An unusual field recording for you today – bat sounds recorded by Tenali Hrenak in the Dhammayan Gyi Buddhist temple in Bagan, Myanmar.
Pascal Savy has taken a deep dive into the location in which the bat sounds were heard to produce a dense and impressive recomposed sound:
“The inspiration for this track came from looking into the history of the temple in which the original bat sounds were recorded, and a legend about King Narathu, who claimed the succession of Bagan throne by murdering his father and his brother.
“Legend had it that the King felt guilty for what he did and was so worried about bad karma that he had the Dhammayangyi Temple constructed to gain merit and redeem for the sin of killing his father and elder brother. According to legendary tales, King Narathu supervised the construction himself. He set the rule that workers would have their arms chopped or even be beheaded if they the brickworks were not perfectly fit without a gap between two given bricks.”
“Some people believe the temple is now haunted and say many of the interiors have been bricked up to prevent ghosts from roaming the corridors. true or not, what’s sure is that the temple is now full of bats flying all over the interior.
“My track is somehow an evocation of the damned soul of Narathu trying to return to the temple to repair his deeds and i used the sounds of the bats as a metaphor for the suffering inflicted by Narathu on his family and his people.
“Technically speaking I only used sounds derived from the original file – no additional synths or samples from sound external sound banks. I started by EQing out the sounds made by people visiting the temple to only keep the bats.
“I then transposed the file (pitch shifting) and slowed it down thus generating new sound files. I also loaded the original EQed file into a hardware sampler and extracted some new sounds from it.
“finally I used a granular synthesiser to produce new textures derived from the sound of the bats. Once I had all those soundfiles ready, I loaded them up in Ableton and improvised with them until this piece emerged. I didn’t use any external effect except for some artificial reverb in order to give some extra depth to the sounds.”