one minute vacations: year two one minute vacations: year three one minute vacations: year four one minute vacations: year five one minute vacations: current

one-minute vacations: year one

What follows are the first year's worth of one-minute vacations.

If you like what you hear, I encourage you to purchase a copy of the compilation CD that collects these recordings: all profit from the sale of the CD (about 85% of the cost) goes to charity.

The compilation netted $250 for charity in 2003; this was donated to Heifer International.

Deepest gratitude to the year's contributors, who shared their recordings with us, and who agreed to donate the profits of their work to charity.


'"Beyond the Wild Wood comes the Wild World," said
the Rat. "And that's something that doesn't matter,
either to you or me. I've never been there,
and I'm never going, nor you either,
if you've got any sense at all..."'
(Kenneth Grahame)

january 13, 20031.4 MB 'Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico. The marimba is two guys who play at the weekly Ajijic tianguis, or open air market. They show up, set up the marimba, play about five tunes, collect money, and then bolt to God only knows where. Their playing is not the best, but I just love marimba, and for fifty cents (5 pesos) donation I figure it is better than a jukebox...' This vacation was contributed by Sandy Noyes. (More sound from Mexico can be found here, at Kunstradio.)
january 6, 20031.4 MB'This year, 1 January 2003; a dive in the North Sea, the Netherlands. Every year we have this crazy custom to jump in the NorthSea which is very cold then. Only 10,000 people take part in this. People have to get motivated a bit and they do that by shouting and making music before making the jump. Because it was raining I only recorded in the big tent, look at this. It was freezing cold...' So writes Nick Gordon, the first contributor of the new year!
december 30, 20021.5 MB In memorium, in so many ways. This recording comes from sound artist Kenneth Kirschner, who made a series of field recordings around New York in 2000 and 2001 with a tape recorder and tie-clip microphone. About the recording excerpted here at slightly over a minute, he writes, '[This] recording, while the very lowest quality of the bunch, is actually the most historically interesting. I distinctly recall walking up Church Street just north of Liberty, though I've never been able to go back to verify this: the area was destroyed several months later in the September 11 attacks. While there's no way to know for certain what's what in the recordings, the tape likely contains the sounds of the World Trade Center, and I've always thought of the piece derived from it as a sort of retroactive requiem.'
december 23, 20021.4 MB A chilly night in Kalaw, a few days before Christmas, 2000. In the Shan state hills of Burma, horse carts with bells and ghost-plumes of breathe lend an unexpectedly Dickensian atmosphere to an early evening stroll: a hard way of life painted romantic by our nostalgia. A few hundred yards from our hotel, the unexpected sound of carolers practicing their rounds. Contemporary Christian missionaries, we wonder, or the long shadow of the British Raj? [Aaron]
december 16, 20021.4 MB In the drum corps of devices that swing, such as washer-and-dryer combo units, trains, belt-powered rice grinders, etc., the mechanical press must certainly hold a proud position. This one (one of several hand-fed printing presses I recorded on our honeymoon trip) plays most every day along the river in Jingdezhen, central China, famous for its porcelain. [Aaron]
december 9, 20021.3 MB'Recorded about noon on December 3, 2002, on a city lake in St. Paul, MN. For a short period most years there is a time of continuous Ice Booming. The weather must be just right and the ice must be the right thickness for continuous booming. Recorded about 75 yards from shore after one of the first 0 degree F nights with about three inches of ice. The sound is created as the ice expands and builds during these early cold winter days. If there is no snow cover as in this recording the sound carries for great distances... No filtering or amplification done of any kind; recorded with a single Sennheiser ME-62 located 6 inches off the ice and a Sony MZ-R90 Minidisc recorder.' This vacation was contributed by nature recordist and soundscape designer Rich Peet.
december 2, 20021.3 MB Foghorns, ship horns, and the crash of waves on China Beach, in San Francisco's Presidio. This vacation was contributed by visual artist and sometime collaborator Dawn Neal, whose affinity for the sea extends to her recent painting series, Deep Creatures.
november 25, 20021.3 MB'A recording I made about a month ago, at a place called The Basin, an hour up the coast from Sydney. It is only reachable by a short ferry ride across the Pittwater from Palm Beach. My partner and I had spent the day there, exploring and relaxing, and this was recorded as we waited for the ferry to come past and collect us for our return journey.' This vacation was contributed by Ben Dixon, who makes amazing jewelry.
