Duration: 73 minutes 48 seconds, Size: 101 MB.
During my travels around the globe, I have come to see the Earth differently. For me, it is quite eloquently a solar-powered jukebox.
The more sunlight that is readily available for plants to grow, the more available energy there will also be to power a particular ecosystem’s bioacoustics. Sunny places are, for the most part, louder places (for example, tropical rainforests). Ergo, darker places are quieter places. To put it in a nutshell — as you go towards the equator, the Earth gets louder; as you go towards the poles, the Earth gets quieter. (This effect is also naturally complemented by the fact that sound travels faster in warm air as compared to cold air; and sound just as well travels farther in humid air as compared to dry air.)
Jukebox Earth plays a variety of different tunes. Select any given set of latitude and longitude and you will hear an entirely different melody. The more time that any given location has had to further evolve to develop more complex, more ecologically intertwined relationships, the more symphonic the music becomes. Glaciation, logging, and other forms of devastation drastically reduce the composition back to elemental forms, where the composition begins to slowly rebuild again in rhythm, diversity, complexity. I’ve met people who have the uncanny ability to correctly identify a place, the corresponding season, and time of day based on the environmental sounds alone.
Plant life is essential to understanding the distribution of natural sounds and how sounds behave in such environments. Fauna is so dependent on flora for survival, it can be said that the vegetation can be interpreted as the musical score. From the plants and vegetation alone (i.e., structure and composition), it is possible to predict the kinds of animal sounds and other events that are likely to occur at other times of the day or year. I like to pretend that the plants themselves have voices, and this illusion is helpful as a conceptual sound designer when I am given only a photograph or video clip and must correctly apply the respective sounds.
The Earth is music, spinning in the deafening silence of space; and nowhere is this heard ever more clearly than in the Amazon Basin at daybreak. The sun has just risen, mist is flowing and swirling in the humid morning air above the warm jungle canopy, and the first rays of light can be heard as the stillness of chirping crickets and rasping cicadas grows punctuated by the resonating songs of birds at dawn.
Distant howler monkeys eagerly join in the forest’s awakening chorus, insect-like calls of poison dart frogs and whistled notes of wrens and antbirds permeate the atmosphere, and surround-sound is being recorded as deep cries of wild animals parley amongst one another in 360 degrees around my binaural omni-directional microphone pair.
This forest is remarkably clean — constant ticks and snaps and thuds of distant branches can be heard falling to the ground as they climactically concede to the rainforest’s warm temperature and humidity, favorable conditions for decay which keep the forest looking fresh and forever young.
What you hear is the interaction between fauna and flora, untouched by human development, which has formed from tens of millions of years of complete ecological symbiosis. Every inch of the forest is alive, and the closer you listen, the more life you will hear. Everything moves, everything breathes. Everything is animated with music and energy. Listen long enough, and you begin to hear the gentle side of the always-awake jungle spirits.
Daybreak on the Amazon Basin features a long 15 second fade-in/fade-out at the beginning and the end. Encoded at a bitrate of 192 kbps for better listening quality. Listen with headphones!