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Listening in on Antarctica

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The latest podcast from Touch Music, a British label that’s been the source of many of the best soundscape releases over the past decade, is a wonderful 45-minute radio documentary style piece from Chris Watson, who recently spent time in Antarctica.  The Disquiet blog has a nice introductory post and embedded audio, so go there to listen to Chris share his experiences in words and sounds.  His narrative descriptions of landscape and his travels (including flying into the south pole), and of course his stellar recordings of penguins, seals, and creaking ice, are well worth spending an hour with!

While pondering Antarctica, I want to also mention a recent CD release that will appeal to the science-minded among you: Andrea Polli, an educator and sound artist with a special interest in sonification of scientific data, especially as related to climate change, spent much of her time in Antarctica following working scientists around as they pursued their many fascinations.  Her CD, Sonic Antarctica was released last year on the fantastic German Gruenrekorder label; the CD is a uniquely satisfying immersion into the sounds and science of the southern continent.   Andrea’s site 90 Degrees South is also a great place to go to read and hear posts on her time there, and to view a short film she created, Ground Truth, which focuses on why  people go to remote, uncomfortable and often hazardous locations, to do what is known as ‘ground truthing.’

It seems that hooking a grant-ride on the Antarctic Express has become quite the rite of passage for many sound artists in recent years.  Doug Quin was among the first, going down in 1996 and again in 1999 to be there at the turn of the millennium. More recently,  Craig Vear, from the UK, created the most elaborate artistic response to the place with his DVD, CD, and book Antarctica: Musical Images from the Frozen Continent, which features compelling imagery, historic films, and a half-hour audio-video piece combining field recordings and spoken remembrances from Antarctic scientists.

One Response to “Listening in on Antarctica”

  1. Gruenrekorder » Archive » Review | By Acoustic Ecology Institute / AcousticEcology.org – Andrea Polli | Sonic Antarctica Says:

    […] Review | By Acoustic Ecology Institute / AcousticEcology.org […]

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