White Noise: spacious
Duration: 66 minutes 48 seconds, Size: 91.7 MB.
Victoria Falls — the Seventh Wonder of the World; the largest waterfall in the world.
Victoria Falls is a natural source of “brown noise” (a lower-pitched and less irritable form of “true” white noise) that is ideal for sleep and masking unwanted background noises. It is a powerful, thundering, and expansive recording that relaxes the listener with a full-spectrum spacious sound, apt for masking both rumbling and high-pitched distractions.
While Victoria Falls is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is claimed to be the largest. This claim is based on the fact that it plunges 108 meters (360 feet) over a width of 1,708 meters (5,600 feet) into a basalt lined gorge, forming the largest sheet of falling water ever to be discovered by man (and thus, the largest concentrated source of environmental brown noise).
In March and April of 2009, record rainfalls in the watershed created an extra volume of water that had to be released over the falls around April 12th. This recording and photo were taken at that time, from the eastern cataract at the Zambian side.
Victoria Falls features no fade-in or fade-out at the beginning or the end, so there are no distractions in sound volume when played on repeat. No sounds of people, birds, animals or planes are included. No music has been added.
Extensive testing conducted through many years of travel has led me to conclude that Victoria Falls combined with the Sennheiser HD 380 PRO at 85% iPad volume provides seven times (7x) the sound attenuation of merely using foam and silicone earplugs alone. This MP3 is literally a bedroom for one’s ears. Get yourself a pair of over-the-ear headphones with ample amounts of bass response, take a seat somewhere in a boisterous coffee shop or relax in a hotel room with adjacent noisy neighbours, and then play Victoria Falls. You will hear the sound of one hand clapping.
Victoria Falls is a natural white noise soundscape composed of a non-looped digital stereo quasi-binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a 3-dimensional audio portrait when listening with headphones. Encoded at a bitrate of 192 kbps for quality listening.
Duration: 63 minutes 57 seconds, Size: 87.8 MB.
It was one of those mornings where the mist and wisps of fog had twisted and risen in the valleys, lingering like the last river spirits of the night, reluctant to admit that the break of dawn had already arrived.
‘Twas in this befoggled morning dawn during a rainstorm that I recorded Rain on the River, right on the bank of the Deerfield River with my trusty pair of DPA 4060-BM omnidirectional condensor microphones mounted onto my GUY HRTF baffle. My Sound Devices 722 and Lunatec V2 mic preamp were both safe and sound in my watertight Pelican 1500 case but while they were sitting there basking in their warmth my 4060s had to take all the beating.
A cataract of constant plummeting rain falls throughout the recording, forming a high exuberant counterpoint to the lower bass and sub-bass of delicate rolling thunder rumbling across the tops of clouds above the listener. The thunder has a low soothing growl rather than startling claps or crashes or booms, so any progress you make towards sleep or being one with the universe will not be thrown into abrupt discomposure. Subtle, sparsely scattered bird calls can be heard in the distance.
Swift multitudinous drops of rain continually plash and patter the river’s smooth glassy levels, and they are heard making little dimples and bells and spray in an ebullient melody of constantly shifting crescendos. The ecstatic flow of buoyant streaming water from the river has a more engaging, relaxing, random variation of natural white noise when compared to electronically processed white noise or white noise software. The duality of both low and high frequencies facilitates listening as our ears tend to crave for one or the other after prolonged singular exposure to either for an extended period of time.
A tirelessly shifting array of liquid awesome — this is the only MP3 that takes you right to the heart of the storm without getting your snugglebuns fried by lightning. No music, no voices, no planes, no synthesizers, no bilk. No layering or looping effects were used in any way to enhance the storm.
Rain on the River is a natural soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo quasi-binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Click here to read more about me and my recording techniques.
The full 63:57 MP3 has no fade-in or fade-out at the beginning or end, so it can seamlessly be played looped without any distraction or sudden change of tempo. Compatible with all CD players, iPods, iPads, and iPhones. If you are using an iPad or iPhone, make sure to read this article. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 61 minutes 43 seconds, Size: 84.7 MB.
Autumn Winds is a unique, constantly undulating form of natural white noise that is excellent for masking office noise and other distractions. It is unique in that it is always changing and evolving — never stagnant or static. This chill, laid back soundscape is an ebb and flow of completely natural white noise of moderate intensity.
The trees are still adorned with leaves, in which their presence modulates and colours the noise of the wind with rustling whispers. These features are complemented by a velvety relaxing tempo that makes this recording an ideal gadget for both sleep and study.
Autumn Winds is as ignorable as it is interesting — it does not demand your attention, but rewards it.
Recorded in the northern Canadian taiga of coniferous forests in September of 2007. There are no sounds of birds, animals, insects, planes, cars, voices or music. This is a non-looped soundscape of pure natural wind sounds (no synthesizers, no layering, no post-processing). Completely seamless and includes no fade-in or fade-out at the beginning or end.
