Merrimack River in Lowell (MA) and Manchester (NH)

I started my journey near my apartment in Manchester. I recorded a very loud drain with my Tascam DR-05 that comes out of the Merrimack River. I live about a mile from the Manchester Airport and a plane flies over at the very end of this recording. A “test” run at 44.1/24 with my portable unit.

It’s wonderful when “happy accidents” occur. The airplane was unexpected and certainly adds a great deal of tension to the final moments of the recording. I have a feeling I’ll take the audio here and play with it later on. It has great potential for a sound design element.

I used my Zoom H6 for the rest of the time today. Like last weekend, the conditions today were quite windy, yet sunny at times. I decided to focus my energies along the Merrimack River as it connects the two cities. Field recording requires some patience. I’m more confident using my equipment. However, when the wind starts to blow, I find that I need to be patient in order to capture a few good minutes of sound. A few of the pictures are from a boat dock just inside the Lowell city limits. I took a few in Manchester and once I got closer to the UMass Lowell campus.

After I recorded the water close up, I decided to set up in a park near our campus. There, I recorded the Merrimack and surrounding park. By this point in the day, I was much more calm and felt as though I got into a groove. Reflecting on what I hope to do with this project, I’m content to be in a “sound gathering” stage right now. Beyond that, I’m focused on being a sonic observer of sorts. It’s nice to be quiet, meditative and zoned in on my surroundings.

I’m noticing it requires a bit of patience to go out into the elements with the goal of capturing clean signal. The wind blows, whether I like it or not! I use the term “sonic observer” and “sound gathering” to describe what I’m doing right now. I don’t know exactly what I’ll do with all of the audio I’ve captured thus far. I’m not sure if it will end up in an installation, or perhaps as the soundtrack element for some mixed media piece. Honestly, I’m not sure it matters. What I’m learning thus far is that it is quite alright to simply be present and mindful of the surroundings for each recording. It’s alright to keep the goals simple and enjoyable. I’m enjoying the beauty of the fall, and the joyful solitude of capturing sound without distractions or major expectations (yet). Tomorrow I’ll head to Rhode Island for some additional work.


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