The idea behind Soundspace is to enter that biophony in spaces throughout the world to unite human activity, including technology, with the space of the natural world. The animals improvise. The musicians improvise. As Carla Scaletti wrote it in her blog post of January 12, 2015, "We don’t live on the earth. We are the Earth …"
In this concert, the musicians are Madeleine Shapiro, cello; Robert Dick, flute; Tom Beyer, percussion of sorts; and Joel Chadabe, unusual electronics.
The biophony spaces are the Brazilian Amazon near Manaus, Algonquin Provincial Park north of Toronto, Borneo during a rainstorm, Corkscrew Swamp in spring, Karisoke Research Station in Rwanda, and the Dzanga-Sangha rainforest in the Central African Republic.
What follows here are one-minute excerpts of the spaces before the electronics and before the musicians step in. Bernie Krause comments.
Brazilian Amazon near Manaus
Insects and frogs are followed by a brief rainstorm, a howler monkey's vocalization, and a jaguar’s menacing growl. Bernie Krause advises us, "Trying to record jaguars in their home territory is not usually recommended. I discovered this one night when I picked up the marking scent of one as it followed me down a trail keeping itself well hidden and unheard. No sooner had I set up my mic than the cat stepped up to the instrument and began to sniff, chuff, and growl. With a little luck, I am here to tell about it. The animal only remained at the mic for a bit more than a couple of minutes, vocalizing the entire time. In the dark of the early morning, I never saw it and didn’t want to shine my torch in its direction fearing that it would be frightened and attack. Finally, it ambled off in another direction leaving me quite frightened but relieved. The jaguar's song was followed by two very musical birds, the musician wren and the common potoo, along with parrots and parakeets, all expressing their relief at my narrow escape."
Algonquin Provincial Park north of Toronto
Algonquin Provincial Park is about 300 kilometers north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. "One morning at dawn in late March, I found myself surrounded by two packs of wolves—one in front of me, the other behind. This segment was the introductory exchange between the two packs. I was standing directly between them." Beyond the time of this excerpt, "the packs confronted one another in close proximity before deciding to disengage."
Borneo during a rainstorm
"In the early 1990s I was commissioned to go to Borneo as part of an overall attempt to capture all three of the large primate species (mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and the orang-utan). This segment represents a dawn chorus that begins with gibbons duetting ..."
Corkscrew Swamp in spring
"Located not far from Naples, Florida, this tiny biological island is now surrounded by dense human development. Several years ago, I managed to find a few intervals during the day that were relatively unfettered by human noise and present those early morning examples, here. Prominently heard are the barred owls."
Karisoke Research Station in Rwanda
"One of the three primate sites I recorded was the Rwanda research station, Karisoke, developed by the late Dian Fossey. I got there two years after her murder but found the gorillas she had worked with still intact. Each day, we tracked their movements through the dense undergrowth of the Virunga Mountains ranging between 8,000 and 10,000 feet with about 50 pounds of audio equipment strapped to my back. This was just a few years prior to the devastating genocide that took place."
Dzanga-Sangha rainforest in the Central African Republic
"In 1984, Louis Sarno, an American from the Northeast, sold everything he owned and bought a one-way ticket to the Central African Republic to live with and record the music of the Ba’Aka, a Babenzélé Pygmy tribe living in the remote Dzanga-Sangha forest ... in the 1990s I asked Louis to record examples of the forest habitat ... The excerpt I have selected is a gathering of forest elephants around a bai (a marsh) deep in the Dzanga-Sangha forest early one morning. It is a real-time covering the transition from early dawn to after sunrise. At this location, just three degrees south of the equator, sunrise and sunset occur very quickly, literally in a matter of minutes. One moment it is completely dark. The next moment, the sun has risen."