In May 2019 me and SVRN travelled from Frankfurt to New York City. After 9 hours flight we arrived at our hotel which was located Central Park West / W 106th St.
Although we had already booked the hotel upfront our reservation did not go through which meant that there was no room available for us. After some back and forth we finally got a room. Probably the worst room in the whole hotel. But there was still one good thing: The room was located on the 11th floor which gave us access to an abandoned rooftop. This roof terrace turned out to be the ideal place to take pictures and to chill out and smoke.
View from our „private“ smoking lounge
The next day we explored the city and met with our friends at Splice in their impressive New York headquarters. We went on top of the Empire State Building where we were able to take some nice shoots of the Manhattan skyline. We also went to Time Square and 5th Avenue to complete our tourist stuff and to go on to our actual mission: New York Chronicles.
View over Manhattan from the Empire State Building
On day two we started to recorded samples and ambiences in various places and tried to catch the vibe of the city. The city that has inspired us since our childhood with the sound and the look and its vibe.
Unfortunately, this day it was raining so we started to record sounds around our hotel. We captured some ambiences from our rooftop, the elevator and a bunch of other random sounds. When returning to our room we directly started creating. We instantly catched a vibe and laid the foundation for this pack with this very first session.
The following day we decided to explore Central Park. We spend a couple of hours in the park and really enjoyed the beautiful nature. We recorded a bunch of birds and water sounds. Our Central Park mission ended abruptly after we made a little smoking break in the bushes. We got surprised by two park rangers who kindly asked us to leave the park. We ended the day with some dope bagels and drinks from our favorite Deli (Morning Deli on 108th Street) and just enjoyed the vibes.
The fourth day we explored our own neighbourhood. Our Hotel was located in Uptown, Harlem. The weather was nice so we started walking and exploring little parks and alleys where we recorded a lot of samples. We found a cozy Italian spot where we enjoyed lunch. After that we continued our recordings in the Metro. Exhausted from a day full of recordings we came back to the hotel and let the day fade away.
The fifth day was our last day. We were pretty tired from this short but also exhausting trip but looking at our results we were very happy. We recorded a lot of dope sounds and all of them embody a snapshot of this great city. On top we were able to catch a lot of dope photo and video footage. We decided to spend the day relaxing in our neighbourhood and take the rest of the day off. We knew at this point we did good work but we also knew that we have to come back to get to know this city even better.
We recorded sounds in the most various places, such as Central Park, the subway, Uptown, Harlem, Time Square, the airport, lifts and in our hotel. We only had 5 days so our possibilities were limited but we managed to preserve the special vibe of this city.
After 5 impressive days we arrived back in Germany with a lot of new motivation. We locked ourselves in the studio and started creating. The field recordings that we collected had so much atmosphere that the ideas came by themselves. We might start with a sample from a police car passing by Central Park, add some smooth piano chords and some percussion that we recorded in the hotel elevator. This approach let us create an authentic and organic sample pack which reflects a snapshot of New York with every sound.
Photo edits: Philipp Levinger
Additional writing: SVRN