one-minute vacation
flotsam resonance #1

Flotsam Resonance #1 is a small project I executed in January of 2007 while vacationing on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico.

This work is dedicated to, not only but not least because it was inspired by, sound artist Toshiya Tsunoda — specifically, by his recordings made from within resonant objects like tubs and bottles (such as appear on Extract from field recording archive #2: The air vibration inside a hollow).


marincello unsoundwalk
rodeo soundial
handpans and the hang
as paredes têm ouvidos
flostam resonance #1
a day, a week, a year
field effects concert series
annapurna: memories in sound
quiet, please
serendipity machines
urban cycles
other recordings

Message in a bottle: Core Sound HEB microphones inserted into bottles I found washed up on the beach.

While in the Yucatan my wife and I stayed at an 'ecotel' administered by the Centro Ecológico Sian Ka'an (CESiaK) in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve south of Tulum.

CESiaK (a nonprofit responsible for the creation of the biosphere) is famous for its work protecting sea turtles. Most of that work is done on the coast's long beaches, which while lovely are suffering: they are inundated with trash arriving on the currents — so much so that our instinctive efforts to help, by collecting bags of mostly plastic detritus, while appreciated, were worse than useless.

The center has a library of trash not only from the obvious suspects — cruise ships regularly dumping waste overboard; ill-managed growth up the coast at Cancún, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum — but from all over the world. Hearing this, I was reminded of reports of floating 'trash islands' collecting in the open ocean, such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

One morning I found the beach littered with new flotsam and made a pair of simultaneous field recordings.

I made the first by inserting my (very small) Core Sound HEB microphones into two glass bottles that had washed up; I relocated one of them to achieve approximate human ear separation between the bottles. I made the second, a more conventional near-binaural recording, with my Sonic Studios DSM microphones.

(For a novel listening experience, play the 'ambiance' recording on a stereo while listening to the 'resonance' recording on open-backed headphones like the Sony MDR-F1.)

I wrote about this project in an essay on the evolvoution of my relationship to sound recently; when it's published, or clear that that is not going to happen, I'll quote myself here at length.

In the meantime, suffice to say that the project is personally significant because it represents a departure from my traditional mode of working, which has almost always sought to capture the most transparent (by which I mean convincing) recordings of natural acoustic space.

In recordings such as this I instead allow the process of documentary recording to be foregrounded, which in addition to other effects (which in the case of this project are central) also foregrounds my agency within the documented space.

It is slightly uncomfortable to leave the shadows.

flotsam resonance #1 22 MB

Beach at Sian Ka'an bioreserve, south of Tulum, Mexico, as recorded from within two bottles that washed up on shore.

flotsam ambiance22 MBBeach at Sian Ka'an, as recorded with Sonic Studios DSM near-binaural microphones.

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