Keith Alexander on the Aran Islands
Ireland - Keith Alexander, a Dublin-based freelance sound recordist, began his career in the music industry managing bands and fostering a lifelong passion for sound and music. His love for studio recording led him to work in Windmill Lane Studio in Dublin. Keith consistently used Rycote's products for his recording sessions, both in the studio and on location. Recently, he faced the wind for a challenging project off the coast of Ireland.
"My early experience in music and managing bands ignited my passion for sound and music," says Alexander. "This enthusiasm led me to discover studio recording, opening up a whole new world."
After transitioning from the music studio to location sound, Alexander then moved into post-production for cinema and TV, and then to animation. His diverse experience in the sound industry has given him a unique perspective and rich expertise in his field.
Keith has recently been involved in some concurrent projects on the Aran Islands, off the coast of Ireland, that came with significant challenges for sound and voice recording. These projects required robust, versatile and reliable kit that could withstand the harsh conditions.
Employing the Rycote Nanoshield, together with a HC-22 mic, a pair of HC-15's short shotgun microphones and the CA-08 cardioid mic for different recording situations. For one of the projects, Alexander spent three days on the island recording sound effects. To capture the essence of the island effectively, he could use the elements to design a soundscape for the movie that was being produced for the project.
For a separate project, Alexander used accessories such as lav covers, stickies, Super-softies, and overcovers as well as Classic-Softies for concealing his mics as the predominant element that is present on the island during the winter is the thunderous winds that scour the island constantly. With the wind comes the cold and cold hands so all stands, booms and handles required the PCS system to allow easy exchange of mics to suit each situation.
"One of the projects is to record an album of traditional singing with a renowned local singer.” He is recording vocals with the HC15. "The HC-15 sounds great with voice, and is a super quiet mic which works well for vocals," says Alexander. "The versatility of these mics is unmatched - they're lightweight and adaptable, essential during these projects."
The Aran Islands’ projects presented several challenges, including the sheer amount of gear required and the constant, deafening wind coming in from the Atlantic. Alexander had to find creative solutions to these problems.
"The wind was a major issue, especially during the winter months, and in these conditions, I need to trust my equipment implicitly, " recalls Alexander. "I doubled up on Rycote windshields for my Nanoshield to combat the relentless wind, especially out on the boat, which provided superior protection."
Despite these challenges, Alexander found that the versatility and range of Rycote's products greatly facilitated his work. He also discovered that the wind, while initially a hindrance, could be used to his advantage in creating a unique soundtrack.
"The complexities of the wind became a theme in the soundtrack," explains Alexander. "I used it in the sound design to emphasise the emotion and the personality of each shot. One of the most interesting recordings I captured was the sound of the wind through the walls of an ancient fort on the island with ambisonic mics. It sounded just like every voice those walls have heard for the past 4000 years, beautiful."

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