Friday, August 14, 2020
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Artist: Jean C. Roche
Title: Birds Of Venezuela
Format: LP
Label: Sub Rosa
Here are five untampered-with and authentic field recordings of exotic birdsong recorded in Venezuela by ornithologist Jean-Claude Roché, originally issued as an LP in 1973 but mastered in a manner that makes them sound freshly recorded, bright, detailed and brand new.

The five tracks are named by geographical location. “Ocumare” gets over twelve minutes of sound to its name, whereas “Rancho Grande”- now known as the Henri Pittier National Park- gets less than three minutes, with a total run time of thirty-five minutes in all.

It’s a fascinating and mesmeric listen, generally quite chaotic with all sorts of different species creating calls that are sometimes semi-familiar vocalizations, but often stranger- sometimes bubbly and even frog-like. Dozens of birds can be heard at once, layering up their noises in a way that reminds us that nature itself can produce bizarre and seemingly alien soundscapes all of its own without the need for any avantgarde or electronic assistance. “Palmar” is perhaps the weirdest of all, with a frankly eerie collection of building drone calls that sounds like it can’t possibly be natural, but I’m assured it is.

Birdsong may feel a bit cliché perhaps but nevertheless this is a must for the found sound connoisseur and for appreciators of unusual soundscapes in general.


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