Gigafrog

On this edition of At Water’s Edge, we bring you another challenge! This is the first of a series of field recording challenges that we have put out, and it seemed appropriate to do this during high summer.

Glenn Sogge caught some lovely, dense sounds in Door County, Wisconsin, and in Troutdale, Oregon; he says of the Door County recording that it “… was one of the most intense sound baths I’ve ever experienced.” The challenge? Using only these sounds, make music. The artists could alter them however they liked, but the frog files must be the only source material used. The results were misty, mysterious, crunchy and wonderful.

The remainder of the program is devoted to froggy life by way of the RadioSpiral library.

The Challenge Tracks

“Howl” – Museleon

“The Church of Mr. Jeremy Fisher” – Skoddie

This track’s title was inspired by a classic children’s tale by Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher. Jeremy Fisher is a frog who lives in a “slippy-sloppy” house at the edge of a pond.

The track was made using granular processing in both VCV Rack as well as Granulab, along with a resonator in VCV Rack. Both VCV Rack and Granulab were manipulated in realtime, and then mixed together afterwards.

“Folded, Spindled, and Mutilated” – Glenn Sogge

[The track] uses only the first 30 seconds of my Door County recording that are then mangled in a variety of ways.

“The Condition of the Frog Is Uncertain” – Joe McMahon

frog photobombs moon launch.
A frog was sent sky-high by a rocket launching from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. Image uploaded Sept. 12, 2013. Credit: NASA Wallops Flight Facility/Chris Perry

This track takes its title from an article on Space.com, where NASA happened to capture a photobomb of a frog, poor thing, who was caught in a launch. His little froggy body is in only a single frame of the photo record, and NASA mentioned in their comments about the images that “…the condition of the frog is uncertain.”

Everything is generated by the effects; I have one track slowed down from 78 to 33 1/3, and then slowed down again by the same amount, all running through some logical guitar pedals in Garageband. So that tonal thing that starts happening about 4:00 is generated de novo from random resonances in the signal chain.

The Library Tracks

“Frogs Awaken” – Thom Brennan – Signals in Moonlight (2003)

“Frog Motor Duet” – ontol – Soldier Creek (2015)

“Toad Song” – Cousin Silas – The Snow Imposed Silence (2010)

“Lily Pond Morning” – Lily Pond Orchestra – Suite For New England (2011)

“Meditating At The Lily Pond” – Shane Morris – Etched To Fade (2015)

“Pond Life” – Thom Brennan – Mist (2000)

“The Water Shrine” – SiJ – The Water Shrine (2014)

“Pond Leaves” – Jack Hertz – Wetlands (2013)

“Sandpebbles” – John DuVal – Heavy Water (2008)

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