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Rycote microphones capture sounds of Icelandic wilderness

Italian pianist and composer Andrea Manzoni used two Rycote HC-15 shotgun microphones to capture sounds in the wild as part of a theatrical production set in the North Pole

Andrea Manzoni, Milan-based renowned pianist, composer and sound recordist, recently embarked on 12 excursions over 30 days to remote locations in Iceland’s wilderness, to capture the raw environmental sounds with two Rycote HC-15 shotgun microphones. Manzoni wanted to gather nature sounds for the sound design of ‘Qivittoq’, a theatrical production depicting a dystopian love story set in the solitude of the North Pole, in a world rapidly depleting its resources.

He secured a 30-day residency in the remote town of Isafjordur, in the Westfjords. Equipped with the Rycote HC-15 hypercardioid short shotgun microphone, paired with a Rycote InVision shock-mount and windshield rain cover, Manzoni braved extreme weather conditions to capture the sounds of nature.

Bolafjall, Westfjords, Iceland.

“The hypercardioid pickup pattern of the HC-15 enabled precise sound capture, almost akin to monophonic recording. With 60 km-per-hour blizzards, and sub-zero temperatures, the InVision high grip and the microphone’s lightweight and versatile design proved invaluable, ensuring optimal performance amidst the harshest conditions,” said Manzoni.

Despite encountering sudden blizzards and temperatures plummeting to -35 degrees Celsius, Manzoni continued on his long treks, often resulting in mere minutes of recording after hours of battling the elements. “Precision in sound recording is paramount,” he added. “The HC-15’s exceptional quality ensured that every sound, no matter how distant or fleeting, was captured with unparalleled clarity. I consider myself fortunate to have had such a remarkable tool at my disposal during this extraordinary expedition.”

Commenting on his experience in the wild, Manzoni concluded: “Venturing into the Icelandic wilderness presented a captivating challenge. The elemental sounds of ice and wind have always fascinated me, and recording them along with the sounds of waterfalls, waves and ravens amidst the stark beauty of Iceland’s landscapes was truly inspiring. My objective was to integrate the essence of nature into the fabric of my composition, establishing a profound connection between sound and narrative. The result is a purely organic auditory experience.”

The soundtrack of “Qivittoq” will be released this April, alongside a premier of the show to be hosted at the Teatro Sociale Bellinzona, in Switzerland, on 11 April.

Born in 1979, Andrea Manzoni represents a new generation of pianists who work to create innovative forms of expression, blurring the boundaries between jazz, electronics, rock, and music for film, into an emerging “crossover” style. He has performed in London, New York, Milan, and many other major cities.