autogenous |ôˈtäjənəs| adjective arising from within or from a thing itself.•
My long running project is dubbed Autogenous Radio and it is a personal exploration of myself through Audio. Within it I have additional projects like In Conversation which focusses on other people who have interesting lives and stories to tell.
Autogenous Radio, though Photography is my driving passion, I found myself enthralled early on with recording audio. I started off by walking around my hometown of Dublin recording city sounds with a Sony Walkman recorder and a pair of headphones. I pursued an audio version of street photography, which I was doing at the time though back then I didn’t even know that “Street Photography” as a genre actually existed.
Sometime later I was introduced to a Yamaha SU10 sampling recorder, which allowed me to record a few moments and manipulate what I was hearing as I was recording, which lead me to sitting on busses and trains listening to people’s conversations and arguments between rival school children and experiment with ‘cut-ups’.
At some stage after this I acquired a Sony WM-DC6 professional cassette recorder which allowed me to make higher quality recordings onto ceramic 46 minute ‘Super Metal Master’ cassettes. It was during this time that I started to use recorders to make quality recorders of naturally occurring harmonics, and environmental sounds.
During a brief sojourn in Japan where I was in pursuit of a new technology called DCC which was the first consumer grade digital cassette format, other than DAT tape systems were still firmly in the hands of TV companies and recording studios and well out of my budget, but before I could find a DCC recorder I was hooked by a new thing called MiniDisk which I promptly bought and with it would forever change the way I recorded and would see audio now through a computer rather than linearly through tape media and also it changed the landscape for how I would start the long process of trial and error ‘asset management’, dealing with large archives of audio via Hard Drives rather that stacks of tapes and disks.
Minidisc was a real revelation for me, instant like Compact Disc but recordable, small and rugged, skip-less and cheap, I don’t think I ever actually bought any pre-recorded music on MD. That recorder I still have and though rarely use now, I still keep it because of some of the recordings I made and modified; I discovered that if you put a fingerprint on the disk itself you could deform the recording and make amazing interesting technological screw-up sounds by direct manipulation of the media itself. I would later get into using a pin to make marks on the disks in various places and then play back recordings with glitch and stutter. To my annoyance I discovered some time after that I wasn’t alone in my unique discovery, as artists like Markus Popp of Oval had actually pioneered the manipulation of digital disks to create glitch music to a tempo.
It wasn’t until much later that I let MD go for an Olympus solid state dictaphone which would later push me into exploring other chip-based recorders. Most notably the Sony PCM-D1 a complete masterpiece in terms of design and audio quality. Extremely high quality built in Microphones inane XY pattern allied to extremely high quality pre-amps in a small unit with real analogue VU meters. This thing was priced out of reach for me, however a benevolent friend allowed me to indulge my recoding needs when I wanted. I would later on purchase the budget version PCM-D50 which allowed for the use of external microphones which intern led me down a financially devastating path of expensive microphones..
Since then I purchased a Sound Devices MM-1 pre-amp for use with a lucky used find Sennheiser MKH-416 directional mic, which Id used on TV productions and ENG many years before. I traded my D50 for a Roland R-26, though slightly inferior microphones and circuitry, this recorder when used with external microphones is simply stellar and has built in XLR connectors plus the capability of recording to 6 tracks for truly dimensional environmental recordings which I used to good effect during an imam’s call to prayer at the Taj ul Masajid mosque in Bhopal, India. Utilising a the MKH416, Church Audio custom Binaural Microphones and the internal Omni directional microphones for an absolutely stellar moment of audio spirituality. The recording was to be used as part of a documentary on the Union Carbide disaster of 1984. This was the first of two recordings, as an Indian army Sikorski Hind gunship flew over mid recording, and though unusable for the documentary, the combination of the two sounds in this post 911 world was just too much to delete..