Label: No Label
the main insect featured here is the first one that drew me to another world, through its sound. a piercing high ringing frequency that seems to go on and on, often alternating with a slower, winding kind of motion, until the sound rises, peaks and drones again. some of these cycles are short, a minute or two a round, others seem to go for an hour, their winding down phase often partly silent; many play in 10 to 20 minute cycles. their song can differ from one region to the other, like dialects. their sound can be heard for miles. it’s ear-splitting loud when you’re close.
i’ve been wanting to do this piece for a long time, maybe since i returned from my first half year in thailand, early 1995. one recording herein is from then.
mostly i don’t see these musicians. many locals all over south east asia told me that these are cicadas. a few others gave other names. i never verified any further. i hear individuals and tribes, not really species. besides, there are all sorts of sonic individuals in these recordings, and i don’t think they care much about what we call them.
recorded in thailand, vietnam, indonesia and south africa, most of these are daytime sonic activities, one is nocturnal. all play in hot climates, frequently during the hottest time of day. two are desert inhabitants (kgalagadi), the others live in the humid heat of tropical rainforests.
i often wonder what goes on in these creatures when they’re playing. when they sing or stridulate, or whatever you want to call it, it’s vibration, it’s ongoing, repetitive. it’s being in the very immediate here and now. the common scientific explanation is “mating call” (another scientific favourite is “territorial call”). this may explain one of many reasons, but reasons apart from “functional” ones seem excluded.
i could imagine these singing ringing cicadas create trance states. like being high on life, ultimately immersed in the present moment and their immediate surroundings and celebrating it. maybe their sound creates altered states of consciousness also in other beings.