Ode to a dead deer

February 1, 2007 10:12 PM

Out of sheer curiousity I set a sound activated recorder on the flank of a road-killed deer on the Monida pass - directly in between Idaho and Montana on I-15. I was fully engaged in my summer work of road construction, the year was 1999. I saw a murder of crows assembled, making plans to have this poor deceased deer for dinner. I was curious to hear if crows spoke differently between themselves from the regular crowspeak between us and them. Though this may not be 'music', I found it to be one of the most surreal and interesting things I'd put to tape. The sounds of slow-motion bullets you hear are heavy trucks passing. The crows speak for themselves.

posted by isopraxis (14 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

Mental. It could be combined with some actual music and the effect would surely be interesting. But it stands by itself. I like seeing things like this around here, thx for posting it.
posted by micayetoca at 6:24 AM on February 2, 2007

I love how the truck noise is slow to activate the recorder. Very jarring, very surreal. Nightmare noises.

The birds coming in in the last third is such a fascinating change of pace.
posted by cortex at 8:01 AM on February 2, 2007

Wow, this is so interesting. I love it. What technology were you using? The recording sounds so crisp.
posted by Milkman Dan at 8:21 AM on February 2, 2007

It was a cheap mono microcassette recorder with voice activation that I'd borrowed from a friend. I was pretty astonished with the results. I like the way that primitive little machine bent the sounds.

I'd like to turn bits of this recording into proper stereo samples - map them to multiple channels with proper pan and make them into music.

I'm glad you like.
posted by isopraxis at 9:17 AM on February 2, 2007

Yeah, the "bending" of the sounds combined with the permanent sort of hiss gives it an eerie feeling that sets the mood for when the crows do their thing. You should definitely pay around with it and post it again.
posted by micayetoca at 10:52 AM on February 2, 2007

Really interesting. I've done a lot of field recording using sound activated recording, but, as mentioned above, this is more nightmarish than my results (of course, the recorder was never near roadkill). Great stuff.
posted by sleepy pete at 11:00 AM on February 2, 2007

Very intense. That whole feeling of waiting for the next 'shazoom!' from a truck, not knowing when it will be... Grizzly but gripping.
posted by Captain Najork at 11:10 AM on February 2, 2007

I've been around alot of crows, in fact there are some just a little way from me now, and I never heard them "talk" like that. This is amazing, thanks for posting it. It's wierd how we're listening in on something that we're kinda not supposed to hear.
posted by snsranch at 3:15 PM on February 2, 2007

So freaking intense. Wow.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:03 PM on February 2, 2007

That is really pretty great. I'm amazed that the micro casette recorder did such a good job. Some day I'd like to get into field recording for musical use... this is another reason to think about that.
posted by edlundart at 8:37 PM on February 2, 2007

I'd like to join the chorus of admiration here for this bit of environmental sound documentation: it's GREAT! Interesting how it intensifies and highlights the essentially violent nature of the internal combustion engine and high-speed rubber on the road. And indeed, those crows don't sound anything like the ones that live by the thousands here in Tokyo: I hear them all the time, but I reckon they're a different variety. Plus, the ones here are living off garbage from Japanese households and restaurants, not fresh road kill, so I guess their dinner conversation is different as well. You are what you eat, as they say...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:34 AM on February 4, 2007

i haven't heard a track in a while that so brilliantly paints a visual landscape, while capturing a world of voices to which humans usually lack access. otherworldly, but eerie how close to all of us this is. thank you.
posted by garfy3 at 5:00 PM on February 6, 2007

This is insanely intense. Also, it makes me think about the power of the story that surrounds a recording. So, what if the whole thing was simulated by foley artists and electronic effects, and there was no deer, crows or trucks? Or what if you played it for a group of people before telling them the scene?
posted by umbĂș at 6:58 PM on July 26, 2008

thanks for this; it's creative as hell :)
posted by February28 at 8:20 PM on July 31, 2008

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