Monday, March 23, 2015

Bug music

With dusk begins to cry
the male of the Waiting-insect; —
I, too, await my beloved,
and, hearing, my longing grows.
— from Kokinshu, by Tsurayuki (~900 AD)

Graeme Revell (once best known for fronting industrial band SPK, now probably more readily recognized for his soundtracks) produced The Insect Musicians in 1987. (I listened to a lot of experimental music in the mid 80s.)

This orchestral wall of sound consists entirely of modulated insect sounds.

I owned and loved that album, and shared it and it was lost. (All praise the Internet, restorer of lost treasures!)

The liner notes summarize Revell's concept and describe the techniques used in transforming insect "noise" into "music."

To me this album signified a world of (alien) beauty at our feet, if only we cared to look, listen.

Insects feature in Consumed, by David Cronenberg, inhabiting the left breast of the woman who as the novel opens is found apparently to have been murdered and cannibalized. The book embraces entomologists and state-of-the-art hearing technology. So this music formed the soundtrack for my weekend reading.

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