“Don’t tickle me…Punch”
It’s easy to forget the outside world when I’m at Minster Golden Gloves Club. Everyone is there for the training, all activity and even the chat is mostly about boxing – total focus. There’s still a great feeling of inclusion. Sometimes I’m so engrossed in listening and recording the sounds I don’t always hear when one of the trainers teases me or a young boxer suddenly becomes aware of his language, so a tuneful serenade by a trainer directly into the mic is a gentle surprise!
After weeks of focusing on particular sounds and recording with a shotgun mic I’ve switched to using a contact mic, partly as a way to seperate the general ambient racket from the sounds directly related to boxing; but also because I’m interested in finding the sounds we can’t hear directly with our ears through the air, the hidden sounds. I also like the synchronicity of recording a contact sport with a contact mic..!
The club building is built around a central stucture of steel girders with a grid bolted on for hanging the punch bags off. By placing a contact mic on various parts of the steel structure I can record the screech and squeak of the chains that suspend the punch bags allowing them to swing freely, as well as the impact, rhythm and tempo of boxers training on them. There are sounds more deeply submerged under the clammer and clang of punchbags which I’ve found by clamping the mic to the floor of the ring itself. The base of the ring acts like a sound box, the contact mic picking up the tup and whisp of deft moves, split second timing footwork, hushed feints and sharp thwaps as a glove finds it mark.
Because my contact mic records in mono I’ve taken to leaving my headphones off one ear, this has the advantage of allowing me to hear the trainers’ narrative as they motivate, cajole and push the boxers limits. A supportive stream of instruction, keeping up the boxers rhythm, imprinting the moves into their body’s physical memory, as each boxer develops their style and heart. Top quote so far is “Don’t tickle me…Punch” . I’ve been searching for a title, this is the top contender..
post by sound artist Jane Pitt