fieldnoise 02 - water

The second chapter in my effort to bring the field noise mix series back online is here, with this collection of water sounds, originally posted back in March 2011. In this 30 minutes you’ll hear the sounds of shrimp, whales, dolphins, and hippopotami; oceans, rivers, and streams; pianos, synthesizers, and singing—in fact, some of the most interesting and haunting singing I’ve ever heard. I hope you enjoy it.

fieldnoise mix 02: water\ by craig eley\ (30:48)

originally posted on March 9, 2011

1. UN Greeting/Whale Greeting :: The Voyager Golden Record:: (0:00-4:05):: The Voyager Golden Record stands as one of the coolest sound objects ever made: it was curated by Carl Sagan, plated in gold, and shot into space for eternity. In this clip, which was lifted from the 1992 CD-ROM reissue, various UN dignitaries offer their greetings (which alternate in stereo panning), and then, literally out of nowhere, there are whale sounds. Or ‘greetings,’ I suppose. The book that Sagan made about this record is called Murmers of Earth, and it’s really worth checking out, though I don’t have it handy to see what he wrote about this track.

02. Vladimir Ussachevsky:: Underwater Waltz ::(4:05-5:23):: This is the first of three tracks on this mix that come from the venerable Folkways Science Series, which I’m obsessed with and will be the subject of a chapter in the dissertation. (These are actually all still for sale, so if you like ‘em, buy ‘em). This is a short little piano piece, from the 1957 album Sounds of New Music.

03. John C. Lilly :: Clicking and Whistling - Slow and Fast (edit):: (5:23-6:55):: John C. Lilly is the man who famously tried to teach dolphins how to speak English, and oversaw the experiment where Margaret Howe lived with a dolphin for 10 weeks and gave him hand jobs—I’m not making that up. Anyway, Lilly is a legend. He loved dolphins, and he drilled holes in their heads. He has an amazing website. This track is taken from his marvelous 1973 record, Sounds and Ultra-Sounds of the Bottle-Nose Dolphin.

04. Jem Finer :: Water and Birds:: (6:55-8:28):: This is a piece from Jem Finer—one of the dudes in The Pogues—who has made a career change to experimental soundscape and sound art. He recently wrote a 1000-year-long song. This track is from the Autumn Leaves: Field Recording and Soundscape compilation.

05. Tony Papa :: Waterworks:: (8:28-13:55):: From Tellus #2.

06. Chris Watson :: Hippopotami Emerging from River Mara at Dusk:: (13:26-19:05):: I basically wish I was Chris Watson. Not only a legendary field recordist and all around interesting guy, but he also puts out his records on Touch, alongside ambient/electronic luminaries like Fennesz and Philip Jeck. His album Weather Report is widely celebrated, but this is taken from Outside the Circle of Fire.

07. Jenny Johnson :: Water Boy::(15:23-16:02):: This is from an odd little record called Vox Humana, which was designed to showcase vocal acrobatics. This excerpt is identified as “Water Boy” in the liner notes, but no composer or other information is given. If you know more about this song please let me know, I would love to hear other versions of it. This one is particularly noteworthy because Jenny Johnson, the singer, is singing “an octave below the usual contralto.”

08. Irving Teibel:: Psychologically Ultimate Seashore (edit)::(21:17-24:27):: Fair warning: this mix ends with basically 10 minutes of New Age. I had to give respect to Irv Teibel, who passed away in October 2010 and is responsible for wildly popular Environments series of records in the 70s. According to Wikipedia, these were the first wave of mainstream environmental recordings for “relaxation” purposes, and some research I’ve done around this time confirms that. This is from the first in the series.

09. David Behrman :: On the Other Ocean:: (23:56-30:48):: Written in 1976 for flute, bassoon, and Kim-1.

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