T heories pass. The frog remains.”I ’m awakened by owls’ hoots outside our bedroom window, third night in a row. I listen for awhile, then all is quiet again. I get up, don my bathrobe and headphones, and put on ambient music of amphibians.
Jean Rostand (French biologist/philosopher, 1894-1977) ‘Ce que nous apprennent les crapauds et les grenouilles’, 1953.
F roggy recordings by The Weather Station [Tamara Lindeman, pictured above in a woodsy Canadian landscape], Thom Brennan, Anne LeBaron.
H armonic soundscapes like these invite our taking rhythmic journeys. Invite our acceptance of deafening silence as well as deafening sound; accept uncountable, anonymous plurality as well as self-obsessed namable individuality.
W e are reminded of the karmic virtue that attaches to our accepting life’s uncertain beginnings, uncertain middles, and uncertain and sometimes sudden/catastrophic endings.
T he politics of this music are what I decide to call ‘interspecies anarchist’. The psychology of it: ‘agoraphilic’. Agoraphilia admixed with coexisting/concomitant agoraphobia. After all, predators are seeking prey, suitors seeking mates. Situatedness with no hope of escape, in the long run.
T hese recordings are ‘specimens’ illustrating the paradoxes of solitude in a crowd, evidence of unfoldings that don’t yet realize what end-state toward which they are unfolding. Burden and necessity and automaticity of living. Heart that beats and beats, from one beat to the next, not needing a reason.
T his is not ‘droning’ or ‘cacophony’ as its detractors allege, only a [human-ambitions-agnostic] diversity of natural purposes that are opaque to human reason.
T his [the sounds; the animal originators of the sounds] can be experienced but not owned. This can be embraced but not held.
E very sound/song on these recordings challenges or refutes the property rights we as individuals imagine that we have, unmasking our self-delusion of human mastery or control.
T he naturescapes of Lamont Young and Terry Riley will be on my list if awakened tomorrow. Or the sound sculptures of Morton Subotnik. Early Brian Eno, possibly.
D ialectics of sonic invasiveness/intrusiveness/pervasiveness... every living being has a right to be here. But not every living being has a right to sleep.
S ome people might not like this principle. Instead of headphones, I could maybe amplify it through the loudspeakers on our patio...
- Croaked-out neighbor (PassiveAgressiveNotes.com)
- Rostand J. Les Crapauds, Les Grenouilles, et Quelques Grands Problemes Biologiques. Gallimard, 1955.
- Canadian Transportation Agency. Ambient Noise Measurement and Compliance Reporting Methodology. Government Services Canada, 2011.
- Brennan T. Signals in Moonlight. (Brennan, 2005, track #5.)
- LeBaron A. Rana/Ritual/Revelations: Concerto for Active Frogs. (Mode, 1995, track #7.)
- Eno B. Ambient 4: On Land. (AstralWerks, 1983, track #4.)
- Baby Sleep Frogs Sound. (Ambient, 2011.)
- Natural Sound FX: Frogs. (AlterEgo-X5, 2011.)
- SoundsOfTheEarth. Frogs. (Oreade, 1997.)
- iTunes ambient sounds app with 'frogs' as a choice