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Orchestral Movements in the Rural Dark

A field recording by Glenn Sogge

Glenn Sogge calls it a “Night Song.” At 24 minutes in length, it’s closer to a Night Symphony. In addition to that length, the piece’s varying phases suggest orchestral movements in a manner that would do acoustic ecologist and composer R. Murray Schafer proud. What it is is a continuous, nearly half-hour field recording made in Troutdale, Oregon, two days ago, at 11pm on February 3. It is rich with insect noise, dense with layers of oscillating mating calls — or as Sogge calls it, in a brief accompanying note: “Another late winter evening in the country.”

If Sogge’s “Night Song” were in fact a symphony, it would be singled out in the program notes for electronic additions that set it apart from the traditional repertoire. In this case those sounds come in the form of passing cars, at first odd signals barely evident in the mix, but gaining speed and presence over time, and of the gargantuan arrival late in the piece by a jet airplane, the swoop of that massive, singular presence a telling contrast to the sheer mass of insects underfoot.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/glenn-sogge. Sogge notes in his bio: “#Collab and #remix are always welcome. All material is downloadable and covered by a Creative Commons license.” So do have at it.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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