Autumn Winds is a natural white noise soundscape digitally recorded using stereo quasi-binaural Sonic Studios DSM-6S/EHs dimensional microphones. Binaural baffle, omni-directional microphone technique. Encoded at a bitrate of 192 kbps for quality listening.
The complete aural equivalent of watching clouds…
Duration: 64 minutes 41 seconds, Size: 88.8 MB.
A field recording from my trip to the Rockies — descending swiftly from the ice fields of the Rocky Mountains, the Kicking Horse River is both a geological and acoustic wonder. It still follows the path it chose before massive glaciers filled the space between these mountains. When the great ice sheet finally disappeared, a broad U-shaped valley was left in its wake and at its bottom, the Kicking Horse River remained — a spectacular remnant of another age.
While exploring a Rocky Mountain river in 1858, surveyor-geologist James Hector suffered a near-fatal kick by his packhorse. Hector survived, and the river and a nearby mountain pass were named in honour of the incident.
The recording location for this MP3 was rather catalytic — my hubby and I were able to move the raft to a calmer area but while he was sitting there oafing away I stranded myself up on a rock for an hour in the middle of its unruly raging waters with my Sonic Studios DSM-6S/M (in a WHB headband) and Edirol R-09.
White noise permeates this soundscape through the relaxing auditory medium of constant streaming water. The overflow from the rapids eddy around to the left and to the right as light spirited waves lap against the rock’s perimeter. You can hear the rushing flow of water from the main current shifting amongst the rocks, the harmonic splash of spray, and volumes of water gushing over and around the rocks and boulders all around me. The atmosphere is suffused by white milky mist thrown up into the air by splash and spray everywhere.
Kicking Horse Rapids is a natural soothing source of “pink noise” (a less harsh and less hissy form of “true” white noise) and includes no distracting sounds of birds, planes, music, animals or people. Digital stereo quasi-binaural field recording. Listen with headphones to produce a 3-dimensional auditory experience. Link to binaural recording techniques.
Duration: 65 minutes 37 seconds, Size: 90.1 MB.
I have never been more charmed by a country quite like Sri Lanka. As ubiquitous as poverty is, right alongside the high infant mortality rates, these people are albeit proud, educated, genuinely hospitable, and sedulously spiritual.
For example, my guide Carlu had an advanced collegiate degree, could speak several languages fluently, knew almost every single plant and animal by both their Latin and common names including hilarious scientific anecdotes, but most importantly he was remarkably at ease and eager to discuss the meaning of life for hours on end during the lazy evening hours.
Even though he was in his sixties, he was tireless. One morning he forgot to arrange for my brunch to be packed up for the field, so without comment we promptly stopped at a small communal village so that he could buy me a meal (equivalent to several days’ worth of wages). I irrevocably pried the truth out of him and he confessed that he’d rather labor for days than to have me skip a brunch because he was forgetful. I gave him a kiss on the cheek and squeezed his testicles.
Carlu is just one of the many reasons that Arthur C. Clarke (author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, R.I.P March 19, 2008) lived here, which introduces how I had come to visit Sri Lanka in the first place.
A good childhood friend of mine had just returned from Sri Lanka on a business trip, and she suggested that I travel to the island country to record some of the environment because the denizens are so spiritually uplifting. Though despite the dense population, she assured me that it was also a quiet place, relatively free of noise pollution in the rural areas. The biosphere reserves are very well respected and preserved which to my favor complemented generously my existing library of environmental ambience and wildlife recordings.
She also suggested that I write to Sir Clarke, “You don’t need an address for a BAMF like Arthur C. Clarke, just use Colombo, Sri Lanka, and it’ll get to him.” Oy, could there really be such a place left in this world? I wrote the correspondence letter that same day. Three weeks later, I received a hand written letter in my mailbox from Mr. Clarke graciously referring me to several scholars and experts on nature and Carlu was one of them.
Carlu took me to the Kanneliya Forest, Hurulu Reserve, Horton Plains, and Kalutara Beach, and all four places produced environmental ambience recordings of sexcellent quality.
Sleepy Beach Waves takes place on the secluded Kalutara Beach, which is a long, narrow strip of land of situated 38 kilometers south of Mr. Clarke’s house and rests between the waters of the Laccadive Sea and a wider inlet of water to the east.
The weather and tide conditions were nothing short of perfect that evening — a crème de la crème of widely spaced waves sweeping singularly and sensuously across the smooth, moist, shimmering sand. The lush ebb and flow of waves — both distant and near — gently caress the shore as they break and recede, leaving a light hissing symphonic trail of sound as the surf ever so softly sizzles itself in.
There was no wind at all, which was pretty rare for an open beach — so I removed the microphone windscreens to allow every creamy little detail to be recorded. At the conclusion of this hour long field recording session I snapped up this photo.
