Threshold Shift Long-Play Special: The Dawn Chorus


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Air date: 
Wed, 10/04/2017 - 12:00am to 3:00am
Phil Green talking about Yellow Island, one of the San Juan Islands
We'll travel the world checking out dawn choruses...

Airs Wednesday, Oct 4 at 12 AM.

This is the first of our two long-play specials. We devised these shows specifically to be a little more experimental in nature, which lets us push the limits of how long we can keep humans off the air. It also gives our lengthy submissions their chance to shine; one of the most beautiful aspects of soundscapes is their subtle compositional variations over time. Much like an orchestral symphony, you can hear the biologic and geologic voices coming in and out, weaving together the environment as a whole and painting a deeper, more nuanced picture of a place. These qualities allow listeners a chance to sink into it all, breathing with the soundscape, and finding their own cadence within it. It allows us a moment to notice our breath, our heartbeat, and maybe imagine what it would be like to truly be on site at those locations...but perhaps, this radio format is even better. The biggest paradox of being a natural sound enthusiast is that a human, by entering these pristine auditory environments, threatens to destroy the very thing they are seeking, merely by being present. Certain animals will not follow their usual habits if they sense one of us in their midst. It is in part due to this that many of the most unique and best soundscapes are gathered when recordists set up and then walk as far away from the area as possible for as many hours as possible. So via these types of recordings, we are able to hear what the world sings when it thinks we aren't listening.

Today, perhaps appropriately given the insomniac hour, we will be exploring what happens in those liminal moments between night and day; right as the sun is peaking up over the horizon and the earth begins to warm up and move. We'll take a listen to dawn, starting with an overture from Antelope Valley in the Sierra Nevadas in California recorded by audio producer Bill McQuay of NPR and Cornell Lab of Ornithology fame. Bill was the contributor of the ultrasonic recording featured on last week's show and is officially launching a new project of his at Eco Location Sound. Antelope Valley will be followed by an immersive experience of a rainforest in Talatakely, Ranomanfana, Madagascar recorded by Ben Mirin on Expedition with the The Safina Center and the National Geographic Society with support from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Ben is a Fellow at the Safina Center, a National Geographic Explorer, and a natural sounds recordist with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He records wildlife sounds around the world and samples their voices to create music that teaches people about nature and inspires conservation. You can hear more of his work at Our final dawn exploration comes from Yellow Island in the San Juans of Washington State recorded by Phil Green, the on-site curator of the otherwise human-free island entrusted to the Nature Conservancy. He gives limited tours of the island in the spring when the native flowers bloom.

Tune in at 10 AM this Friday when we head to Papua New Guinea for another episode of Threshold Shift where we give the mic to nature and amplify Earth. Threshold Shift is a Resident Sound Artist Series sponsored by KBOO 90.7 FM. You can also check out our News from the BOO interview happening at 5:45 PM on Wednesday, Oct 4th. Thank you, as always, for listening. 

Dawn Chorus, Antelope Valley, Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA

Recorded by Bill McQuay. Originally in four-channel surround sound mixed down to two-channel stereo.                                                             

Date: June 2016

Dawn Chorus, Talatakely, Ranomanfana, Madagascar

Recorded by Ben Mirin on Expedition with The Safina Center and The National Geographic Society, with support by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Date: October 25th, 2016

Equipment: Sennheiser MKH 20, MKH 30 (M/S stereo), Zoom F8 recorder

Dawn Chorus with Song Sparrows, Yellow Island, San Juan Islands, WA

Recorded by Phil Green, naturalist and on-site curator and conservator for the Nature Conservancy. Intended for submission to the Macauley Library Collection. 

Date: June 16, 2017 at 6:05 AM.                                                                                                                                                               

Equipment: Marantz PMD661MKIII, Sennheiser ME 67 microphone


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