Sonic Encounters Podcast 006 – When the Whales Take Back the Ocean


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Story

As humans and their technology have evolved, they have encroached more and more on the domain of the whale and other sea life. Of course the whales have been evolving as well – and – unbeknownst to us, they have been patiently plotting and waiting for the right time put things back in balance.  Listen as a group of humpback whales execute phase 1 of their plan to take back the ocean.

Science

From Seismic Surveys Negatively Affect Humpback Whale Singing Activity off Northern Angola“…

“Discussion…The presence of oil and gas exploration activities in this region and globally, and the potential acoustic impact that anthropogenic noise sources may have on sensitive species are increasing areas of study and concern for industry, governments, biologists and conservationists [23], [25]. The intense pulses produced by seismic surveys clearly have the potential to cause direct or behaviourally mediated physiological harm at close distances [34], but more subtly at longer distances there exists the potential of disturbing animals and altering important behaviours, as well as masking acoustic signals and negatively affecting communication. … It appears that whales are ceasing to sing, or moving to other areas to sing when seismic surveys are being conducted in relatively close proximity. We emphasize that this is documentation of disturbance of a breeding display for a baleen whale on a breeding ground, and thus has implied potential for affecting mating behaviour and success.”

The ONLY source audio for this piece is from public domain recordings of humpback whale song and vocalizations. The samples were loaded into multiple tracks on an Elektron Octatrack Dynamic Performance Sampler.

Performance

The entire piece was improvised and recorded in one real-time pass using only the Octatrack’s unique an expressive capabilities, built-in-effects and ability to morph. The piece was recorded with a Zoom H2N with no edits (after much rehearsal). The fun and challenge of this piece was to see how far I could take a handful of similar recordings to tell a story and to go well beyond the sonic character of the source material. So I start off quite organic, and end quite “horror show”.

Instrumentation & Instrumentalies

  • Octatrack

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About

Hi, this is Mark Mosher. Welcome to my blog. I’m a synthesist, Composer, Producer, and Visualist living in Boulder CO. I’m also the founder of the Rocky Mountain Synth Meet and Synth Patrol.

I’ve been blogging wince 2005 and this blog is a mix of posts on artistic news as well as synth tech & technique posts under the category Modulate This!

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