Hello world! I'm back from my two month South American travels, and I brought with me 120 hours worth of recordings for Little Symphony. I couldn't be more excited to start editing some of these files in to album worthy segments, and Bryson is feeling very inspired and motivated to create the musical side of all these upcoming albums as fast as possible. That means, aside from the one month delay period between submission and distribution, there should be some amazing new sounds coming your way very soon.
Travelling With a Microphone
It was an incredibly interesting experience to base a lot of my trip around the process of taking these field recordings. It opened up travel opportunities I never would have experienced without the context of my handheld recorder. Firstly, it inspired in me a new type of presence. Whenever I travel I try to live in the moment as often as possible, but in the past that has been almost exclusively a visual and social experience. I observe the beauty of the place I'm visiting, and I am engaged in my conversations with locals or other travellers. But with my microphone in my bag, always ready to start a recording, my presence also became auditory. I started feeling hyper aware of all the sounds happening around me, whether I was in a bustling city, a small, cultural/musical town, hiking past a waterfall in the Andes, or surrounded by animals in the Amazon. This made my trip really enjoyable in the moment, and also has provided an amazing way to look back and remember it. Listening to my recordings now I am mentally transported to the destinations they came from and reminded of the beauty that was there. It has also been an amazing way to share my trip with others. It's common practice for travellers to take lots of pictures and show their friends and family when they get home, but it's not so common for travellers to be able to share the soundscape of the places they visited. I'm happy to have the opportunity to do this.
Looking Ahead to New Ideas
Now that Little Symphony content spreads across two continents, we are looking forward to new ideas for the website. We want to create an interactive map that sorts the albums by location of the field recording. This way, you can browse the map and select which part of the world you want your sleep music or relaxation sounds to come from. As I mentioned before, the sounds of an area are as important as photographs for conveying the experience to others. We hope that our interactive map, in combination with some beautiful photos, can bring others closer to the experience of travelling the world, even if they don't have the opportunity to actually travel themselves. It's also an incredibly exciting prospect to think of how many different places one could explore in one day in this way. A jump across an ocean would be just one click away, transporting you from South American rain forests to the Australian coast line. We will have to travel a lot more before we can fill out this map to a respectable amount of areas, but every idea has to start somewhere. Maybe as this map draws attention from our listeners we can encourage people to send us recordings from where they live, and populate the map much quicker.
For now, I also happen to be going to India in March for a month. I don't really know what to expect in terms of sounds I can record there, but I'm really excited to find out! Hopefully I find at least a couple soundscapes that will be good to convert in to Little Symphony albums. Potentially we will have to branch out from ambient, relaxing music and just start releasing any sounds we capture, in another format. For example, sounds of cars and people in a busy city doesn't exactly make for good sleep music, but it is still valuable for what I've been talking about in terms of conveying the experience of an area to somebody. India will certainly have plenty of interesting sounds to capture, and I look forward to experiencing and sharing them, whether they are relaxing or not. Until then, January and February will be devoted to releasing all the exciting content we already have collected. We also have a few other projects on the horizon, like a YouTube channel and improving our presence on Apple Music. Stay tuned for all Little Symphony has to bring you in 2019, it's going to be an exciting year for calming music!
My Upcoming Trip to South America
On October 30th, in about a month and a half, I will be embarking on my obligatory, post-graduation, rite of passage, finding myself travel journey. I will be staying just outside of Cuenca, Ecuador for a couple weeks and then bussing/flying my way towards Iquitos, Peru. Iquitos is a city surrounded by the Amazon. In fact, you cannot access Iquitos by road and you must either fly there or trek through the forest on foot with a local guide. I will be opting for the flight on the way there, but may get more adventurous on the way home!
I picked Iquitos partly because it will provide a nice secluded area for me to hang out away from society, meditate and remain as quiet as possible for a couple months. I’m also interested in meeting some locals who want to help me learn Spanish in exchange for me helping them learn English. They say immersion is the best way to learn a language and I can’t think of a better place to immerse myself in Spanish than a completely isolated town in Peru.
The other reason I picked Iquitos is because I’ve fallen in love with recording in the field. It’s peaceful and fulfilling. I can’t think of something more incredible to be doing than finding sounds I love and bringing them back for people to listen to. One of my fondest memories of this so far has been capturing birds sounds in Elk Island National Park with Bryson. Being in Iquitos will allow for a ton of opportunity to work on Little Symphony. Hopefully putting this work in right now will allow Little Symphony to become a more significant part of my life, in terms of allowing me to earn some passive income. I want to do this, not so that I have lots of money to spend, but so that I can keep myself alive while I work on more projects that I care about. I will talk more about those in future blog posts.
Amazon Rainforest and Other Music
One of Little Symphony’s long term goals is to gather field recordings from as many different countries and habitats as we can. Part of the beauty of the internet is that the immense amount of content that gets created means you can search for and find lots of things you want. We are hoping that when people search for things like “What does the Sahara sound like at night?” or “Prairie chickadees singing in the morning”, we can provide the content these people are looking for.
Listener Feedback and Suggestions
To that end, if you are a Little Symphony fan, please contact us and let us know what kinds of recordings you would love for us to produce. These can range from nature recordings to ambient cooking sounds (think popcorn popping, soup boiling, stir fry simmering), more sound healing noises like those found in A Moment Alone, maybe some ASMR, maybe rain on top of different kinds of rooftops, the sky is the limit! Make a request and we will see if it is within our means to fulfill.
I love the relaxing music we’ve been producing so far. Rain, soft bird calls, waves, they make for really nice background music in a lot of situations. I personally listen to our music while I read, sleep and work. My roommate listens while he studies, Bryson listens all the time. But I want to start getting creative and branching out from that relaxing vibe. What other vibes are important to you guys? When throughout your day could you imagine some ambient noises making for good background noise, and what kind of noise do you want it to be? Everyone has different preferences and tastes for music, and I’m sure our ambient music is the same. We don’t want to just produce content we enjoy, we want to make something for everybody.
Learning Instruments and Other Ramblings
Another way we are hoping to branch out is with different instruments and synth textures. We often stick with a trusty sound that we have used for many of our current albums. It is very peaceful and non-intrusive, which makes it a good choice for many situations. However, albums like Melancholy and A Moment Alone have branched out from this and those are some of my favourite. I myself am relatively new to playing music, so I have a lot of options open in terms of instruments I could learn next. Currently I play bass guitar, piano and synth, and I’m thinking about learning ukulele next. I am also very interested in cello and alto saxophone down the road. Bryson is currently the powerhouse behind our actual music creation, but I’m hoping to become an integral part of it as well. I’m actually taking a ukulele to South America with me!
That seems like a nice way to round out this blog post. It has been a lot of fun writing this first one, and I hope to write more in the future. Thank you to anybody who read this and is interested in our work. In the mean time, keep on relaxing!