Flat roofs, adobe everywhere, cacti, and 5,000 feet of elevation. And I was able to meet several people working in the field of acoustics in some way. Check out their links below, and enjoy the sounds of New Mexico.
Andrea Polli http://www.andreapolli.com/
Jim Cummings http://www.acousticecology.org/ and http://www.earthear.com/
Dr. Steven Feld http://music.unm.edu/faculty_staff/fac_profiles/feld.htm
More trains! The Rail Runner commuter train runs from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, and here is the sound of it pulling into the Santa Fe Depot. You can hear crunch-munching sounds when the train is passing; when the wheels pass over the rail tier breaks, the weight squishes the wood, metal and gravel crush. Lots of happy train squeaking as well.
My friend’s car, a 1983 Volvo, has a unique voice. The first track captures it’s constant chatter, and the second has it singing it’s Braking Song.
Definitely a sonic highlight of this town, the Balloon Fest! Hundreds of hot air balloons gather and float about in the desert air for just over a week, and I woke up in the predawn hours to catch their lift off from a huge field just outside Albuquerque. To inflate the balloon, it is first filled with cold air by large fans. Once it its mostly inflated (lying completely horizontal on the ground) the balloonist gets the good-to-go whistle from the officials and it begins spouting fire into the belly of the balloon. It rises gracefully and gently, until it lifts off from the ground. For an hour, balloons come alive all around the thousands of spectators, who can come extremely close to the balloons. Once in the air and caught in the rising wind, the balloons are the most gentle, quiet, and colourful mode of transportation I ever saw.
Here are more of the sounds of the gas firing into the balloons before take off. Another sound that was extremely common on the field were the sounds of cameras clicking and beeping. I heard a claim that this is the most photographed event on the planet. You may also hear passers by exclaiming when seeing a balloon that catches their eye. The majority of the balloons were the regular bulb-shape, but there were balloons that were ‘special shapes’: Darth Vader, a rooster, 3 bee-balloons, clowns, a dead cat, an old-fashioned carriage, a Pepsi can, a German beer keg, Sponge Bob Square Pants, and a huge cow.
I went to the Albuquerque aquarium and botanical garden, the latter of which I would highly recommend. In the middle of the city, it was fairly well protected from traffic sounds, and on this mainly urban journey, finding trees and crickets is always a welcome relief. There are two differing cricket/grasshopper(?) tracks below. The picture above is of the second track’s singer. I couldn’t find the first one.