“The Lightning Field (1977), by the American sculptor Walter De Maria, is a work of Land Art situated in a remote area of the high desert of western New Mexico. It is comprised of 400 polished stainless-steel poles installed in a grid array measuring one mile by one kilometer.”
Landscapers, season 1 episode 1 (2021).
I love rain, I’m sure that you all know that by now. I made this field recording last week from my window while I was working.
The sound of the rain is always beautiful. In this case, it’s interrupted by cars from time to time and you can also hear some construction workers that are restoring a nearby building. I recorded the sound using a Zoom H2n, without external microphones.
About my recordings of rain
I started recording the rain a long time ago, I think that it was in 2009, but I’m not sure. I have an archive of field recordings, most of them from Barcelona, where I live. You can find a lot of these recordings at Archive.
I started recording the rain using a Mini Disc, now I use a portable digital recorder, sometimes with binaural microphones. I like to walk under the rain, so some of the recordings are soundwalks.
I also have my rainography blog: images, texts, sounds, videos, paintings, and all kind of things related to rain.
Why I love rain
I live in Barcelona, which is not a rainy place, but I was born in Ferrol and I grew up in A Coruña, two cities in north-west Spain, on the Atlantic coast, where it rains a lot. Really, a lot, like 130 days per year. Maybe I just miss that weather, I don’t know.
Some people think that Spain is all the same, all sunny and hot, but that’s not true. Barcelona is a perfect example of that typical Spanish idea, sunny and hot, specially in summer, most people love it, but not me. Sometimes Barcelona is too hot and it’s uncomfortable.
In any case, in Barcelona there’re sometimes really huge storms, and I love that!
Blade Runner (1982)
All those cyberpunk moments where I live. Just warming you up. Walking alone. Walking alone when all of a sudden you look down. Doesn’t make any difference. Maybe you wanna be by yourself. I understand what you mean.
You reach down. It’s a test designed to provoke an emotional response. A new life awaits you in the Off-world. Custom-tailored, genetically engineered humanoid. Climb and maintain. Over the landing threshold.
Sit down, cyberpunk.
Walking the streets. Stop right where you are. Reaction time is a factor where I live. Three nights ago they tried to break through an electrical field crawling towards you on intergalactic runs. Incept date: 2016. Optimum self-sufficiency.
A basic pleasure model in the outer colonies to copy human beings. Fail-safe device. Go put the machine on it. Fluctuation of the pupil. Involuntary dilation of the iris. Just relax.
Plus the killing cyberpunk.
I’d take him to the television. I’d kill it. He likes it so much he hangs it on your bedroom wall. A banquet is in progress. Commerce is our goal here. An experiment, nothing more. A strange obsession.
There’s a new framework:seasonal series with one of my rain recordings.
“The framework:seasonal series of fund-raising audio releases continues with issue #8, another superb compilation of previously unreleased sounds by artists working in the field recording community. this selection features new names as well as several you’ve certainly heard before, all of whom are new to framework editions‘ release series. blanca rego, christopher delauranti, christina kubisch, stephanie spray, darius ciuta, cathy lane, julia hanadi al abed & lou mah al abed ratier, martin kay, magali babin and rodolphe alexis.”
In the first page of Rain: Four Walks in English Weather, Melissa Harrison writes: “…rain is as essential to our sense of identity as it is to our soil.” She is writing about the English countryside, which is something that is not really familiar to me, but the fact is that now I realise that the only thing that I consider essential to my sense of identity is rain.
I’m from Spain, yeah, that supposedly sunny place, but Spain is not really such a sunny place, at least not all of it. I’m from the northwest corner of the country, in which it usually rains around 180 days per year, and I fucking love it. Now I live in Barcelona, which is a really sunny place, and I hate this weather.
But I think it’s going to rain today.
“…it seems to me that rain is a mirror of one of our key emotional states: not a negative one at all, but deeply necessary – just as necessary as joy. Water, after all, both reflects us, and brings life; it was also, for Jung, an archetype of the unconscious, and of change. ‘Into each life some rain must fall,’ wrote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (or was it Dennis Potter?) – and it’s quite true: after all, nothing new can grow without it.”
Rain: Four Walks in English Weather, Melissa Harrison.
“In England, walking about at night was a crime for a very long time. William the Conqueror ordained that a bell should be rung at 8 p.m., at which point Londoners were supposed to put their fires and candles out and their heads down. Again and again, until modern times, Matthew Beaumont tells us, specifically nocturnal laws were promulgated against draw-latchets, roberdsmen, barraters, roysterers, roarers, harlots and other nefarious nightwalkers — including those ‘eavesdroppers’ who stood listening in the close darkness where the rain dripped from a house’s eaves.
