I need your old walkman!
I finally came up with and idea of how I want to present my sound in the show. I think I'm going to keep it as a surprise, but I'll tell you that it has a visual component, and that it involves recording several trains from start to finish (15 in total), transferring my sound to tape, and using a number of auto-reverse walkmans.
(If you have an auto-reverse walkman that you don't use anymore, would you like to donate it? Please email me at email@example.com. I can pick it up anywhere in the city, or if you prefer it you can mail it--I'll send postage. Please check bottom of this page for complete contact info. Thanks!)
Since the point is to record the whole ride, and sometimes the minidisc skips or the disc simply breaks, I realized I needed another device. After much wondering, I decided for an MP3 recorder that has a Line-In plug. It's very useful. You can't connect a mic to it, since it hasn't got the right jacket to insert the mic plug. It comes with a male-to-male cable, and with it you can connect the recorder to the earphone jacket of your cd player to upload music directly (it encodes to 96, 128 and 160kbps mp3s). I guess they do this since you are not supposed to use it to record, but only to store music. However, you can figure out a number of ways to beat the system. What I do is I connect the mic to the minidisc recorder as always, then the mp3 recorder into the earphone jacket of the minidisc, and then the headphones to the mp3 recorder. I know it sounds like a tongue twister, but it's pretty simple. In other words, the sound goes from the mic to the minidisc, from the minidisc to the mp3 recorder, and from there to my ears (see picture). Now I record with both devices at the same time from the same source. The MP3 recorder is my backup in case something happens with the minidisc recording.
Besides my regular recordings, this month I recorded two trains from start to finish, in both directions: the 6 and the G. I recorded the G train all the way to Forest Hills. Yes, it does go to Forest Hills! Well, sometimes.
The times were as follows:
6 from Brooklyn Bridge to Pelham Bay Park: 1h 05m 11s
6 from Pelham Bay Park to Brooklyn Bridge: 1h 08m 14s
G from Smith-9 Sts to 71 St/Forest Hills: 56m 09s
G from 71 St/Forest Hills to Smith-9 Sts: 55m 30s
I must admit that, excited as I was about the change that my project is undergoing, the train rides were mostly boring, but I did find some interesting stuff.
Like these guys. Two of them were squat-dancing, squat-fighting, or something like that, to the clapping-hands rhythm of the other six. It was certainly more fun to watch and listen than it will be just to listen!
Another day, at the Times Square/42nd Street station, I recorded this amazing man playing the keyboards, with this mechanical toys playing violin, sax, and whatnot (see picture).
The next two months will be very busy. I have to record at least those 12 trains from start to finish, in both directions.
AUTO-REVERSE WALKMAN DONATIONS:
624 Myrtle Ave #3R
Brooklyn, NY 11205
Note: I can send you a check for the postage immediately after I find your auto-reverse walkman in my mailbox! Please donate!
I'm accumulating sounds from public transportation systems
in New York City with a minidisc digital recorder.