november 18, 20021.3 MB Another offering from the enigmatic Hervé Birolini: 'Of return of Venice here is what one can hear of the edge of a pontoon. Three gondolas and or Japanese tourists are facinated by an Italian singer...' As tommorow is my birthday, this is my present.
november 11, 20021.3 MB'October 8, 2002: I was at the Waterfront in Capetown, South Africa, watching a group of about 35 kids playing. It looked to be an organized school group of kids in ages from about 4 - 6 yrs old, they were very cute. I had my DAT recording rolling with my binaurals getting the sounds of them playing and enjoying themselves on their outing. Then all of sudden a small group of about 5 of them came up to me and started reciting the 23rd Psalm. Then slowly the rest of the kids encircled me all saying the prayer. I couldn't believe it - this was one of the highlights of my trip. I saw them do the same thing to some people a little later... I guess they were trying to raise a little money for their school...' This vacation was contributed by Marc Levisohn of HUM Music and Sound Design.
november 4, 20021.3 MB 'Recorded one Saturday morning (19 October 2002, 11:00 AM) while I was walking through the market near my home in Reading, UK, Ion a Sony MZ-R30 using a Soundman OKM-II binaural headset... This kind of traditional market is fast disappearing in parts of the UK, being replaced with "shops outdoors". I found the woman calling "Come on help yourself where you like - you can't do that everywhere" intriguing. She was referring to customers selecting their own fruit and vegetables from the stall, rather than being given what they were given. This market is a mix of more traditional produce stalls (fruit, vegetables, herbs, meat, etc) and guys selling mobile phones, software, CDs and so on. ' So wrote contributor Chris Owens.
october 28, 20021.3 MB An impromptu evening concert, audience of two, on the causeway spanning the moat of Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Dusk falls: tourists, monks, and hawkers all head home for the day... [Aaron]
october 21, 20021.3 MB A peach tree moving in the wind, as recorded with two contact microphones by Albert Casais/OMNID, in Bayonne, New Jersey. An excerpt from a twenty-minute recording, made in Albert's yard: the world as an insect or squirrel might hear it, settling in against the long winter.
october 14, 20021.3 MB Still life with cow and vendor, in a residential courtyard in the narrow streets of the old city in Benares (Varanasi), India. A twisty turn to the left and to the right, the alleys are lined with shops selling tea and devotional paraphenalia to the river of pilgrims (and tea and biscuits to the river of backpacking tourists). [Aaron]
october 7, 20021.3 MB 'An unbearably hot July day in Arles, South of France. Not a centimetre of shade, anywhere. While my friend Gao haggles over the price of an interview with their parents, two gypsy children splash around in a huge inflatable swimming pool, trying to see who can create the most havoc.' This one-minute vacation was contributed by Peter Snowdon.
september 30, 20021.3 MB'While listening for seabirds leaving their mountain nest sites, I came upon a small flock of 6 Nene in their (apparent) morning wake-up ritual, about 04:30: cooing, moaning, preening, stretching legs and wings, finally launching into flight in a chorus of gentle honking. ' This vacation was contributed by Hawaii resident David Kuhn.
september 23, 20021.9 MB 'Recordist: Thom Blum. December 31st, 1999; Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. 5:30pm local time, 12pm GMT. Fortune teller at the Millennium Festival, Rambagh Palace...' This one-minute vacation was indeed contributed by Thom Blum.
september 16, 20021.3 MB'A bowling alley on Long Island, NY. It was a league night and all 40 lanes were full with bowlers. I am sitting in the back of this rectangular building at the bar, all of the action behind me; nobody knew I was recording. This was recorded with the Sound Pro's in-ear binaural microphones and their low noise mike pre amp hooked to the line input of a Nomad Jukebox 3 as a 44.1kHz WAV. ' This vacation was submitted by Alexander Reben.
september 9, 2002800 KB An enigmatic email arrived while I was gone last week, accompanying this recording: 'It is about dancers AWASSA (From Sikin Sani). They dance with necklace of seeds in ankles what produces a very particular sound.' Apparently this is an excerpt from a work titled 'Guyana's, actors of the green', recorded in Surinam. This wonderful (if short) vacation was submitted by Hervé Birolini.
september 2, 20021.4 MB An elderly blind woman carrying a portable karaoke machine and singing for alms in the late afternoon sunshie, outside the cavernous, thronged Chiang Mai day market in northern Thailand. [Aaron]
august 26, 20021.3 MB An unexpected bit of comfortable old technology breaks the stereotype of fast-forward Japan: a mechanical flight information board at Hanada airport ticks rhythmically over as planes arrive, board and depart. [Aaron]
