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New: Kelp Scum ambient CD

I first became interested in audio recording when I worked on the Placeholder virtual reality project. That installation used spatialized audio to make sounds appear to emanate from locations in three dimensional body space that correlated with the visual placement as seen in the virtual reality; I did audio field recording of nature sounds (mostly water) and a great deal of C language programming to make the sounds appear and disappear correctly. For these recordings, I used a Sony D-7 digital audio tape recorder and Core Sound binaural microphones. The Sony DAT was a marvelous device for its time, slightly larger than a pack of cigarettes, that delivered studio quality stereo digital audio. The Core Sound microphones are used mounted on my head; that way the sound is affected by the first and second order reflections and attenuations of the globe of my head and the slope of my shoulders - resulting in a tremendous sense of realistic presence in the recordings. The mikes are hand remanufactured by Len Moskowitz of Core Sound; their specs are truly amazing - they have flat frequency response within 1 dB from 20 to 20,000 Hertz, are matched to within 1 dB to each other, and have a dynamic range of over 90dB. They are tiny; I wear them clipped to my sunglasses. The whole rig fit confortably in a hikers beltpack, with room left over for spare batteries, tapes, water, and some trail mix. Recently (December 2006) I've replaced the d7 with an even smaller all solid state 24 bit recorder - the Roland Edirol R-09. I can do studio quality binaural recordings on steep mountain sides, down cliffs, out on rocks in the surf line, etc. I originally did my my editing with a Mac G4 tower with an add-on audio processing card and software from DigiDesign, and now use the open source 24 bit audio editing program Audacity on both the tower and my 15" Mac Book Pro laptop.

Rob resonating a bowl with his mouth at the 1st Ambient BrunchI have been doing recordings of my collection of tibetan bowls both with musician friends in performances and also in natural surroundings - in places where water or wind may be found. On most of the natural place recordings  I have been joined by Brenda Laurel in duets, and occasionally by other friends playing a variety of ethnic instruments and doing vocal "toning".

In 1997 I took some time off from my regular job and spent a week doing field audio recording of water sounds in the high Utah desert - the Zion Expedition - for Purple Moon on their CD "Secret Paths to the Sea", reprising my audio work for Brenda Laurel on Placeholder.

Bowl duet with electronic celloIn spring of 1997 Miguel Noya and Paul Godwin of Dogon came to my home - Locus Voci - and I miked and recorded us playing together - synthesizers, sampled sounds, and tibetan bowls. We spent a wonderful day making music, with breaks to cook and share food, and to hike in the forest of the Santa Cruz mountains... when we returned to the house from the hike a comet rode high in the darkling sky above the place. They later selected one of the free form performances to include on their latest album, "The Sirius Expeditions", and titled after the place - Locus Voci. In the spring of 1999 I have played with them and with Spool on their 1st "Ambient Brunch" tour appearance in San Francisco, and recorded that performance and their second appearance in The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. This last Summer Solstice (2006) I had fun bowl jamming with the psychelic surf group The Mermen at Locus Voci.

Bowel and flowers at Locus VociHere are some mp3 files that I have personally recorded of myself playing tibetan bowls.

These files are owned and copyrighted by me, Rob Tow, 1999.

Tibetan bowl and windchimes
Duet with Brenda Laurel at a tide pool in Mendocino
Bowl by a creek

You can also download, via bit torrent, or individual mp3s, a complete audio CD titled Kelp Scum, with artwork, that I have made (June 2006) of my audio recordings with Brenda Laurel. It is available in both MP3 format and CDR format.