Relaxing beach ambience at its best – without the seagulls, without the swimmers, without the sailors. No birds, no animals, no people, no music. No looping or layering effects were used. This is one full hour of pure, unadulterated, wholesome beach waves — both distant and near — lapping against the sun-kissed sandy shores of the Kalutara on a sleepy September sunset twilight.
This soundscape captures the most primal essence of stranded seaside serenity and solitude in 360-degree binaural surround sound. Ah… so peaceful here. Yet there’s fighting going on somewhere at this very minute. Slip on a pair of stereo headphones and dare to cast yourself away.
Sleepy Beach Waves is a non-looped natural undulating “brown noise” (a lower-pitched and less hissy form of “true” white noise) soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo quasi-binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
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: 66 minutes 48 seconds, Size: 91.7 MB.
Dreamshower was recorded in the middle of the night at a narrow passage in the mystical white crystalline La Cloche mountains. The area has an “other world” feel and awareness. Dreamshower exudes a particular ambience and unique vibration.
The recording encompasses the middle to upper audio spectrum with variations caused by the water flows and splashes which creates a mesmerizing rhythm that plays up and down in pitch.
This is a crisp clean rain recording enveloped by a depth and spaciousness that slowly evolves and unfolds. The natural variability makes it less fatiguing to listen to when compared to electronically generated rain sounds. A natural source of “white noise” that is ideal for masking ambient noise and office distractions — no synthesizers, no layering, no looping and no post-processing.
Everyone is snuggled into their beds to stay dry, being gently lulled to sleep. There is no thunder, no animal sounds to distract, and no mechanical sounds — just the sounds of steady soft “female rain”.
The perfect non-drug sleep aid to help you relax and fall asleep. Play Dreamshower at bedtime and drift off to a peaceful and relaxing slumber to alleviate insomnia and sleeplessness.
“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Duration: 65 minutes 21 seconds, Size: 89.7 MB.
Gentle cleansing trickles of rain eagerly bruit the advent of a steady downpour of mild to moderate intensity. Low, rolling moans of thunder resonate across the skies in lingering intervals as they mend the mind and persona from a long day’s endeavors. A comprehensive auscultation with stereo headphones leaves the listener refreshed with a contemplation of purity and renewal.
Healing Storm is a clear crystalline atmosphere that is distant and non-threatening with tender, delicate rumbles rather than sharp crackling thunder. There is a wonderful sense of comfort and enjoyment of hearing nature’s power from a safe distance.
No animals, birds, people, cars or mechanical sounds are included. No music or voices are added. Healing Storm is a natural soundscape composed of edited and mixed digital stereo quasi-binaural field recordings. This recording technique produces a 3-dimensional auditory image when listening with headphones. Encoded at a bitrate of 192 kbps for quality listening.
Duration: 63 minutes 45 seconds, Size: 87.5 MB.
Recorded on a quiet misty summer night, light rain dribbles upon a small moonlit bank while a deep mesmerizing concert of gentle chirping night crickets peep and whistle along with a backdrop harmony of myriad other night time insects. You can hear the occasional fall of dewdrops from the leaves.
I have supplemented this with a steady stream of soothing white noise. Designed to provide the nostalgic auditory summer stimulus that winter and urban living lacks, this’ll help you find your organic sense of grounding that you usually seem to lose during the winter months.
The elements of rhythm are complimented by a natural randomness factor that is relaxing, soothing, and pleasantly refreshing. These combinations of sound best stimulate one’s auditory sense, while the absence of bass frequencies leaves the attention unperturbed. These unique characteristics make this MP3 an aid for meditation, relief for depression and stress, and a natural drug-free gadget for insomniacs.
This passes beyond the realms of awesome into dimensions of quantum hyperliquidawesome not yet charted by humankind that if you were able to grasp the mere concept of it its awesomeness would simultaneously explode both your bladder and brain.
NyQuil in the form of audio.
Listen to this while driving and you’ll die.
Duration: 64 minutes 06 seconds, Size: 88.0 MB.
Although some parts are only accessible by boat, spend a week within and around the Small Isles off the coast of Skye in Scotland and it’ll happily dawn upon you that the beauty and splendor of this breathtaking island archipelago finds itself aesthetically rivaled only by its soothing canorous bluster and melodious maritime soughs.
This breezy seashore soundscape was binaurally recorded and photographed at Laig Bay on the Isle of Eigg. In the distance, the sun takes a seat atop the Isle of Rùm, respite from the heat of its long day — and I’m sitting on a rock tickling the sand with my feet as I replay in my mind the shifting moods and varied venues of my own vested day.
In the background, a soothing low breeze quietly bustles along the surface of the water as it spreads across the ocean and permeates into the bay. It is calmer here, and it’s somewhat of a mitigating relief to listen to the ocean’s song from this location — most of the waves and winds that would have made it into the bay are blocked by the surrounding cliffs.
The muffled ocean swells and complaisant sighing winds are in tranquil unison, and they act upon one another in joyful confluence to wash away the listener’s worries. The background breeze constantly mumbles in low monotonous baritone, the distant rolling waves are blended and modified by the ocean’s draft and multiplied by the bay’s echoing cliffs, and water from the enervated surf gently laps against the foreground conglomeration of rocks and small boulders in whispered laughs of splash and spray.
Ocean Breeze is a natural soundscape composed of edited and mixed digital stereo quasi-binaural field recordings. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
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: 66 minutes 42 seconds, Size: 91.6 MB.
Healing Waves features soft secluded turquoise waves breaking offshore upon long ridges of sandbars, which then roll up and wash onto the glistening coast with positively relaxing vicissitudes of both impulse and impuissance.
Designed with a view of rest and recovery for tired bodies and aching appendages, for exerted minds and exhausted faculties, for wounded hearts and disenchanted souls, this silky smooth ocean soundscape relaxes and recuperates, recenters and re-equilibrates, revitalizes and refreshes the listener with a watery cradle of complete auditory zen.
To record Healing Waves a secluded low tide area was selected, surrounded by a stunning profusion of forests and rocky cliffs, far from homes and highways in an isolated bay. Recording took place during the early evening twilight.
You can hear the low rumbling frequencies of the distant breaking waves, which eagerly precede the final overspread upon the beach. Every so often the subtle strike of ocean spray can just as well be heard lapping against the large foreground rock sitting off in the distance a little to the left of the microphones.
This specific region proved to be perfect for recording the evening tide without any distractions. The result is a pure pristine recording that sounds very open, immediate, alive, and overflowing with the energy of harmonic ocean waves.
Healing Waves is a natural soundscape digitally recorded using stereo binaural HRTF microphones and includes no sounds of animals, birds, people, voices, or traffic. No music has been added. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for quality listening.
Listen to this if you ever reach into the blender to dislodge a stuck icecube without unplugging it first.
Duration: 67 minutes 31 seconds, Size: 92.7 MB.
The world-famous Devil’s Pool — the most dangerous natural infinity pool on Earth. Recorded in late August of 2009.
The Devil’s Pool is a naturally formed pool located right on the edge of Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world. Because the water level was low, I was allowed to explore areas of Victoria Falls that were usually under heavy rushing water — so instead of overwhelming brumes of mist soaking me to the bone, I could see the cliff faces with steep scary drops to the mighty Zambezi River underneath.
Nevertheless, loud roaring caterwauls of forceful moving water was everywhere around me, everywhere I turned. The falls were spilling over only half of the gorge while the other half was somewhat dry for the moment, and I hiked along the edge. Just a few months after this recording took place, tremendous amounts of violent rushing water will be storming over my footprints. After a 40 minute hike along and through the myriad boulders and creeks, my arrival at the Smoke that Thunders was greeted by a man in khaki shorts who approached me with an exciting offer — and before I knew it, I was wading into the water with my recording equipment safe and sound in my Pelican 1500 waterproof case.
For a nominal fee you can dive off a rock at the edge of Victoria Falls into a naturally occuring eddy pool called the Devil’s Pool. But it is literally right on the edge — on the lip of the edge — of the waterfall, and you jump into a pool of surprisingly unperturbed water. But just before the river’s current washes you over the edge, you’re stopped right on the brink — mere inches from the chasm — due to a natural rock wall just below the surface of the water that stops your progress. You can only do it in the dry season though (mid-August through January or February depending on rainfall), lest you wish upon yourself a terminal freefall descent into a jaggedy rock grave — any other time of the year and the sheer volumes of water will be entirely too much for you to stand your ground.
My guide performs a running dive straight into the pool, pulls himself up and stands on the extreme verge of the waterfall. One minuscule nudge from the tip of my little pinky finger and he’d have been a goner! He hollers over the trumpeting cacophony of deafening white noise and signals for me to hop in. My heart is pounding like a kettle drum. I lay my Pelican case onto a flat-faced rock, assume a steady stance, and — GERONIMO! — lunge forth into the world-renowned Devil’s Pool.
It really is true — I’m stopped by a naturally formed barrier of petrified basalt submerged just a few inches below the surface of the water, and it protects me from tumbling into the river gorge far below. He’s proposed to dangle me over the edge. Heck, why not! I crawl ever so precariously closer towards the lush miasma of thundering smoke, the vast void of milky white floating mist — until my belly button passes over the dead-end margin of the falls and runs perpendicular to the cliff’s face.
He takes hold of my legs, and — I stoop my head to witness a bevy of beautiful double rainbows as soft squiggly rills of water trickle down my back and off into the Zambezi river chasm below.
