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Birdsong in Yellowstone Park

Birdsong is often one of the most inspiring field recordings for Cities and Memory artists to use as source material, and the birds of Yellowstone were no exception. Come with us on a tour of the chirping birds of Yellowstone, as we reimagine the sounds of bluebirds, cranes, loons and killdeer.

First up, listen for the low chirp of a mountain bluebird in the Lower Slough Creek Valley of Yellowstone Park in this recording.

City version:

Daryn Brown’s reimagined version is a beautiful piece of ambient electronica – he writes:

“I treated the original sound three ways. I isolated the birdsong from the background noise and stretched it 400%.

“I put the birdsong audio through a filter/gate which made a percussive texture. I converted the birdsong to midi which gave me a rhythmic pattern to assign other sounds too.

“I’ve always found birdsong inspiring but what came out of this recording was a total surprise.”

Memory version:

Next up, common loons make a series of tremolo calls on Yellowstone Lake.

City version:

These calls form the centrepiece of Alan Bleay’s upbeat, driving techno reworking, constructing an intricate little electronica track from the loon’s song:

Memory version:

Here’s a killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) chorus near Anemone Geyser on Geyser Hill in the Upper Geyser Basin of the park.

City version:

Christina Wong was inspired by this birdsong recording to produce a fragile, piano-led reinterpretation, as she explains:

“I let the piece sit with me for almost a month before I approached it. I researched images of the location of the recording and of Yellowstone National Park for inspiration.

“I knew I wanted to incorporate sounds from the field recording so it had an “ebb-and-flow” feel to it, much like the movement of the geyser itself. So with these things in mind, I finally sat at the keyboard and played what came to me.

“With those first few chord progressions, I knew that was the direction I wanted to go and I let that guide me for the rest of the piece.

“I also knew I wanted the piece to be some sort of ode to not just the park, but to nature in general, and perhaps, to serve as a reminder for us to do what we can protect it for future generations.”

Memory version:

Finally, let’s listen to a dozen cranes feed and splash in a marshy area in Lamar Valley. One bird flaps its wings and appears to chase another bird; the powerful wing beats can be heard before two birds begin to call.

City version:

Out of a beautiful sound like this, Leon Muraglia generates chaos:

“Slowed down 320,000 times, we can actually hear, for the first time, what some have suspected – that cranes are planning to overthrow the human race and take over planet earth.

“Recorded audio was processed using outdated but comfy software – no external sounds were added. And no cranes were harmed.”

Memory version: