Field Recording: Bashing Beats with Illum Sphere

What happens when you give innovative producers the Shure MV88 Digital Condenser Stereo Microphone and whisk them away to record sounds in unusual locations?

The London-based music and culture publication Bonafide Magazine did just that for its video series Field Trips. For the second episode, electronica producer and DJ Ryan Hunn, also known as Illum Sphere, spends a day at the banger races – a brand of UK motorsport akin to a demolition derby.

And it quickly becomes apparent where the name comes from: metal car parts are banged, bashed and mashed all day long. Hunn, who admits to being new to field recording, quickly realizes it’s in the pits – not trackside – where the audio pay dirt is.

“Within 30 seconds there was the equivalent of a kick, a snare and a high-hat,” he says after getting close to banger racers working on their cars. “You can just hammer the processing, and you’ve got the beginning of a beat, maybe.”

The video then shows how Hunn transforms the audio into a beat, allowing you to hear – and see – the beginnings of a hammering techno track with the actual tools that created the sounds: a metallic blow, a pneumatic whine, a clanking chain.

“Any minute something can happen if you just flick the mic on,” Hunn says. “I’ve not done a massive amount of field recording and any field recording I have done has been on a more primitive level.”

Check out the latest Field Trips episode below to see what Hunn was able to capture using just an MV88 and an iPhone.

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Marc Young

Marc Young

With a background in journalism, Marc is an editor for Shure covering anything and everything that has to do with sound. He tries to compensate for his mediocre guitar-playing skills with his writing. He is based in Berlin, one of the best cities in Europe for music.

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