I skipped a heartbeat. My stomach lurched. Adrenaline raced through my veins.
Amorphous liquid monoliths coalesced below, eminent and imperial.
It was such an amazing sight to behold — and such a long, long, long way down. Certainly an electrifying experience for the more acrophobic-inclined.
The constant turgid sea of broadband brown noise produced by the aggregate activity of countless collocated swiftly cascading rivulets of water stretched wide across an entire mile — married the simultaneous explosion of stratospheric pink noise bursting from neighboring waterfalls of the immediate vicinity; and the sound was like the snarling yawn of ten thousand slumbering gods — vociferously soothing with a degree of enjoyable vitality: invigorating and mesmerizing, voluminously robust and fretlessly bassful.
I swam my way back to my carefully reclined case of safely ensconced electronic paraphernalia, set up my headband-baffled omni-directional binaural microphone pair, laid prone atop the Devil’s lip and pressed RECORD — my Sound Devices 744T audibly preserving the world’s loudest infinity pool to its mechanical will. I snapped up this photo afterwards.
Devil’s Pool is a non-looped natural soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo, omni-directional binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction. Includes no music and no sounds of voices or people, birds or animals, planes or cars. The full hour-length MP3 includes no fade-in or fade-out at the beginning or end, so it can be seamlessly played on repeat without any distractions or sudden change of volume.
Duration: 62 minutes 00 seconds, Size: 85.1 MB.
Winter is over and spring is in the air. In Spring Nocturne, we are treated to a surround-sound panoramic symphony of distant spring peepers, one of the first among many vernal ensembles to announce the season’s arrival.
The air is flowing with hazy white mist, the calm quiet midnight atmosphere vibrates with the deep spacious stillness of their hypnotic lullaby, and we hear the sweet accompaniment of the trilling of toads and chorus frogs that join in every now and then (whose vocals sound similar to running a finger along the teeth of a comb).
They are collectively awakened by the thawing of the earth as they slumber in their winter beds underneath a thick insulating layer of leaves and soil, and for 62 minutes we are pampered with the regal ambience of their melancholic crooning.
Usually they will begin to stir and peep during the warmer and rainy nights of spring, and even when there are still a few traces of snow and ice sitting on the edges of their ponds, they are not at all deterred — they just slip themselves under the ice and either drift about freely or hang onto a straying leaf or stick or other floating debris.
By the middle of April the male peepers will stake out their positions around the periphery of these ponds and puddles as they sing their little hearts out to entice the female peepers. It may take a few nights of intense singing, but in due time these considerably selective females will become attracted to certain males. The male peepers with tiptop voices draw in the most females — although with thousands of them singing all at once, it is difficult to single out just that one perfect voice.
Early mating this time of spring allows their newborn tadpoles to mature before the sweltering heat of summer starts to dry up their puddles and ponds. However, the only problem with doing this is that they may encounter a deviating “late” spring freeze. Once the youngsters are mature, they will spread out over the land to feast upon insects at night, and rest during the warmth of the day. Sexual maturity won’t be reached until they are about 3 to 4 years of age.
As long as the weather conditions are warm and/or humid, the harmonious tumult of peeps and whistles carries on uninterrupted. If the weather becomes cool, the singing takes a temporary interlude until the next warm spell.
By early June, the singing ceases altogether except for the one or two odd loud mouths. It’s no coincidence that these little frogs awaken just as the first bugs of spring begin to appear. On the same nights that I first hear these peepers, my windshield can always be found covered with bugs (which are also just rewakening).
People often wonder how it is that these tiny little creatures can make so much noise but, in direct relation to its petite size, the spring peeper is apparently one of the loudest animals on Earth! The male spring peeper has a special sac attached to his throat that allows him to sing — using this sac, he squeezes air over the vocal cords and proceeds to amplify the sound by extensively inflating his throat into a large balloon-like bubble, and this produces an ear-piercing high-pitched peeping sound that can be heard for almost 2 kilometers away. The females don’t have this kind of fun — only the male peepers are endowed with this magical sac!
Spring Nocturne is a non-looped natural soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. There are no other sounds of birds, insects, people, cars, planes, wind, rain or water. No layering effects were used. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 65 minutes 7 seconds, Size: 89.4 MB.
A most acoustically serendipitous happenstance as it may be, this fabulous chance recording was chronicled right on the spur of pure tragedy — I honestly had not foreseen recording this magnificent auditory spectacle of mother nature on the steps of my friend’s porch during the series of severe storms on the dreaded afternoon of August 19th, 2005.
Honestly. I mean, we were discussing politics and homemade chicken pot pie in the dining room while simultaneously engorging ourselves with homemade chicken pot pie. We certainly weren’t discussing torrential windstorms the size of Angelina Jolie’s upper lip.
