Boing Boing 

Hitchcock vs. The Birds (spoiler: the birds win)

Video Link. Brosmind posted this homage to the 1963 Hitchcock classic.

(Thanks, Jeff O!)

Cantos De Aves Do Brasil

Fritsch frontjpg.jpg I recently learned that some birds have been found to be able to isolate and control different parts of their vocal tract independently, allowing them to sing simultaneous double tones or alternate between frequencies very rapidly. I'm not sure about the particular species below, but I think it's safe to say that numerous birds on this album are at least using similar 'mad avian skills' to sound like synthesizers.

Avhinado

This album, recorded by celebrated ornithologist Johan Dalgas Frisch, (and first released on the Sabia label in 1961), was once in the Top 50 of Brasil's popular record sales. President João Goulart actually gave JFK a copy when he came to visit (click on thumbnail below for photographic evidence). Talk about a country with its musical priorities in the right place!

Fritsch back.jpeg

This collection of recordings isn't readily available in the states, but if you can't track down a used LP or torrent, it looks like you can buy it from this site in Brasil.

This post is a special 'avian edition' of a series about music that disorients the senses. I've found that some of the most amazing and jarring auditory illusions are not the usual scientifically distilled or synthesized ones, they're often found in folk music and made by people's voices. Of course, in a way, it makes perfect sense - the vocal chords are some of the most complex and advanced musical instruments in existence. They are ubiquitously available, and we've been experimenting with them for longer than any other sound-making implement.

Chants Mongols Et Bouriates

The liner notes say it was recorded in: "Mongolia and Buriatia in 1967, 1968, and 1970 in the course of field work organized in the frame work of the Protocole d'Echanges Culturels between France and Mongolia, and as part of an exchange program with the Academy of Sciences in the USSR."

"In Mongolian tradition, neither music nor singing can strictly-speaking be described as specialist activities. In the past, everyone was expected to be capable of singing and playing the fiddle at festivals..."

Imitation Of The Flute (with the nose)

From the liner notes again: "The player flutes with his nose. Some air really does pass through the nose. The player's lips are slightly parted but do not move: only the corners of the mouth tremble sightly and the cheeks are tensed. This tension brings him out in a sweat. The melody comes from the movements of the tongue. Anyone who possesses this technique is able to reproduce any melody"

Both of these tracks just blow me away with how much the singers sound like birds:

Song To The Glory Of A Horse

Nostalgic Love Song

For you die-hard record sifters, the info is Vogue Records LDM 30138 (recorded in 1973). Here's a full track-listing. You might be able to download it somewhere if you peek around the internet. ;-) I call for a re-issue!

This post is part of a series about music that disorients the senses. I've found that some of the most amazing and jarring auditory illusions are not the usual scientifically distilled or synthesized ones, they're often found in folk music and made by people's voices. Of course, in a way, it makes perfect sense - the vocal chords are some of the most complex and advanced musical instruments in existence. They are ubiquitously available, and we've been experimenting with them for longer than any other sound-making implement.

Cackle Sisters

Before they were the first women to become famous on the Grand Ole Opry and the National Barn Dance, The Cackle Sisters, (also known as the DeZurick Sisters) were raised on a farm in Royalton, Minnesota. To develop their unique yodeling style, Caroline De Zurik has said they simply "listened to the birds and tried to sing with the birds."

You can hear and download more tracks on wfmu's beware of the blog. I especially love tracks like "Peach Pickin' Time in Georgia","Little Golden Locket" and "Sing Hallelujah", where they seem to hit the sweet spot between their bizarre but amazing stereo-clucks and brilliantly close harmonies.

Airplane bird strikes are now public information

3288866270_23cb40f37c.jpg The FAA has a lot of public data on air traffic safety if you know where to look for it. Last year, in response to a highly publicized bird strike, the FAA went live with their Wildlife Strike Database. The US Bird Strike Committee has had their presentations published in the science journal Human Wildlife Conflicts. Read about A decade of U.S. Air Force bat strikes, Forensic bird strike ID techniques and Suspending vulture effigies from roosts to reduce bird strikes. Not for the squeamish: the wildlife strike photo gallery.
Releasing the data was an about-face for the FAA, which refused to release the records because it felt doing so would jeopardize safety. If the information were made public, the argument went, it would discourage airlines and airports from reporting bird strikes. The agency changed its position under pressure from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who says the move is part of a larger shift toward full disclosure. "The Department of Transportation is, among other things, a safety agency," he wrote on his blog. "Public disclosure is our job. The sea change in government transparency is beginning, and we are happy to be a part of it."
See also: trends in unruly passengers. [Photo from Australian War Memorial]

music for/by the birds


French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot has created "a walk-through aviary for a flock of zebra finches, and furnished them with electric guitars and other instruments" at the Barbican Gallery. Same project, different location. [via MeFi]