august 19, 20021.4 MB A dream product of mine: a megaphone with built-sampler. I should have bought a crate of these in China, where this recording was made. Shopkeepers would record daily specials into them and flood market streets with phasing sales pitches. Delicious. [Aaron]
august 12, 20021.3 MB There is no place I would rather be than sitting in the doorway of a second-class sleeper car on an Indian train at sunset. This recording, made from my upper-tier bunk, captures conversation in the car and the approach of both a chai-wallah and a harmonium-weilding alms-collector. [Aaron]
august 5, 20021.4 MB'4th of July fireworks near Cle Elum, Washington, USA. Fireworks were set off in a flat area with some surrounding hillsides. There is a low frequency hum right at the beginning in one channel: an insect fly-by?' Recorded July 4, 2002 in Cle Elum, WA, USA by Toby Paddock.
july 29, 20021.4 MB 'During the hour of 12am, the end of a pier. Ships, anglers.' This one-minute vacation was recorded in San Diego, California by sound artist civyiu kkliu, who has this to say about field recordings.
july 22, 20021.4 MB'It was not a hot day for White Sands, maybe only 95 degrees. Still, I suffered a mild heat exhaustion obtaining this recording. The intensely white sand reflects infrared radiation from the sun up into your body, so you are recieving several times the amount of solar energy you ordinarily would. It was a low cottonwood, nestled in the crook of two dunes. I hadn't expected to find vegetation in the dunes, but there is actually quite a bit. Below the first few inches, the sand is cool and moist - the heat mostly reflects away.' Recorded Aug. 1, 2001 in White Sands, NM, USA by Jeremiah Moore. You can hear him talk about his work here.
july 15, 20021.4 MB Stopping to make stickers at the foot of Mt. Fuji — or at least, the end of the roadhead half way up it. We climbed it one July evening starting at midnight: a surreal experience to say the least. Twelve hours of walking, climbing, and collapsing in the company of thousands of gortex-clad fellow pilgrims. But first, I made stickers with this 'puripuri' machine. A friend tells me 'puri puri' is derived as follows: 'print club' is a name for popular sticker-making machines — 'print' is rendered 'purintu' in Japanese English, then truncated to 'puri' and doubled to be cute(!). [Aaron]
july 8, 20021.4 MB Everywhere I've been in the Himalayan hills of Nepal, I've encountered mani walls dividing the trail — walls built entirely from stone slabs carved with Buddhist mantras (the older the stone, the denser the carving). Some of the walls enclose prayer wheels to spin as you pass — spinning them spreads blessings on the wind from the mantras stuffed inside. Hopefully listening to this track has the same effect. [Aaron]
july 1, 20021.4 MB A hand-cranked record player in a cluttered antique store in old Shanghai. We stopped to pet the cat, stayed... to pet the cat. [Aaron]
june 24, 20021.4 MB'Gamelan performance, Ubud palace ensemble- A light, misting rain falls during a performance of the Legong, shorting out the small amp used by an elderly member of the gamelan ensemble. Tortured squelches narrate the actions of the dancers...' This one-minute vacation was contributed by Kaveh Soofi, who also designed the look and feel of this website, including the transparent flag logo.
june 17, 20021.3 MB Phantasmagoric sunset near the main entrance to Angkor Wat, justly famous centerpiece of an abandoned city in the jungles of Cambodia. Cicadas and children done with a day of guiding and hawking; an inevitable motorcycle on the ring road; perhaps the echoes of a traditional ensemble rehearsing nearby, and the fruit bats wheeling in the gloaming... [Aaron]
june 10, 20021.4 MB'The best time is late night — after everyone's gone home. Those left are on a mix of corn whiskey and ditch weed, forgetting the names of songs, the chord progressions, which lyrics go where. The fuck-ups are funny and the music loses all its inhibitions. This was recorded at about one in the morning, on a rainy Mississippi summer night.' This one-minute vacation was contributed by Benjamin Adair, It's an excerpt from The Picnic, a show he produced for the NPR show The Savvy Traveler.
june 3, 20021.3 MB 'January 3, 2002, around 4 p.m., on the underground platform in the MARTA Five Points train station in Atlanta, GA, USA. It had snowed about 4 to 6 inches that morning, an unusual event in Atlanta. Whenever there's even a rumor of snow in Atlanta, the milk, bread, and cereal disappear from store shelves within hours. This exasperated lady had experienced the panic first hand the night before...' This one-minute vacation was contributed by Tom Campbell,
may 27, 20021.3 MBMemorial Day in the USA: the Blue Angels bring their trademark aggro-industrial sound art to San Francisco skies. This one-minute vacation was contributed by jhno, who recorded it from our mutual roof a few years ago.
may 20, 20021.4 MB 'Thaipusam, a day of consecration to the Hindu deity, Lord Murugan. A feature of the festival is the carrying of a kavadi, a frame decorated with colored papers, tinsels, fresh flowers, and fruits as a form of penance. In Kuala Lumpur, Hindus carrying the kavadi up the 272 steps to the entrance of the great cave at Batu in Selangor and deposited at the feet of the deity.' This one-minute vacation was contributed by Jarra Schirris. (Jarra's full description can be read here.)
may 13, 20021.4 MB'A walk through the Medina in Fez, Morocco with a pair of binaural microphones. This was recorded in 1998.' This one-minute vacation was contributed by Gregory Cowley.
may 6, 20021.4 MB Midnight in Yak Karka, Nepal, at 16,000': yaks doze warily in bright moonlight in their rocky pasture; a newborn icy stream rushes down the valley below. Please listen to this one at low volume, it's a quiet moment. For my wife in celebration of our tenth anniversary together, and in memory of a snowy morning climb to the top of Yak Ri the following morning. [Aaron]
april 29, 20021.5 MB'The afternoon of April 18, 2002 was peppered with numerous, very brief, hail storms. This one was recorded in Earl's cattle shed, with steel fence, watering pond and spring peepers about one mile north of LaFarge, Wisconsin.' This one-minute vacation was contributed by Rob Danielson.
april 22, 20021.4 MB A bit of music on a Vietnamese train's PA, to entertain and settle the passengers before departure. An excerpt from the recording released here as S3. [Aaron]
april 15, 20021.4 MBTax day in the US, so a reminder of state power: a tank rolling the streets of Siem Reip, Cambodia, staging ground for tourists exploring the nearby ruins of Angkor. A coup, we wondered? No — a prop requisitioned for the filming of the Tomb Raider movie. Simulated violence in a country so betrayed by it.
april 8, 20021.4 MBElaborate or simple, vast or private, the Hindu ceremonies known as pujas are ubiquitous in Varanasi, the holy city of Shiva sprawled on one bank of the Ganges in northern India. The river is lined with crumbling steps, ghats, steeped in history and myth: the footprings are Brahma, the place Shiva appeared as infinite lingam of light. This recording captures the ringing of suspended bells for an evening ceremony at always-chaotic Dashashwamedh Ghat.
april 1, 20021.4 MBKalaloch Beach: Early evening high tide at Kalaloch Beach on the Western coast of Washington state. I held my microphones inches above the crepitating foam and whooshing waves. Recorded February 20, 2002 by Christopher DeLaurenti.
march 25, 20021.4 MBFive times a day the cities of Bangladesh swell with the echoing chorus of muezzins calling the faithful to prayer. From every direction come the calls, one after the other: different mosques announce the call at slightly different times according to their form of Islam or the variations of their clocks. Some call with recordings, some (the richer?) with their own muezzin, each of whom has a distinct style. In this recording made at dusk from a rooftop, you can also hear the bells of innumerable bicycle rickshaws in the narrow streets below. [Aaron]
march 18, 20021.4 MBThriving street markets surround the Jokhang in old Lhasa, Tibet. By day, tables are covered with trinkets for tourists. At dusk as the busses retreat the cheap thankas and fake turquoise jewelry are packed away. Out come the running shoes, sweat pants and T-shirts favored by locals and pilgrims. Certain street corners are given over to tables of second- and third- generation cassettes — and the boomboxes that advertise the latest arrivals. [Aaron]
march 11, 20021.4 MB'Broadway and Fifth Avenue in Nashville, TN, 11:00 p.m. Un-quiet america: all down the block, music from open-door honky tonk bars spills out to the street. Inside, more spilling. No cover charge, two for one pitchers. Recorded March 7, 2002.' This one-minute vacation was contributed by Dave McGuire. You can hear him talk about his work here.
march 4, 20021.4 MB Bell-laden water buffalo enjoy a late afternoon bath in Muong Houn, a small town eight hours by bumpy road from anywhere in northern Laos. The buffalo were scrubbed by their tsk-tsking caretakers not far from a soccer field; in this recording you can hear a game unwinding in the background, and the cautious approach of curious children who soon surrounded us. [Aaron]
february 25, 20021.4 MB Dawn from a rooftop near the soaring towers of the Sri Meenakshi temple that dominate Madurai in southern India. Morning pujas echoes from P.A. speakers around the temple complex, mixing with chittering swifts and early traffic on the streets below. The towers are covered with detailed, riotously-colored three-dimensional sculptures of the gods and heroes of Hinduism. [Aaron]
february 18, 2002 1.4 MBMorning chant at the Diki Kalsang gompa in Bagarchap, half way up the Manang valley in central Nepal. In the mid-90's the town was devestated by a landslide, something not apparent at first glance today. No precarious overhangs or steep slopes crowd the town; but a river of house-sized boulders cleanly removed its middle one day. I sat in on morning chant to record this gompa, then returned a half hour later to record again as I'd accidentally placed my recorder in 'mono' recording — cause for general amusement. [Aaron]
february 11, 20021.3 MB

