Monday, June 9, 2008

The Voices of Nature

As an audiophile, I tend to look for the esoteric in recordings. Back in the day before iPods and CD's, when we bought our music on vinyl record albums and reel to reel tapes (yes, I still have a working R-R deck and factory tapes in my collection), I used to buy the "audiophile" pressings and direct to disc recordings that were designed to bring out the most in the recording and demand the best from your sound equipment. (Back then I had about $10,000 in personal audio gear, no wife and no children.) One of my favorite recordings was a "half-speed mastered" copy of Bernie Krause's Citadels of Mystery. This is still one of my favorites, and one of the few that I've actually transfered to digital from the original album.

As a sound designer for the Empress, finding really cool, high quality "sound effects" is a major part of the fun. I've been known to spend hours browsing the sound files at sound dogs to find just the right thunder clap or door creak for an effect. Remember the crypt sound effect from The Mystery of Edwin Drood? The door creaking open, then shut and slamming, and those wonderfully mis-timed foot falls as Jasper sneaks up on Durdles. Putting stuff like that together is sheer heaven for me.

This morning, in my email I got news that combines both of these passions and then some! It seems Bernie Krause has gone and turned scientist and is working on a project to record the sounds of nature, what he calls the "biophony" before is it completely drowned out by the "anthrophony" or man-made sound. Not only is Bernie recording thes wonderful nature sounds, but he is using them to create music. If anyone wants to get a Father's Day gift for me, get it here.

Go visit the site even if you don't want to get me a gift, it's worth the trip. Oh, and the project is a non-profit that you can support too. (After you make a donation to OHPAA.)

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