Wood frogs are starting to wake up and call to each other in vernal pools around here. I visited a large pool just behind the visitor’s center at Mass Audubon’s Arcadia Wildlife Refuge. I got some great recordings of frogs there exactly a year ago, working with Maine-based sound artist Steve Norton. I’m pretty sure that’s the last time I did anything in person with a friend with no mask and no distancing.
If you listen with headphones, be aware that some of these frogs get very loud. There’s one in the left channel who sounds like he’s croaking right into the mic – which is possible, since I recorded with a pair of LOM Uši Pro omnis dangled maybe an inch above the surface of the water. In between this frog’s sharp, high barks, you can hear a quiet sort of moan, perhaps the air he’s building up to make the next loud call. The land edge of the pool is just under the left mic, so he may be sitting on that, making his calls closer, and perhaps even louder for bouncing off of both the surface of the water and the underside of the wooden walkway.
After this flurry, the frog calls died down more suddenly than they started. The clip ends with a rustling sound, perhaps our soloist hopping away.
In the photo you can see two neon-red hairy puffs – those are the Uši Pro in a pair of the windshields we make here at EIS HQ.
EDIT 3/17/21: It’s been cold again here and the sap has temporarily slowed/stopped. Also, we’ve been noticing more bird activity in the trees a little bit behind this tree. So we’ve moved the streambox back there for the time being. The best time to listen is probably early in the morning our time, EST in the US (recently UTC-4 instead of UTC-5, thanks to the antiquated foolishness called Daylight Savings Time).
The sap is running in New England and beyond, and is harvested through the late winter/spring to be boiled down into the gold of the north, maple syrup. You’ll also hear locals like black-capped chickadee, tufted titmouse, and downy woodpecker.
We connected a pair of LOM Uši Pro and stuck them under the lid with magnetic clips, then ran them into our SoundcampStreambox.(More information on the Streambox, including how you can make one yourself, is here.)
A windy day in the Lynes Woods Wildlife Sanctuary, on the Lyman loop. Nearly still under the trees, with no other people and no virtually wildlife except for some distant crows, the sky above the trees was on the move. I love the full sound of the rush of wind high up in the sky, and the Sennheiser Ambeo microphone seems to enjoy it too. Here I have decoded the recording in Bluemlein stereo; I often find Blumlein gives a rich rendering of the sense of space, with detail and room.
Ultrasonisphere is the first piece conceived for the Ears In Space wave field synthesis array. It is composed primarily of the ultrasonic sounds used by bats for hunting and communication, along with other environmental and synthesized sounds. The bat calls were recorded using various means to translate them into the human hearing range.
The Ears In Space wave field synthesis array is a linear array of 24 speakers coordinated by a Max patch, which creates sonic point sources in a two-dimensional space. These virtual sources are physically accurate and retain their position regardless of the position of the listener in the room.
Wave field synthesis is best experienced in person; however, until we can all get together in physical reality, this version of Ultrasonisphere is a binaural rendering for headphone listening, attempting to recreate the experience of the Ears In Space array. I recommend listening on headphones with the volume at a moderate level.
Thanks to Jo Kennedy for providing some of the bat sounds.
The idea of the Ears In Space array was born from a series of spatial audio workshops held at EMPAC at RPI in Troy, NY; deep gratitude to many people for hours of inspiration, consultation, and discussion, both during and after the workshops.
Recorded by Mike Bullock: early evening, front yard in Florence, MA USA; early morning, village of Aulus-les-Bains, France; and Jo Kennedy: Cemetery, Basque country, Spain.
released November 13, 2020 Sounds recorded by Mike Bullock and Jo Kennedy