That’s why you carry your portable field recording gear with you wherever you go no matter what, homeslice.
Having been armed with a matched stereo pair of DPA 4060-BMs clipped onto my hoodie (touching each ear for quasi-binaural imaging), a PA-24NJ battery mic preamp, and a Sony PCM-M1 DAT, I captured the complete sonic birth, early incursion and epochal cortex of a supercell storm.
The Toronto Supercell storm struck at 12:30pm as part of the Southern Ontario Tornado Outbreak of 2005, which later spawned two F2 strength tornadoes, produced winds of well over 100km/h, golf ball sized hail, extensively flooded more than half of the Greater Toronto Area, and completely laid to waste Finch Avenue near Sentinel Road in North York with damages in excess of $10 million CAD.
Everyone was inside their homes in quiet apprehension except for me. The winds were galvanizing — had I used my tripod or HRTF baffle to record this, my gear would’ve easily been swept away as supercell fodder in one succinct blast of wind. Thus, I sat, I meditated — and I reveled — in this profusely awesome auditive exhibit of nature’s unrelenting power.
Birth of a Supercell is a non-looped natural soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo quasi-binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Contains no sounds of birds, animals, people or voices. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 65 minutes 46 seconds, Size: 90.3 MB.
It is the year 2035 and scientists are currently constructing the Large Hadron Cuddler as a surrogate to its haplessly failed predecessor, the Large Hadron Collider.
Though dauntlessly so as with previous experiments in the never-ending search for the elusive Higgs boson, particle physicists had presumed vacuously that the brash colliding of opposing particle beams would serve as the ultimate vehicle in the discovery of its existence.
However, recent groundbreaking studies have gleaned towards a brilliant new theory suggesting a different, rather peculiar ordinance to producing the inscrutable mass-endowing Higgs: particles must not tussle and collide, but rather, be subjected to a far less forbidding assay — they must gently caress and cuddle.
Members of CERN’s technical division are hard at work 100 meters below the surface of the earth, diligently installing the superconducting quadrupole and cyrodipole electromagnets and pumping them full of liquid helium cooled to just a tad below 2 kelvin required for mass operational cuddling. Amongst the muted roar of underground turbines spinning at nine thousand RPMs are distant, intermittent, unencroaching mumblings from the control network that can be heard through the public address system via the overhead intercom.
A hauntingly soothing sound litany of moderate fluctuations in temporal underground space, infected by the occasional far from equilibrium interventions to diversify the stasis — reverberant rubbings, vesperal sighs, microcollisions, metallic asperities, elemental debris and tiny fragments elegantly recombine into a wordless score, perfect as an aural backdrop for writing your next thesis on how you shall unravel the mysteries of the universe’s sexy exciting hidden dimensions.
Our ears are caressed by resonant acoustical poetry as we take a virtual vacation into the quietly hectic construction site of this handsome hyperparticle supercuddler from the not too distant future. Best for masking rumbling noises and medium-level distractions.
Duration: 63 minutes 27 seconds, Size: 87.1 MB.
Deep and bassy is how you like it. With increased low frequencies and decreased higher, this MP3 creates a sexcellent warm atmosphere for aid in dozing off.
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: 64 minutes 27 seconds, Size: 88.5 MB.
The tropical rainforests of the Amazon Basin — home to the highest diversity of plant and animal species than anywhere else in the world. These sacrosanct jewels of the Earth comprise the world’s largest pharmacy; nearly half the medicines we use were developed from rainforest plants — including the painkiller ibuprofen, synthesized from a vine prevalent in these very forests called the monkey ladder tree.
Without ibuprofen, the disparity proves incalculable in the department of productivity when the abject misery of physical pain overrides our willpower to do what must be done.
Yet we’d still be rubbing our foreheads and miscellaneous extremities in futile effort were it not for rain, arguably the most critical ingredient of the grand gestalt that has given seed to such beneficial monkey ladder trees and the astounding myriad of exotic wildlife in these most biologically diverse sanctums of mother nature.
The weather of the jungle in the middle region of the Amazon Basin is usually well flecked with rains and deep bellowings of thunder — but most of which are far too obviously joyful and life-giving to be regarded as storms. I was trekking deep in the jungle, entirely engrossed with its riotous beauty, when I peered up and over towards the sky — and suddenly, without warning, a massive wall of incipient dark thunderclouds had loomed above me.
A range of bossy grey cumuli had taken possession of the sky, huge domes and peaks rising one beyond another with deep canyons between them, bending this way and that in long curves and reaches, interrupted here and there with white upsurging masses that looked like the spray of waterfalls. Sharp zigzag lances of lightning followed each other in quick succession, and the thunder was so gloriously loud and massive it seemed as if surely an entire mountain was being shattered at every other stroke.
