Slow peepers
Slow peepers
Slow peepers [3:01 · download]

 

pond

The pond at Blue Hill

On a balmy evening at the height of spring, the peepers fill the air with a dense wall of sound. Here at the pond's edge, the intensity of the sound creates strange non-linear and non-harmonic audio artifacts within the ear — shrill tinkles and harsh squeals that mask other auditory spatial cues, leaving the listener with no clear sense of up or down or front or back or left or right.

When slowed down tenfold, as in this recording, the ear can begin to tease out the individual voices in the chorus, and clearly discern the "beats" of neighboring frogs chirping almost in unison. But even at this slower pace, the mind scrambles to piece together this alien mass of sound. It wonders: Is that chirp to my left or to my right? When does that chirp end and the next one begin? And where do I belong in this unfamiliar field of sound?