A note to listeners: In this recording, I have made little effort to edit out the sounds of man, which make it even to what would seem to be a remote area of rainforest. There is an occasional overhead flight and small watercraft may be audible from the nearby lake. I find these disturbances to be minimal, but as part of the natural soundscape, I have chosen to leave these in.
With the sound environment around Mamori Lake as subject, this piece is about how we experience time, and the devices we use to assist in this experience.
The area around Mamori Lake, in the Brasilian state of Amazonas, is classified by the World Wildlife Fund as tropical moist broadleaf forest. More specifically, it is part of a terrestrial ecoregion characterized by flooded forests that are seasonally inundated by overflow from the rivers of the lower Amazon . Stable temperatures, consistent light, and copious amounts of water drive a relentless turnover of organic matter that supports extremely high biodiversity.
The sound environment of the tropical forest is incredibly dynamic. The actuation of millions of living things interact in specific spaces and times to produce collective sound structures at many different time scales, frequencies, and intensities. Some of the temporal structures, like the chorusing of frogs, are relatively easy to hear. But the structures at much longer durations, like the sound of day, are somewhat outside our conscious perception. We can describe in words how the sound environment of the forest evolves over the course of the day, but it is incredibly challenging to be engaged in the act of listening for this period of time.
At long timescales, our experience is perceived through memory. The "thickness" of the present moment is actually quite minimal, and is intimately tied to our physiology. The pressures of metabolism, the environment, and the temporal range of our own neural oscillations limit our ability to experience a day as a complete structural unit. We attend to shorter, more local events one at a time and then reflect on the entirety of what has happened.
All tracks are samples, excerpted from the full recording.
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