Artificial Memory Trace ~ Klank Avonture Van Mmabolela Wildsplaas

FrogYellow and orange-skinned frogs croak and insects chitter. In the murky depths of the swamp, Artificial Memory Trace documents and records the sound of the African wildlife, and it produces some unexpected results. The whole album is a discovery. Some of the sounds resemble the ever-so-soft mews of cute little kittens, but don’t let that fool you – whatever it is, it’s probably poisonous. Sometimes, the night brings thin cries that ripple softly outwards. They’re almost cooing, whistling as if to a missing partner.

Recorded in South Africa, the field recordings gradually open up. Previously undiscovered calls echo out of the foliage, the very leaves acting as thick curtains that protect a house of insects. Other creatures go out on the hunt. On part 1, a clap of thunder pierces the sky, almost booming against the microphone. The sharp, crisp sound is electrifying in its power, but the insects never bat an eye. Once, twice, three times it strikes…and we’re terribly exposed. Startled birds open up Part 2, but they quickly settle down. What caused this sudden spate of anxiety? In the dark, it’s impossible to tell…

The cries are strange and somehow prehistoric; primal, even. Rhythms are created as the birds stutter and yelp. The trees are full of music, and their statuesque bodies absorb the sound. A deep rumbling sound could either be a drone, or the guttural, muddy moan of a creature in the creek. You forage for food as the sounds start to close in…or do they? You start to imagine things. Stone circles and ancient ruins conceal fantastical animals that have yet to come to the attention of science. The music is a treehouse that stands halfway between the experimental and the field recording. And still the sounds lead you on…just what is it, exactly? It sounds either like a Brachiosaurus or some kind of Sasquatch. The diversity of life is truly amazing, but after laying low by the side of the swamp all night, the light of dawn can’t come soon enough. (James Catchpole)

Available here

2 comments

  1. Thanks for this, it’s amazing! How wonderful to be able to make these field recordings. I first got interested in unusual recordings through wired lab, now at http://www.wiredlab.org but have not tried any recordings myself. I also have an old LP ‘The Wind Harp – song from the hill’ which is very interesting.

  2. Pingback: ACL 2015: Top Ten Field Recording & Soundscape | a closer listen

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