for Brap.fm under the pseudonym Metroboy.It's the first track in the mix, and I really dig what he's done with it. Visit his Metroboy blog here to give it a listen. I also...
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Japan : Yasaka-jinja, Kyoto

Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社 Yasaka-jinja), once called Gion Shrine (梅宮神社 Gion-sha), is a Shinto shrine in the Gion District of Kyoto, Japan. Situated at the east end of Shijō-dōri (Fourth Avenue), the shrine includes several buildings, including gates, a main hall and a...
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Japan : Inokashira Park

The same day we visited the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo, we took a stroll around the nearby Inokashira Park. We had an amazing time at the Ghibli Museum, but with all the Japanese kids bashing into our knees and getting shoved around, we were eager to get a...
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London Sound Survey – impressive new(ish) site.

I'm always interested in discovering other field recording sites, although they are few and far between. Today I received a message from Ian Rawes, the admin of a site named London Sound Survey, letting me know that he had placed a link to my blog on his site. From...
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Japan : Fushimi-Inari-Taisha

The Fushimi-Inari-Taisha shrine in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto is one of those places that always appears in the guidebooks, more often than not on their covers! It is famous for it long 'tunnels' of redtorii that wind their way uphill to the inner shrine. Having had a good...
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Mention on BBC Save Our Sounds

Further to my previous post regarding the BBC World Service's Save Our Sounds project, I was recently flattered to be contacted by a member of BBC staff asking if they could have permission to use one of my photographs on their Sound Diary page. A couple of days later...
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Japan : Outside the Tokyo Dome Amusement Park

At the end of our holiday, back in Tokyo after a week in Kyoto, we investigated Akihabara (which was awsome) and then walked all the way to theTokyo Dome City in the Bunkyo ward. We had hoped to visit the nearby Koishikawa Botanical Gardens, but were too late and it...
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Japan : Tokyo Metro

During our stay in Tokyo we used the underground train a lot to get around. Unfortunately I didn't take note of the route we were taking while I made this recording. I'm sure it could be deduced from the train intercom that notified passengers of the journey progress....
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Japan : Venus Fort entertainment arcade

Odaiba Venus Fort is the first 'theme park-like' shopping mall in Japan. Built in 1999, our guidebooks described it as a "theme park for ladies". We weren't especially interested, but had read (and been told by friends) that it was quite an experience. Throughout the...
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Japan : Tokyo Big Sight – conveyor

I briefly mentioned in my last post that I found the Tokyo Big Sight building in Odaiba quite impressive. Tokyo big Sight is a popular name for what really is the Tokyo International Exhibition Center. The day we were there was the day of a huge anime and manga...
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Japan : Odaiba

Quoting Wikipedia: "Odaiba (お台場?) is a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay, Japan, across the Rainbow Bridge from central Tokyo. It was initially built for defensive purposes in the 1800s, dramatically expanded during the late 20th century as a seaport district, and...
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Japan : Ueno Park – Bells of Time

Sounding through clouds of flowers - is it the bell in Ueno or Asakusa? What was alluded to in the this well-known Haiku by Matsuo Basho is this bell. The "bells of time" played the part of informing Edo citizens of the time of day. This bell on Ueno hill was one such...
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Japan : Ueno Park 1

On the Monday of our first week in Japan we visited Ueno, and in particular, Ueno Park. We'd been told that in comparison with many other parks in Tokyo it was a little shabby. We didn't really have anything to compare it to, and we had a fantastic day. Recorded on 16...
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Japan : Buddhist Chanting at Chion-in temple.

Chion-in temple in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto is the headquarters of the Jodo Shu (Pure Land Sect). It wasn't actually on the list of temples that we wanted to visit, be we were lucky to stumble across it when we did because a chant was in progress. We knelt down and...
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Japan : Asakusa Pt. 3

Sensō-ji was a very impressive temple. Some Buddhist monks were just ending their chant as I started recording, and I wished I'd got there a few minutes earlier. People were milling around, briefly bowing their heads in prayer and throwing coins into a receptacle -...
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Japan : Asakusa Pt. 2

Some more recordings taken in Asakusa. If only I could adequately capture the sights and smells to go with the sounds! It was quite a touristy/popular sightseeing area, and we certainly encountered more westerners here than a lot of the other areas in Tokyo that we...
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Japan : Asakusa Pt. 1

On Thursday 19th March we visited the Asakusa district of Tokyo. We were interested in Sensō-ji, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon and it's approach, which we had read was a bustling street flanked by interesting market stalls. The sights and...
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Japan : Izakaya at Myoden Station

During the portion of our time in Japan that we spent in Tokyo, we stayed in the apartment of a 'friend of a friend' a short walk away from Myoden Station, Chiba Prefecture. Near the end of our holiday we went for dinner at an Izakaya that was housed in the same...
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Post-holiday update

Well, it's been two weeks since I returned from a fortnight of sightseeing and exploration in Japan.  As I type I'm in the process of uploading a number of recordings I made while in Tokyo and Kyoto.  Once the upload process has been completed I'll begin posting some...
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Fireworks! Double Locks Exeter

Last Guy Fawkes night (or near enough) we attended a firework display at The Double Locks pub a little way out of Exeter, on the canal. We've been a number of times in the past, and have always enjoyed it. Occasionally they put on live music and the food (and beer!)...
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New cross-links

Today I discovered two field recording blogs that include a link to here. It's always cool to come across both new field recording blogs (new to me at least), and sites that have linked to mine. I have returned the gesture. The blogs are: Binaural Airwaves. 7hz. I've...
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Salcombe Regis

In October we went for a walk along the coast starting and ending at Salcombe Regis. On route we passed a secluded (and deserted) beach, which we subsequently learned was a naturist beach! I made a recording while climbing down the steps to the beach. Unfortunately my...
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Outdoor swimming pool

A sunny afternoon at the University of Exeter outdoor swimming pool. These are my favourite recordings for a while. There are some hilarious little snippets of conversation to be heard amongst the splashing of...
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Collections

As an accompaniment to the blog I’ve begun grouping together some of my favourite work into ‘collections’ of recordings that share similar themes or geographical subjects.

I hope this helps bring to the forefront recordings that visitors have expressed their enjoyment of over the years as well as those that I keep coming back to for my own listening pleasure.

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