release date: 24 january 2023
listen to episode 73 on soundcloud
This new composition drifts across and through various sonic topologies of layered and abstracted recordings including :- water boiling in an old-fashioned whistle kettle; passenger and freight jets descending over inner-city suburbs; multi-story scaffolding being removed from a newly completed residential tower nearby; the usually inaudible signals and patterns of elecromagnetic frequencies constantly emitting from devices all around us; morphagenic distortions of my spatial pleximetry recordings where I capture the singular sound of objects being struck once; and the rhythmic pulse of the bulbous bright green cicada Cystosoma saundersii, commonly called the bladder cicada that I encountered in the suburbs of Brisbane Queensland during a 2022 summer family visit.
These cicadas, unusually, are nocturnally active and begin their calling in the crepuscular half-light near dusk and call long into night’s darkness. Like the songs of crickets, songs of cicadas – different for every one of the over 3000 scientifically identified species – form an important part of locally specific soundscapes around the world. Cicadas have a high incidence of species endemism – wherein a species is habitat dependent, and a particular habitat may not have a wide or contiguous distribution – so there are all over the temperate and tropical world, local cicada songs that contribute to a sonic identity of place.
For example, I treasure my field recordings of summer in Japan for the highly evocative sounds of cicada species very different to those I know from the various parts of Australia where I’ve lived and worked over the decades. I had known those Japanese cicadas long before hearing them actually call from their tree podiums, through the cinema of Ozu, Kurosawa, where the musical pulse of cicadas underscores the langour of the archipelago’s hot, humid summers.
As ever, I imagine my compositions as a kind of transport for the listener to journey into unusual but hopefully evocative sonic territories of mind, memory and feeling.