Beaumont reads such laws as being designed to exert political and social control. To walk the city streets at night, by contrast, is to make ‘a libertine assault on what might be called the ideology of good hours’, to pose ‘an intrinsic challenge to the diurnal regime on which, from the end of the Middle Ages, Protestant ideology and the political economy of capitalism partly depended’. Nightwalking is sticking it to the Man.”
Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London by Matthew Beaumont.
In this case, all sound recordings are from Galicia (mainly A Coruña) and Catalunya (mainly Barcelona), the two places were I’ve lived during long periods of time—in fact, the podcast starts with a recording made at my childhood/teenage bedroom and ends with a recording made at one of my last places at Barcelona, the only flat where I’ve lived alone.
You can listen to the podcast and find more information about it at Framework Radio.
“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.”
Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino.
“Para viajar debería bastarnos sólo con nuestro cuerpo; pero las noches reclaman un abrigo; la lluvia, una capa; el baño, un traje limpio; el pensamiento, tinta y pinceles”.
Sendas de Oku, Matsuo Basho.
I’ve always loved walking, specially in urban environments, so I’m always thinking about doing artworks related to that. I’ve recorded some sound walks, usually in the rain, but I haven’t done anything really thorough, it was just a pastime. Last month, I made a short video while I was walking and the result is quite strange. I recorded the video with an iPod Touch using an app called 8mm. As the iPod camera is not very good and the original frame rate of the video was just 15 fps, the result is quite interesting, almost like an abstract pattern.
Now I’m thinking about doing something with more videos of this kind, the title will be Solvitur ambulando, a latin phrase that means “it is solved by walking”.
• Music For ‘The Dead Man 2: Return Of The Dead Man’ (1995)
• Welcome Oblivion (2013)
How to Destroy Angels
• The Place Beyond the Pines Original Score (2013) [listen]
• Mantle (2013)
• Out of the Ordinary: Episode 2 (2013) [listen]
This one is quite different from Pillow Talk and Lover come back. It’s a film by Howard Hawks, and it’s obvious, he even plagiarises one of his most famous gags from Bringing Up Baby. Here, Rock Hudson is not a womanizer anymore, he’s quite duffer, like Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby or Gary Cooper in Ball of Fire. In fact, here is the girl, Paula Prentiss, who tries to bed him. Oh, and there’s rain. A film with rain is always better!
English as She Is Spoke is the common name of a 19th century book written by Pedro Carolino and falsely additionally credited to José da Fonseca, which was intended as a Portuguese-English conversational guide or phrase book, but is regarded as a classic source of unintentional humour, as the given English translations are generally completely incoherent. Carolino added Fonseca’s name to the book without the latter knowing about it. Fonseca had written a successful Portuguese-French phrase book, which Carolino adapted.
The humour appears to be a result of dictionary-aided literal translation, which causes many idiomatic expressions to be translated wildly inappropriately. For example, the Portuguese phrase chover a cântaros is translated as raining in jars, whereas an idiomatic English translation would be raining buckets.
Mark Twain said of English as She Is Spoke that “Nobody can add to the absurdity of this book, nobody can imitate it successfully, nobody can hope to produce its fellow; it is perfect.”
I’ve had a lot of blogs, and most of them are now dead. In fact, the only one that survives is música visual, so I guess that I’m really interested in that subject. Anyway, I’ve never had a blog about rain, my biggest obsession, so a couple of days ago I decided to create one, and here it is rainography☂.
Lenore #2, Roman Dirge
“Cuando me encuentro en dicho lugar me complace escuchar una lluvia suave y regular. Esto me sucede, en particular, en aquellas construcciones características de las provincias orientales donde han colocado a ras del suelo unas aberturas estrechas y largas para echar los desperdicios, de manera que se puede oír, muy cerca, el apaciguante ruido de las gotas que, al caer del alero o de las hojas de los árboles, salpican el pie de las linternas de piedra y empapan el musgo de las losas antes de que las esponje el suelo. En verdad, tales lugares armonizan con el canto de los insectos, el gorjeo de los pájaros y las noches de luna; es el mejor lugar para gozar la punzante melancolía de las cosas en cada una de las cuatro estaciones y los antiguos poetas de haiku han debido de encontrar en ellos innumerables temas. Por lo tanto no parece descabellado pretender que es en la construcción de los retretes donde la arquitectura japonesa ha alcanzado el colmo del refinamiento”.
El elogio de la sombra, Jun’ichirō Tanizaki