I’ve just got back from China, those of you who follow me on Twitter may be aware of this from the barrage of boasting updates.
This post isn’t a further boast (well, it obviously is) but a reflection on the aural, environmental differences between Beijing and London.
To be honest, I didn’t really find any.
Well, the quantity and quality of throaty hocking and spitting are somewhat of a Chinese speciality. The car horns are also set to an irritating ‘constant’.
I was surprised and a little disappointed to discover a recognisable soundtrack to the city. Whether this was because my Chinese is exceptionally below par, to the point of communication through pointing, smiling and barking out patronising syllables, or the fact I was finally on holiday and had shut down all neurological systems. Nonetheless, it was a surprise to find myself in such a familiar sonic environment.
With the exceptionally cool exception of their street crossings.
They sounded aggressive, rushed and alarming. Just like Blade Runner.
Blade Runner street crossings; I’ve never been so happy to cross a road.
I also had a mildly interesting awakening whilst in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia (there goes the boasting again). Sitting on the back of a lovely horse named Waffle, attempting to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. This was not the right time to notice the sound of Waffle’s footsteps but it would appear that some habits are hard to ignore.
Despite exceptional advice from the good guys at Hackenbacker regarding exaggeration and continuation of Foley prop manipulation, I’ve always considered horse steps to consist of simple attacks – the clop if you will. With the tranquil setting of Mongolian grasslands, I noticed that Waffle was not only clopping, but also raising his hoof with a significant scrape of the dirt – the clop n’ scrape.
How exciting and embarrassing. All this time I assumed horses pierced the ground with thrust and withdrawal similar to a hole punch. I imagine the scrape will get lost amongst the other ME tracks upon final mix, however I’m grateful to that lovely horse for showing me the error of my presumptuous ways.
Apologies for a lack of audio examples on both the crossings and fascinating horse shoe scrapes. It was my first holiday in eight years and I didn’t fancy explaining myself to Chinese customs as to why I was bringing in recording kit to the country. Next time I’m rolling around the rest of Europe, I’m taking Patch Morrison’s Marantz.