Jonathan Skinner's Poems Set to Field Recordings of Animal and Natural Soundscapes
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Krause, a pioneering electronic and studio musician who once worked with the likes of the Byrds, the Doors, and George Harrison, discussed his career traveling around the world recording animal and natural soundscapes during a Woodberry Poetry Room talk called “The Great Animal Orchestra,” alongside poet Jonathan Skinner, whose nature poems were paired with Krause’s recordings.
“Creatures vocalize in special relationships with one another, just like instruments in an orchestra,” said Krause. He compared a soundscape of cicadas, chestnut-winged babblers, and gibbons to classical music, showing the animals’ music on a staff, reading the notes as though Beethoven wrote them. From recordings of creatures both small — who knew that sea anemone made noise, let alone moaned? — and large, Krause conveyed the diverse and wonderful world of noise that is all around us.
Krause talked about the strange congruencies between natural phenomena and animals whose sounds seem to mimic those in nature. He played a recording of the electromagnetic frequencies of lightning storms happening at the equator, which travel throughout the Earth’s crust, eventually reaching the North and South Poles. The static noises of the storms were eerily similar to the sounds of two breeds of seals at opposite ends of the Earth, who “also sound electronic to me,” said Krause. “So weird.”