Here’s how much Slovak label LOM loves field recordings and strange sounds: they didn’t just stop with releasing a few wild experimental ambient albums. They’ve gotten into the boutique mic business. They’re creating new hardware that lovingly captures electro-magnetic fields. They’re printing t-shirts with custom designs to show their passion in illustrated form.
These are people who are really passionate about recording.
And you can get bit by the same addiction. Let’s have a look at what they’re offering.
Perhaps the most interesting offering from Bratislava’s LOM is the Elektrosluch, the electro-magnetic “instrument” from LOM artist and label brain Jonáš Gruska. Now, you’re familiar with interference from electro-magnetic fields – it’s the reason your bandmates get cross with you if you don’t switch your iPhone into flight mode when you start recording. But what if a device didn’t just capture those sounds: what if it were engineered for maximum precision as if they were desirable?
Well, this is what happens thanks to that mentality:
I got a chance to play with the latest model in Brno at the Bastl Instruments-hosted synth fest, and it’s extraordinary – more so than YouTube can really capture. You really feel privy to an invisible, inaudible world os secret auditory codes. Jonáš’ attention to fidelity – the very opposite of what you’d expect from such an instrument – results in glistening glitches and alien-like transmissions from the gadgets around you.
And sure enough, the Elektrosluch 3 features a lot of improvements.
There’s a full-enclosed form factor, better user experience (operate with a single pot).
And the sound has improved: the makers report that higher gain, audiophile-grade WIMA capacitors, highly increased protection of the sensors, and other tweaks have made the sound quality better.
This is what would happen if Neumann had been focused on recording EM fields instead of conventional sound.
The whole unit is portable and boasts 9V battery power plus minijack headphone/line out and line input.
Find out more about the mic and its preorder; we’ll check in again when it ships:
That’s not all LOM are working on. Their Uši microphones, electret condensers, are calibrated for recording “delicate sounds” – the sounds your ear can easily discern, but that fall below the noise floor of conventional musician-focused microphones.
The 90€ basic model is a pair of twin stereo mics. Connect the minijack to a portable stereo recorder, and you’re ready to go. (Even a DSLR will work.) You get power via the mic jack, so there’s no additional power requirement.
Hurry – the preorder ends tomorrow.
Alternatively, the Pro model has XLRs and phantom power support:
Take a listen to Jonáš’ creations, exploring these impossibly fragile sounds around his town in binaural format. (Favorite track title: “electricity from an ant’s perspective.”
The hardware is all handmade in the EU.
Do check out the whole record label:
LOM itself is easily a topic for another day, but it includes releases like Jonáš’ own, here:
As part of their commitment to music that springs from the edge of human hearing – or beyond it – their latest release comes from seismic captures of the vibrations in a cement factory, by Russian-born Jan Ryhalsky.
This album was recorded in an old, partially abandoned cement factory close to the borders of Russia and China. Its skeletal metal structures are rich in haunting low-frequency (over)tones, Jan’s highly sensitive geophones (devices used for seismic recording) allow us to hear the earth-shaking sonic worlds of these ghostly locations.
Jan Ryhalsky was born and lives in the far east of Russia. He began to record sounds in 2010, and quickly dove deep into recording theory. The main focus of his research is sounds with low intensity, often beyond the threshold of human hearing.
I’ve been listening a lot to this one lately; it’s just sublime.
I really look forward to giving these mics a go myself – seems sonic wonderlands await. More on the microphones (hopefully also including work by some of you, if you get hold of them), and LOM the label and its artists, soon.