Though, in spite of that, I do trust that no mountain or mountain range — however divinely clothed with light — has a more enduring charm than these fleeting mountains of the sky — floating fountains bearing water for every tree and creature in the jungle, for the denizens of its macrocosmic interwoven plexus, for the buoyant spirits of its streams and lakes and rivers; brooding in the deep azure, or sweeping softly along the canopy as they linger with cooling shadows, refreshing every languished flower, every withering leaf, and soothing raucous ranting birds with a gentleness of touch and gesture wholly divine.
I ecstatically arranged my recording equipment and tarried in place as I surveiled the storm’s debut. Down came a cataract of rain. Swift katabatic raindrops sifted through the dense arborescent canopy, plashed and pattered upon the jumbled assortment of reticulate green flora, and poured down the sides of trunks and vines in a network of grey, bubbling rills.
In Rain and Thunder in the Amazon Basin, we listen to the robust hammering of rain pellets against the lush foliage of the forest floor, understory plants and upper jungle canopy of emergent trees as thunder resonates and rumbles and roars and occasionally crashes and booms and circles about us.
In these forests, scarcely a raindrop can fail to find a beautiful mark: on the tops of arboreal thoroughfares of twisting columns and spiraling lianas, on the smooth chest-high fronds of verdant efflorescing fern, on the curves of slippery brown moss-enveloped logs, on the thousand forms of tropical forest sculpture with their tender beauty of balmy, flowery vegetation — laving, plashing, glinting, pattering; some falling softly on meadows, creeping out of sight, seeking and finding every thirsty rootlet, some falling with blunt tapping sounds, drumming on the broad leaves of trillium, cypripedium, granadilla; some falling straight into fragrant corollas, kissing the lips of lilies, some into the lakes and rivers and lagoons — patting the smooth glassy levels, making little dimples and bells and spray here and there and everywhere.
Everything is refreshed and invigorated, a steam of fragrance arises, and the storm is finished. Good work and happy work for these merry forest raindrops, each one of them a brave fall in itself, rushing from the cliffs and hollows of the clouds into the cliffs and hollows of the jungle; away from the thunder of the sky into the thunder of the roaring forest rivers; saturating all and fountainizing all with the melodious energy of nature’s renewal.
As a cautionary note, I do not recommend this recording for sleep mainly because the occasional thunderclap can be startling, but rather, as a natural drug-free stimulant and thoroughly energizing auditory backdrop for accomplishing tasks and getting things done.
Digital stereo binaural recording. No fade-in or fade-out at the beginning or end is included. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for a rich listening experience!
Duration: 63 minutes 8 seconds, Size: 86.7 MB.
This clean minimalist recording of pure unadulerated rain sounds (and nothing else) was recorded in a small courtyard area between several houses. There was a concrete porch with a very small awning. The rich textures in the recording emanate from that concrete and the bermuda glass that surrounded the area, which adds a touch of granularity to the aggregate auditory spectacle.
The DSM-1S/H’s are amazing microphones and a lot of this recording’s magic I feel come by the subject’s movement in the sky and the static nature of the rain by which my DSM’s did a fantastic job capturing. I found a cute little rock and snapped up this photo. His name is Bunkerwuggy.
Nothing but Rain is pure peaceful refreshing rain. No birds, no thunder, no wind and no man-made sounds to distract. No music has been added. Bitrate has been encoded at 192 kbps for quality audio reproduction. Edited digital stereo, binaural-baffled HRTF field recording.
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!
Duration: 66 minutes 57 seconds, Size: 91.9 MB.
A steep descent in the riverbed has this swiftly moving jungle river rushing, roaring, raging and rumbling through the Amazon rainforest with torrents of surging water, violent gushing eddies, turbulent white bubbles and tempest-like currents. It echoes across the jungle and off the nearby cliffs in thundering resonance, adding a spacious feel to the soundscape and a strong bass presence that conveys a solid physical milieu.
Special attention was given to the choice of the river’s recording location to portray the most spacious sound, yet still have the listener be able to hear and enjoy the close-up sounds of splashing water.
Compared to synthesized white noise, this soundscape has a distinguished natural variability which gives the recording extra life and substance, making it easier to listen to over long periods of time.
I’m sure this river was full of hungry piranhas and sneaky candirus, but recording it was a thoroughly vested thrill. Making this recording was extremely fun and risky.
Includes no sounds of birds or animals. Includes no fade-in or fade-out. Jungle River Rapids is a non-looped natural soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo binaural-baffled field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrated encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 65 minutes 53 seconds, Size: 90.5 MB.
Top of the Chasm was recorded where the steep rocky cliffs of the Zambezi River Gorge reverberate with the sounds of rushing water. Recorded at the top of the chasm, overhanging the river far below, the sound of running water is blended and modified by the morning air and multiplied by echoing cliffs yielding a unique river gorge sound.