'This moment was recorded on May 24, 1998, around 9am, at Pointe du Talut, Kerroch, Ploemeur (56), France. As I sat on a rock a few meters from the Atlantic ocean a plane appeared, a boat passed, and the shells 'sang' (the small stereo cracklings are the shells)... Originally recorded on a cheap cassette recorder with cheap mics too — apologies for the sound quality.' This one-minute vacation was contributed by Cédric Peyronnet of toy.bizarre.

february 4, 2002 1.9 MB

The Sunderbans mangrove forests stretch across the uninhabited coastline of southeast Bangladesh. We chartered a boat to the mouth of the Ganges in search of Bengal tigers that roam the narrow canals and twisted roots. Moored one night near the sea, listening to the moaning of tigers on either bank, the tide brought in phosphorescence — dancing constellations of living light, aquatic fireflies. When the waves rolled by, their motion stirred the phosphorescence to glow, and the surface boiled with fish feeding on them. For Zöe who just had her 30th. [Aaron]

january 28, 20021.3 MB

A mysterious bit of ambiance from an afternoon pitstop along a highway in Burma. I couldn't quite figure the recording you can hear playing out — it was distorting like a tape, but skips like an LP. Given the amount of voracious recycling in (import starved) Burma, I decided it was a tape of a skipping LP. [Aaron]

january 21, 20022.2 MB

The backwaters of Kerala, southern India. My wife and I chartered a houseboat and drifted for a few days along quiet canals; this MP3 captures a moment of evening rain from our bamboo roofed bedroom: rain on the river, crickets softly singing, the voices of our small crew. In the first few seconds, a frog plashes past. This moment was isolated for 60" somewhere, a project by Ven Voisey of [Aaron]

There are more: archives of the second, third, fourth, and fifth year; recent vacations are here.
You can also purchase a compilation on CD; all profits go to charity!

One-minute vacation podcast beta (RSS2.0 with enclosures) podcast, write me if you have comments.