Last week I was lucky enough to visit the Algarve in the south of Portugal. Whilst this was a short break with my girlfriend and her family to celebrate her dads 60th birthday, I make sure I never leave the house or country without my portable recording device. You never know what you will find on your travels that makes an awesome sound. Portugal was no exception. I managed to record a range of sounds in various locations. Such as a disused train yard, an old well, road signs, various abandoned buildings and my favourite of all a cycling proficiency course which had every road sign found in Portugal on it.
Day 1 we stayed at my girlfriend’s aunties villa which was a recording dream. Something like 20 acres of land to explore and record. Here I recorded everything from cement mixers, wheel barrows, ducting, scaffold tubes and the odd dog bark. The amount of random objects in and around this place was awesome. Lots of unique hits I wouldn’t have recorded here in the UK.
Day 2 I wandered off in the other direction of the villa and found various metallic objects to record including a petrol can, old rusty barrels, piping and general building supplies. I took a picture of the petrol can pictured below which I really like and will hopefully use it for the metals sample pack I will be using the sample in.
After a long day we sat upstairs playing guitar and watching the sun set having a drink. My girlfriends family are very musical and both her father and brother play in bands. I took this opportunity to record them jamming.
Day 3 we drove to a beach which you need to get a small train to. I took this opportunity to follow the tracks and find where these trains stop when not being used. To my delight I found a small layup with three disused trains in and a couple of wood chippers. I always take with me to these locations a number a different mallets. Two I will always have on me are a wooden percussion mallet and a nylon percussion mallet. I use the mallets to strike various parts of objects. The best sounds I capture using these mallets are when I record the inside of the object and strike the exterior wall recording the sound made inside. By doing this you achieve a different sound to if you would record the strike of the object outside. You’ll record a lot more of the room or chamber effect in the sample. This process is something I do a lot when recording samples for films and or orchestral themed music. Tuned down an octave they sound incredible.
At the end of the train line was a beautiful beach you could have mistaken for the Caribbean. I noticed what looked like an anchor graveyard off to the left which I snuck off to record and take pictures of. The recordings of these weren’t amazing being hit with percussion mallets but something larger would have sounded great hitting them with. Didn’t want to do any damage to them as they looked quite fragile. After I returned back to my girlfriend on the beach and recorded the waves crashing. It’s good to have a girlfriend that understands what you are doing and allows you to wonder off recording when you are supposed to be having romantic time on a beautiful beach.
Day 4 we stayed in Tavira in a beautiful apartment with a jacuzzi in our room. This town has everything you’d want to go out recording. Got some amazing impulse responses in castles and underground passages. As well as various metallic bins and containers which came out sounding awesome.
Day 5 we went for a bike ride to record impulse responses in a few locations I had seen whilst driving around. The first was an old well which I’ve not yet listened to but am hoping sounds good. The second was underneath a large overpass. The impulse response here went on forever like a stadium or extra large hall. Definitely an impulse response I will be using in our Kontakt sampler.
Day 6 I woke up early before our flight home to take one last run around Tavira recording everything I had missed the past couple of days. I started recording at 7am so I had undisturbed access to a few things I wouldn’t get access to had there been people around. The digger pictured below being one of them. The highlight of recording on this trip was recording a cycling proficiency course which I had access to every road sign in Portugal. The unique sound each of the signs made was awesome. I spent a good hour recording these signs and have enough recordings to create a full sample pack with them. I listened back to the samples when I got back to the London studio and was extremely impressed with how they sound.
Special thanks to all the Rose family and friends for having me and making me feel very welcome. I tried to explain to many of you what exactly it was I was doing sneaking off with my recorder and camera. I hope this helps explain a little about what it was I was doing.