BASEbot 004 – Gordon Hempton (sound recording)

Nature sound recordist Gordon Hempton shares some of his beautiful recordings, and discusses his One Square Inch of Silence project, including his recent book.

Gordon Hempton requires no introduction for many in the recording world – his recording work speaks for itself, and he’s been at it for a long time.  He’s got a book out on natural quiet and his journey of advocacy, co-written with John Grossman.  It’s called One Square Inch of Silence: One Man’s Search for Natural Silence in a Noisy World.  More info at

Gordon discusses the sounds of his back yard, and his journey toward becoming a natural quiet advocate.

@ 7:38 – recording: Coyote duet recording from Gordon’s back yard
@ 10:03 – on John Muir
@ 12:31 – Human noise intrusions into the story of the book coming to be
@ 17:30 – Establishment of One Square Inch (OSI) and effects
@ 20:57 – recording:  24-hours of Dawn Chorus compressed into One Minute
@ 25:22 – John Muir as a sound recordist (in text).  History of Muir and Hempton
@ 28:18 – recordings: Waters of the Muir world
@ 30:10 – recordings: Three waterfalls of Yosemite

At about 34 minutes a discussion ensues, topics including John Muir, hydrophones, the human-listening perspective, Ann Kroeber on the sound of space (and contact mics), the acoustics of Gordon’s backyard, binaural equipment, recording as a listening practice.

More discussion:
@ 51:57 – Finding good locations to record in nature.  Being still.
@ 2:00:21 – Not being eaten by the wildlife.  Noise and legislation.  Mark Twain and Mississippi songbirds.
@ 2:07:56 – recording: an amazing Sage Grouse recording.
@ 2:10:23 – recording: Dawn on the Mississippi River – a beautiful tour through the first minutes of the dawn chorus as the birds organize themselves acoustically.