Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Sounds Of Insects (No Vocals)
I found this in the back room of a local record shop and almost pissed myself when I saw it. I didn't care how much it cost. It had to be mine. Luckily, it was only about 12 bucks; the vinyl and jacket were in great condition and it came with the info booklet detailing how the recordings were made so I made out like a fuckin bandit.
Most of the sounds on here aren't field recordings, they're from experiments done in the lab (insect torture included). The record was probably a teaching aid at some point. A. T. Gaul delivers scientific commentary for the duration, saying this is this bug doing this, and look how the sound changes when you do this. There are things on here that I was surprised to learn about and it could still be used for educational purposes. But that's not why I got it.
What I did was edit out (almost) all of the vocals and created one long track of insect sounds. If you were ignorant of the source of these sounds, you could easily mistake a lot of them for experimental music. The power electronics of a giant beetle stomping around, the freak folk clamor of a wasp eating meat from a fish bone, the drone of the hornet fatigue experiment, or the spastic freakout buzz of a fly caught in flypaper, but mostly it sounds like minimal ambient noise and it's fucking great. Of course, when you get to the recording of a cicada out in the field with children laughing and planes flying overhead, it brings you back to the scientific reality of what you're listening to.
This record is so awesome. You really just need to listen to it yourself. I recommend listening to it first sans vocals (which you can download above), and then head to the Smithsonian Folkways website where you can purchase it on CD or cassette (really) so you can discover what each sound is and how it was recorded. Totally worth it, trust me.