fieldnoise 01 - birdsong

The fieldnoise mix series is back

Just a little over two years ago I started a series of “mix tapes” on my old blog. At the time, I wrote that I was going to do one per month, but some twenty-four months later…there are six. Six total mixes, the most recent of which I made just a few weeks ago and haven’t posted anywhere yet. When I was still writing my dissertation, I found all kinds of ways to procrastinate, but clearly tinkering with found sound audio mixes was not one of them.

In order to celebrate this most recent mix tape, I wanted to get the old ones back in circulation. I’m going to rerelease an oldie but goodie every few days. This will be part of a larger project to get other lost and forgotten posts back online. So, without further ado:

fieldnoise mix 01: birdsong \ by craig eley \ (30:06)

Originally posted on August 18, 2010

1. jakeharries/Harry Partch :: April 2004 Garden Birds/Yankee Doodle Birds :: (0:00-3:08) :: This is basically a field recording uploaded to, which I’ve overlaid at the end with an interview taken from Enclosure Two, a terrific collection of Harry Partch’s music, writings, and interviews.

02. Sybil Sanderson Fagan :: The Bird and the Saxophone :: (3:08-6:06) :: This track comes from an old compilation called As Recorded by Thomas Edison. I discovered the record over at the incredible A Closet of Curiosities, one of the blogs that inspired me to start this one. The original post is here.

03. Aki Onda :: For the Birds (edit) :: (6:06-9:43) :: Onda is an electronic musician and sound artist who did a series of tape collages he called “cassette memories,” which includes the full version of this piece. He is also featured in the book Autumn Leaves: Sound and Environment in Artistic Practice. You can learn even more over at his website.

04. Louise Lawler :: Birdcalls (edit) :: (9:43-11:55) :: This very famous sound/performance piece is Lawler reciting the names of various male artists as birdcalls, and appeared on Tellus #5 & #6, the Special Audio-Visual Double Issue. If you aren’t familiar with the Tellus tape series, it’s amazing. Learn more here, and download them all here.

05. Joseph Wood Crutch and P.P. Kellogg :: Doves :: (11:55-14:05) :: This is the first of two recordings on this mix done by P.P. Kellogg, the Cornell ornithologist who should be mentioned alongside Lomax and whomever else as one of the most important recordists ever (for research nerds). His work for Cornell ended up on everything from Walt Disney films to Folkways Records—he is essentially the godfather of recorded sound fx. Anyway, here his recordings merely complement the spoken word of Crutch, who discusses “bird songs in literature,” which is the title of the record on which this recording appears. Another hat tip to A Closet of Curiosities (original post).

06. Corsica_S :: Pigeons :: (14:05-15:23) :: Uploaded by Corsica_S to

07. Stephen P. McGreevy :: Hooks :: (15:23-16:02) :: Not bird calls or songs in any way, but actually VLF radio recordings which happen to resemble bird calls. I was obsessed with VLF radio for a while and wrote a paper about it for a class with John Peters. It’s really worth exploring the wonderful and wacky world of McGreevy’s website.

08. P.P. Kellogg :: Wood Thrush at regular speed, 1/2 speed, 1/4 speed :: (16:02-17:40) :: This was a recording that Kellogg did for the album Sound Patterns.

09. Sarah Reed :: A Section of Paved Road (edit) :: (17:40-21:48) :: Sarah is a Smith Conservation Research Fellow with the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at Colorado State University and the North America Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society, and she graciously sent me some of her research files to mess around with. I’ll post more of them on the site soon, and you can learn more about Sarah here.

10. Francois Bayle :: Trois portraits d’un oiseau qui n’existe pas :: (21:38-28:28) :: I forget how I first heard about French composer Bayle, but now I can’t get enough of him. These “three portraits of a bird that doesn’t exist” are exemplary of his witty and playful musique concrete from the 60s. I though the piece was worth including in its entirety.

11. Timvid :: Hummingbird Wing Sounds :: (28:28-29:19) :: Recorded from Youtube.

12. We/Or/Me :: Hummingbirds :: (29:19-30:06) :: Found on the Yeti 4 compilation. Hear more music by We/Or/Me here

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