The deep gorge is a result of waterfall erosion that takes thousands of years to create. It is an ongoing process that we can only participate as reverent observers because the magnitude of the forces and time the process requires are beyond our intuitive comprehension. This unique peacefulness of the gorge sound is a result of a natural merging of the effects of vast volumes of air and water.
Behind a bend in the gorge and half a kilometer away, the waterfall still plummets, as the geological process is never-ending. That ancient presence is represented in the recording as a sub bass rumble at about 10 Hz (10 Hz is the same frequency as alpha brain waves), created as the massive amount of water tumbles down 108 meters (360 feet) and shakes the earth.
Top of the Chasm is a natural soundscape composed of a digital stereo binaural field recording. Recorded above the Zambezi River downstream from Victoria Falls in southern Zambia, Africa. Encoded at a bitrate of 192 kbps for quality listening.
Companion field recording: Victoria Falls
Duration: 63 minutes 25 seconds, Size: 87.0 MB.
Thunder rolls seamlessly across the tops of the clouds accompanied by a summer evening lightning show that continues for hours. Distant Thunder Billows is distant and non-threatening with a unique rumbling sound. It is ideal for relaxation. A gentle rain falls throughout forming a high counterpoint to the bass and sub-bass of the thunder. As the rain gently increases in intensity, the thunder continues to have a gentle, delicate rumble rather than startling crashes. There is a comfort and enjoyment of hearing nature’s power from a safe distance.
There is such an unusual and alluring sense of musical space in this recording — unlike any I have heard before or since. There is a gradually undulating tempo that relaxes me, with such sanguine harmony and muffled resonance of timbre, until I am completely calm, if not asleep. If I could only listen to one recording before bed, this may well be it.
Also, this recording has a good sub-bass presence for those who have the equipment to reproduce it.
Perfect for ambience, creating a mood, masking external rumbling sounds, or as a simple reminder of those long relaxing summer evenings.
Duration: 67 minutes 26 seconds, Size: 92.6 MB.
A bubbling pulsation flickers at the periphery of a small secluded snow-capped river islet during the deep calm and enveloping silence of a winter.
The overall mood is delicate, unhurried and pensive, yet frolicking water resounds through the forest air with festive mien — a charming counterpoint to the quieting force of these wintry northern landscapes.
Lush liquid melodies are peppered with surging regions of natural white noise rummaging across the vast riverbed, and a delightful level of sonic enthusiasm is consistently maintained throughout the frequency spectrum.
The binaural microphones were centered above the river about 5 feet (1.5 meters) in height. A full 360-degree audio portrait of constant running water is the result.
In the short, chilled, crystalline days that accompany the winter solstice, we find ourselves a quiet passage on the prolonged journey into spring.
We reflect on the accomplishments of the year just past, and make plans and goals and resolutions for the one to come. It is a period of active reflection, an interim for looking both inward and outward… at once.
Winter River Tarry — white noise hydrology for sleep, concentration, relaxation and tinnitus relief. Includes no birds or animals, people, planes or cars.
Winter River Tarry is a natural soundscape composed of a non-layered unprocessed digital stereo binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 63 minutes 53 seconds, Size: 87.7 MB.
A whirling fairy fabric of rapid white spray and rushing comet masses passes through a craggy incline and down a shingly pair of precipices.
Rushing across minor taluses, moderate moraines and exquisitely sculptured flood washes, jostling from side to side by the rocky slopes upon which its groves are growing, Tiger Leaping Gorge teaches the world the language of running water.
Now, Yunnan legend has it that this river gorge was named after the circumstance of a tiger leaping across the river at its narrowest point, in order to escape from a pursuing hunter.
Many people make the journey to the edge of many a swiftly flowing river rapid, but are often held at bay by a river’s final challenge. In order to cross over to the opposite side, the determined adventurer must possess skill with which to leap across rivers.
Thus far man has demonstrated meager cunning in the execution of this endeavor. The placement of such obstacles forces one to covet the tiger’s acrobatic aptitude.
If ever a time comes that the feline wages war with man, it will always have safe respite beside Tiger Leaping Gorge.
I want to have carbonated tiger steak for dinner.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is a non-layered natural soundscape with no sounds of people, birds, animals, planes or cars. On-location digital stereo binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 62 minutes 13 seconds, Size: 85.4 MB.
While spelunking through the cave of Waitomo in New Zealand I had wandered off and found this magical little spot. I was not the first to discover it, although no path led to it. There was a sign, handwritten with charcoal that said this was a sacred site. In the corner there was a fire pit and beside it lay a sleeping mat woven out of palm fronds.
Just outside the cave entrance is a waterfall and a tree, a perfect perch for morning doves and a view of the rising sun.
Cave by the Waterfall is a place that only one person can go at a time… a private, deep, hard-to-explain, and astonishingly memorable soundscape.
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- Karen Ramirez BFA