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Brood X cicadas – an underground transmission

One of the great natural events of this year has been the Brood X phenomenon, in which every 17 years cicada nymphs tunnel upwards from underground and hatch en masse, in their trillions.

Brood X is one of 15 broods of periodical cicadas that appear regularly throughout the eastern United States – Andrew Wilkinson sent us this excellent field recording of the brood at their peak in Milford, a great addition to our Sounding Nature project.

City version:

The Brood X field recording was reimagined by Cities and Memory:

“The drone of the Brood X cicadas, coupled with the amazing story of how they all appear en masse without warning, brings to mind the idea of the brood as a mysterious alien force emerging from beneath the Earth itself.

“This piece imagines a broadcast transmission from Brood X to the human race, crackling out across the shortwave radio frequencies before picking up into a definitive message to humanity in the propulsive second half.

“From a production point of view, every sound here is derived from the original recording, and it was a great excuse to break out the box of tricks marked ‘tape effects, broken speakers and crackling radio waves.'”

Memory version: