White Noise: birds
All MP3s under birds:
Daybreak on the Amazon Basin
Early Winter Wilderness
Mountain Valley Breezes
Sleepy Jungle Slumber
Duration: 66 minutes 17 seconds, Size: 90.1 MB.
A cold early winter wilderness wind drifts through the trees as the sun peeks over the horizon. Frost in the trunks and branches crunches and pops as the trees flex.
Winter in the forest is a quiet time. Most of the birds have all but migrated south and most of the animals are fast asleep in their winter hibernation. Lakes, ponds, and small streams are frozen, and a thick blanket of snowcover acts as a sound absorbent. As the days get shorter and a little colder in early December, subtle changes occur in the early morning forest soundscape. The winter birds become more vocal.
In this recording, as the rising sun illuminates the tops of the trees, nuthatches chant and hairy woodpeckers drill. Red squirrels become more mobile after a crust forms on the deep snow. Their warning chatter becomes more frequent as they stray into each other’s territory. An occasional goldfinch sings. The wind chills.
This is a very quiet minimalist recording — you’ll notice that the restless winter air leaves its own background noise imprint. The beginning of the recording has quieter sections, whereas the second half has more wind. Listening with headphones is recommended.
Early Winter Wilderness is for those who enjoy a minimalist soundscape which has long stretches of low volume inactivity, and accurately represents the activities of wind and animals at daybreak in early winter. There is an audible hiss in the recording produced by the recording equipment. It has been encoded at 192 kbps for better audio quality.
Slip on your headphones, hop into your pajamas and cozy bedtime booties, grab a sumptuous fair cup of hot sizzling cider, and chugalug!
Duration: 65 minutes 33 seconds, Size: 90.0 MB.
Darkness in the Amazon rainforest sneaks up on you swiftly and silently like a hungry snake going after its prey. Suddenly, against all expectation, it pounces on you violently, swallowing you whole into its belly.
Through the opening of my humble grass hut, as I laid in my hammock, I witnessed a rush of vibrant colors: a flash of crimson, a moment of magenta, a sudden burst of red, then — blackness!
The racket of birds and monkeys died as quickly as the sun, and night was ushered in by a horde of strange new voices: the warbling of tree frogs, occasionally accented with the bark of larger frogs, the chirping of bats and the shrill chorus of insects, the snoring sounds of unidentified animals and the distant howling of monkeys.
I grappled for my headlight as I ventured out of my hut and into my dugout canoe in total darkness and headed down the river. I casted my gaze upwards. The sky was dotted with countless sparkling stars like I had never seen, so unmuddled and clear that the constellations were apparent.
Lost somewhere amongst them was a full moon shimmering its pale light upon the water, regaling my eyes with incandescent sparkles of eternal rapture. I sat speechless, transfixed and gasping for air in a chimerical dreamlike aesthetic haze, wondering how one could describe such beauty without comparing it to something else. Words seemed clinical and inadequate.
Not even a poet could do it justice — it was simply the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in all my years of living. I was humbled. My mind melted and I absorbed with intensity all the strange noises creeping out from the jungle’s silhouette as I glided through the velvety darkness in complete awe.
A moment later, I became aware of a subtle light, a deep rich amber refulgence dawning from far away, beyond the partly sealed rim of my weary eyes. It was a cloud of fireflies dancing about, fluttering and reeling in ecstasy, suffusing the night with a savory surreal bioluminescent mise en scène. Pandering to my infantile compulsions I paddled closer to catch one in my hand.
I doubted seriously if anything could top what I had already recorded but, incidentally, I had noticed with my ears something strange yet infinitely alluring — the environmental noise-to-signal ratio in this area of the jungle was remarkably high, and it was entirely natural. I pulled my canoe up onto the bank of the river, switched on my light and ambled about deep into the forest until I was satisfied with an excellent stereo arrangement, set up my equipment and pressed RECORD.
Sleepy Jungle Slumber contains no fade-in or fade-out and can be seamlessly played on repeat without any sudden distractions. Digital stereo binaural recording. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for quality listening.
Duration: 64 minutes 03 seconds, Size: 87.9 MB.
Robust yet tempered zephyrs stir and sift through the densely congregated treetops of towering pines and firs that soar shoulder to shoulder. The air is fresh, alive, and vibrant with a brisk zest of its own that you can smell right through your headphones. The tree needles and branches modulate the blowing wind and become alive with dance and song. It is a cleansing time as well, because old needles and branchlets are offered to the winds.
Pristine omni-directional birdcalls echoing back and forth create an ever gentle reverie of peaceful, soothing, calming sound to aid you with those long trains of thought that just warrant for deep, meditative contemplation and painstaking mental effort.
Mountain Valley Breezes is a form of natural white noise, the sound of serenity. As the leaves rustle and dance and the branches billow, we are reminded of the leisurely days of summer warmth and relaxation, beneath blue skies of meandering fluffy white clouds.
Slip on a pair of sound-isolating headphones/earphones (I recommend the Sennheiser HD 380 PRO headphones, and Etymotic Research ER6i earphones) and try listening to this while you’re reading or working.
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!
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- Karen Ramirez BFA