In the world of sound recordists, those specializing in natural sound form the smallest group. Among that tiny group, very few professionals stand out. And most of these will acknowledge in a heartbeat that of all the places in the world to record creature life, the Antarctic is the most problematical. Where animal life is the least dense on the planet and the weather is generally awful, this polar region provides a test that only the best recordists will survive physically, creatively, and technically. Doug Quin is one of the rare few who has mastered the elements, the equipment and the poetic sense it takes to generate the fine sound art represented here. The only way to hear the other-worldly voices of Weddell, leopard seals, and penguins underwater is with a hydrophone (underwater microphone). Previously, these creatures had been recorded many times.
But it takes that special gift of creative imagination, combined with a knowledge of the technology to p! ut together the multi-headed array of hydrophones that produced the stereo/surround events heard on this album. It didn't hurt that the weather gods smiled for Quin while on site. Just remember though, no one has used this type of stereo array in this manner before. And to create this kind of magic with natural sound takes time, enormous patience, perserverance, and a keen compositional sense to make lyrical the material heard on this album. Sounds from the Antarctic present the ultimate test.
You've never heard a compact disc like this. It's full of music and the musicians are Emperor Penguins, Weddell Seal, and their pups Wind and Glaciers. Douglas Quin is a sound recordist--an artist with a microphone. In 1996, Quin received a grant from the National Science Foundation as part of a program that sends artists and writers to Antarctica. He recorded magnificent sounds with an array of hydrophones (underwater microphones), in addition to recording some sounds above the ice. It is hard to imagine a soundscape as rich and as spectacular as the one Quin has created. --Bob Boilen