Feb 8, 2011

RhoDeo 1106 Roots

Hello, today something completely different from Africa, Sounds of the Jungle, Plain & Bush, no humans involved apart from recording engineers. From a time before Animal Planet, National Geographic or Discovery, exposure to the natural world was limited, therefore making field recordings of wild animals something of interest. Listening to this album equates to spending a night in the jungle..you dont see animals but you hear plenty.. frightening...you get some "campire noise" aswell. I post here the liner notes which at times get rather carried away about the animal music almost funny..


Current research among naturalists tends to break down any remaining class-distinction between animals and man; the more we know about the other creatures on our common planet, the sillier it seems to judge homo sapiens either as superior to all others, as the ancients dreamed, or as the lowest conceivable form of beast, as some of us might suspect today. It turns out that nearly everything we thought unique to our species - city-building, war-making, tool-using, the ability to employ logic - can be already found in some other animal's daily behavior. Even a cursory listening to this record will dispel the notion that we are the sole possessors of the concept of language: I am sure that at least some of these animals' speech is as articulate as ours - all we lack is an effective interpreter, a Rosetta stone that would let us in on their secrets.
But for me, as a composer and musician, the most fascinating aspect of these animal sounds is their musicality, their phrasing. There is never any unclarity or tentativeness in their statement, and that is enviable from any artist's standpoint. Children have this directness, but when we grow up we cloud our speech, befog our meaning, lose our animal voice. Half the struggle of any good singer, actor, instrumentalist, or composer is to find that voice again, to recreate with great care what seemingly comes naturally to the hippo or the leopard. Some of us almost succeed in this, and that is why we respond so strongly to a Bille Holiday, to a Mozart, to a Varese.
It should be unnecessary to say what follows, but I think I must. Listening to this recording in the relative safety and confinement of one's living room could lead all too easily to the waggish parlor-game of finding amusing parallels between, say, the cry of the hyena and the opening of Varese's Integrales, the trumpeting of the elephant and a fanfare in a Mahler symphony, the chattering of the vervet monkey and that of the strings in a Beethoven scherzo. There exist, already, recordings in which bird and animal "noises" have been electronically reprocessed to make little tunes; I need hardly mention the craze, a few years ago, for jungle sounds accompanied by filtered-in sentimental music. All this shows a lack of respect for the animals themselves, for the dangerous and blazing beauty they possess and we have so often lost in our circumscribed lives. The African recording engineers have done so well to give us the voices of their wildlife as they are, where they are, in the forest, bush, hillside, and savannah of an enormous continent few of us have visited, and we are privileged for the gift. Listen carefully, and even some of the language-barrier between man and beast disappears; I find, for example, the passionate love-call of the "unbeautiful" rhinoceros as moving as anything in human music. (William Bolcom)

Animals of Africa, Sounds of the Jungle, Plain & Bush (73 71mb)

01. Leopard {1:08} on the hunt, snarling and grunting in annoyance at the chattering of the vervet monkey in the trees above. (This and the following track recorded at Aberdare National Park, Kenya.)

02. Vervet Monkey{3:05} warning its fellows of the leopard passing beneath.

03. Hyrax {2:42} small as a rabbit, but very noisy for its size; lives in nooks and crannies throughout the rockeir parts of eastern Africa. (Ngulia Hills, Tsavo-West National Park, Kenya.)

04. Rhinoceros {2:24} rarely heard except in its irate snorts and pounding hooves - so vivid to those who have been pursued by these animals. Here is its mating call and the female's far-off answer. (Amboseli National Park, Kenya/Tanzania.)

05. Zebra {1:49} a herd on the move in Serengeti.

06. Wildebeeste {2:09} also recorded in Serengeti, near Ngoro-Ngoro, which is famous for huge herds of this animal. The wildebeeste often migrate over the plains alongside the zebra herds.

06. Lion {2:51} at the edge of the forest, in the early evening. The lioness (who does most of the hunting for her family) has just made a kill. Her mate roars his approval from a distance and gradually makes his way to the feast. The lion is the first to eat; once satisfied, he retires to allow the lioness and the cubs to have their share. The sound of the cubs squabbling is probably unique to this recording. (This and the following four tracks recorded at Meru National Park, Kenya.)

07. Hyena {2:07} the first scavenger of the African bush to move in on the leavings once the lion family has had its fill. Its "cry" and "laugh" are both heard here.

08. Wild Dog {2:11}an extremely vicious species, known for cruelty to its own kind. Here they scare the hyena away from the lion family's leavings.

09. Silver-Backed Jackal {1:21} this timid little fellow appeared only when the more vicious animals had left; most of the food was gone, and we hear his comments.

10. Elephant {2:55} deeper in the forest a lone bull elephant tries to join a browsing herd. After a confrontation with the bull elephant in charge, he screams in agony and annoyance after being beaten back.

11. Hippopotamus {2:59} grunting and wallowing contentedly on the River Nile. (Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda.)

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

No comments: