Recording midnight sound effects in dark streets at the Chiang Mai market!
Night time in Chiangmai and sometimes I take my equipment and drive around the city to find interesting areas in the hope to get some interesting sounds.
There is this one huge market by the river and you can buy ingredients for 24 hours. Every time when we drive around this location there is always something going on.
It’s always busy at daytime and packed with locals and tourists and I am going to do a day recording in a few days but also thought, what about the night?
I arrived close to midnight and of course, there are no tourists anymore and most of the shops in the side streets are closed but that doesn’t mean there is nothing going on.
People always working, cleaning up and preparing for the next day. This means 5 AM of course.
I drove down one of the dark small alleys and parked my motorbike on the left side. The first sound that came straight into my ear was this dripping sound.
If you listen to Part 09 in the album, I only recorded this sound effect in the street without walking around. For this, I only used the H6.
While recording several motorbikes and pickup trucks with products are driving by. Behind the old rusty roll gates are actually people watching tv. Probably FIFA world cup.
While I was recording and standing here several rats crossed my way and the whole alley with all these sounds reminded me of an old movie with Kurt Russel “Big trouble in little China”. You should watch it!
After I was done with this recording I plugged the DPA 4060 in the recorder and started to walk to the market area and you will listen to motorbikes several times. What I guess is that these drivers are the people who work as freelancers and driving to the main road loading the products from the trucks and bringing it to the stalls and the other way around.
If somebody buys a lot of food, you hire one of the guys on these motorbikes, you load it and they bring it to your truck.
That’s what I assume because I passed a group of guys sitting and waiting on these bikes.
This is an example of how these motorbikes look like.
After I passed the dark alley, I came across a 24 hours convention store and a man cleaned outside of the shop the street and uses a broom what creates a really nice whooshing sound effect.
In the background, you can listen to an old air-conditioner running and one little cicada is sitting somewhere in the corner.
You can listen to this sound in Part 02 of the album.
I moved on and left the empty market behind me and went to another alley. This street was for this time pretty busy.
I saw a woman watching TV and listen to the music. After I passed her, I came across two men unloading products from the pickup truck.
I walked closer to the main road and this road is the closest to the river with more vendors, people, and traffic. I saw on the road a woman unpacking little plastic bags. I stopped next to her and recorded this sound effect. While she was unpacking and moving things around people talking in the background.
You can listen to these recordings in the album track part 4 and at part 6 in the beginning. I also capture some bird sounds.
After I moved on, a pickup truck starts its engine is and motorbikes passing me.
Everything sounds very relaxed and calm. No stress like in the daytime. I think this is what I love about night recordings. Everything is just a little bit chill.
I walked back to the same alley, passed the woman with the tv and turn left to a butcher shop. I think we get the most interesting sounds here.
I come to the street and see the road is already drained in water. One guy is cleaning the floor and the metal plates where the food was prepared with a low-pressure water hose.
Another guy is playing with a metal bowl and then there is one scream from a man what is really fun to listen to.
Another guy had a shuffle and crushed the ice in the trunk.
You can listen to these recordings in the album track 07.
Now I am almost done with the recordings and walk along the market road pass the guys sitting and waiting on the motorbikes and several cicadas singing in the background.
At this moment I turned off the recorder and took a deep breath and smiled! As next I walked super relaxed back and took all the photos I want to shoot. I could have walked in even darker areas around the market but this is for another time or maybe for somebody like you who is interested in field recording? If you ever want to visit Chiangmai, I highly recommend coming here for some really awesome recordings.
Location where I recorded the Midnight Sound Effects
There are so many markets here in this city and an endless amount of sounds. So don’t forget your equipment.
I hope these market life will never end but maybe someday the city decides to close down these markets what would be very sad, but then we still have the sound of it.