Charlie FOX | CA |




Entophony - Study 9



"Entophony – Study 9" My early experiments with multichannel surround sound location recording included a series of recordings at Grasslands National Park, Canada, in Summer 1999. I went to Grasslands NP with the intention of recording the call and response of coyotes across the wide Frenchman River Valley: the background sounds in the valley included bird calls and the subtle buzz of insects. Once the new, super sensitive microphones I would use in these early experiments were ready for a listen, I put on the headphones: I was suddenly immersed in a world of riotous sonic interaction between multitudes of insects. These first recordings had a resolution only within the range of human hearing. However, looking at the graphic waveform representations of the recorded sounds, it was notable that the insect sound levels remained steady, right up to the cut-off point of the sound recorder’s highest frequency. Higher resolution recording that would come a few years later enabled exploration of the sounds beyond this “brick wall”. Beginning summer 2006, a series of multichannel surround sound recordings were made of insect sounds in patches of the natural, unbroken Saskatchewan, Canada prairie of the Dirt Hills (Avonlea area) and the Big Muddy. These newer recordings would have a resolution that included ultrasonic sounds – high frequency sounds beyond the range of human hearing, up to 50 kHz (fifty thousand cycles per second). In the studio, the insect sounds were isolated from all other sounds (birds, coyotes, farm machinery, aircraft overflights, etc.). Then, the sounds created by the insects within the range of human hearing were eliminated: only their ultrasonic sounds remained. These specific sounds were then pitched-down (-2 octaves to -5 octaves) into the range of human hearing, which made the sounds play at a speed that was 2 to 5 times slower, but now audible to you and me. You will hear some sounds that seem familiar as prairie insect sounds. Other sounds are quite unique – as strange as they may sound, none are artificially altered, except for the change in pitch. The pitch-shift downwards of the multichannel recordings also increases the perceived space between each insect, giving broader insight into the many different sources of these unique sounds. From that first moment of discovery in 1999, listening in on the busy world of prairie insects, I was reminded of the pulse and activity of human urban environments. For this version – Study 9 - of the Entophony series, a video track has been included that contains urban imagery (captured in New York City, 2010), referencing that first moment of discovery. This work becomes a synthesis of the sounds of insects with a visual representation of humanity’s lived environment, reflecting on aspects of complexity, similarity and variance existing across activities of living creatures going about their lives on our humble planet.




"End of Winter" Multichannel soundscape for contemporary dance production, New Dance Horizons, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina & National Arts Centre, Ottawa 2015
"House of Chow Mein" Periphonic soundscape for contemporary dance production, New Dance Horizons, Performing Turtle Island conference, Regina 2014
"Sara Riel: The Long Journey" Soundscape for contemporary dance production, New Dance Horizons, presented in Regina, Vancouver, Edmonton (2015) & Winnipeg (2015) 2013
"Entophony" Multichannel audio/video installation, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina
"End of Summer, Orange Leaves Falling" Multichanel soundscape and projected video elements for contemporary dance production, New Dance Horizons, Regina 2011
"BirdVoice" Collaboration with Erin Gee, Live performance w/multiple video projection and multichannel sound, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina 2010 Visiting Artist Presentations & workshops, Music Faculty, Hirosaki University, Japan
"Wildurban" Soundscape installation, EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, Calgary (in place to Aug 2011
"Multichannel Field Recording in the Wild" Panel Chair & presenter, AES 40th Conference Spatial Audio, Tokyo University of the Fine Arts 2009
“Wildurban”: una instalación multicanal de un ambiente sonoro com arte público Soundscape presentation, public lecture and publication, Foro mundial de ecología acústica, Fonoteca nacional, Mexico City