I've been pretty regularly taking field recordings recently, but my whole family managed to get a particularly burly form of the flu, so I've been stuck at home for most of the time and I didn't think I would be doing this one. Then, on Friday morning, I woke up much earlier than everyone else and had to be very quiet in a very quiet house. Then the magic happened. Strange ambient music was coming out of the fireplace. I moved all around it for a bit, trying to work out what the cause was. Maybe the kids' cat-shaped keyboard had failing batteries. Maybe the radio was on. No idea what was making these amazing sounds. Then it stopped.
Being very optimistic, I popped a stereo mic on my iphone, opened up MetaRecorder and popped it in the fireplace on record. I spent the next half hour being very quiet. Not a whole lot very interesting happened. Eventually a street cleaner moved around the neighborhood. That formed the main sound (with a little cleanup, and a 20db boost). When I listened back to the recording I discovered the familiar rhythm of someone getting a text message on their cell phone. That made for the beat - with a little help from Logic's Space Designer.
Later that day I learned that Pauline Oliveros had died. When I lived in Troy I'd been at various gatherings that Pauline was at and had visited the old Deep Listening space in Kingston a couple times. But I didn't really know her at all. Several of my friends did, however, and I read many of their memories over the weekend. I was familiar with some of her work before then, and have explored much more of it since. Deep Listening and environments have been at the heart of much of my recent sound work. She continues to be an influence and will be much missed.