The making of “Bestioles” Bugs – Time is stretching ...
thanks to Nathalie Belussi from New Zealand for the translation
The birds' point of view or commentaries about the musicians - bugs
I transfer on my hard disk the birds songs or the sounds produced by the bugs which I have either recorded or borrowed from my sound -hunter friends.
I often have to "clean" the sound-take so that the voices of my bugs are not too cluttered with noise. Then I open one of my music software; Cubase or Logic . Sometimes I just create a composition with the raw sounds but mostly I use a software tool called a sampler which allows me to create a new musical instrument.
With the keyboard I could play the flute or percussions by using different recordings of those real instruments. With the sounds of my bugs I can play the thrush or the toad - sometimes I only use a tiny bit of sound sometimes a pattern or even a long phrase. The keyboard allows me to play not only recordings of thrushes or toads but also of locusts or even of whales or of lemurs. Before, I adjust their pitch using a tuning fork.
Once my 'musicians' are set, I record with the software the piece I have been playing as you would with a tape recorder. Each instrument has its own track which I can regulate and its own place in what is called the panoramic. All that remains to do then is the mixing of all these voices......
1 : Neuf ou dix Vagues (Nine or ten waves)
Among those waves : some Crying Turtle Doves, also the Akalat with a song which is an ascending minor third (E - Gb) and the Pririt which sings a perfect descending major (G - E - C), both are African birds. All through this piece, the hoopoe provides the harmonic framework with its few notes in sequential.
2 : Ooty Ooty
In India, it is difficult to avoid the ruckus of motors, but once the rickshaws have been silenced for the night at Ooty, a little town in the mountains of Tamil Nadu, I found myself humming this soft little song with the batrachians (their name remains unknown to me) and the Shama, a bird with a slick voice, with a few interventions from a thrush.
3 : Tetra and tralala
A dance lead by the Capercaillie and the Grouse-Lyre, a couple of endangered specie of large birds living in the mountains. Some interventions from partridges, pheasants, quails and a graceful snipe.
4 : En Habit tenu (Bare dress)
Erik Satie is not very far in this piano ballad.
5 : Desert Doux (Sweet desert)
A polyphony sung by the Desert Sirli - a native bird of Morocco and Mauritania. I have left its song run its course and let it weave itself with a transposition of the same song .
6 : le Reve de l’Alyte (Alyte’s dream)
The Alyte is a little toad, it is call the midwife toad, here its sings a kind of canticle, a Golden Thrush develops its chant accompanied by the strident rhythm of a grasshopper.
7 : Cigales cymbales (Cicadas cymbals)
The cicadas play cymbals thanks to a specific and terribly efficacious instrument : the cymbals, just as they do in this martial fanfare by some Mediterranean cicadas. This piece is composed with a single sound-take (courtesy of Andre and Odile Boucher) which I have copied and placed at different pitches.
8 : In the mangroves
The repetitive sequence is borrowed from the Choucador, an african bird also called the metallic blackbird or bronze Blackbird, the melody is sung by a hoopoe, an Alyte and some crickets, the punctuations are given by a Bubu.
9 : The Petit-Duc and the Princess
This owl "Petit-Duc" paces its flutelike note with regularity and serenity, the Great Bittern plays its bass note, the Riroriro, a grey warbler of New Zealand joins in and sings a melody, intervening also are two African birds; the Babbler and the Couroucou (Trogon) and a Snipe.
This little owl's night magic was recorded by Marc Namblard.
10 : la Valse a Tui (Tui waltz)
The Tui is a bird of New Zealand, not shy at all and a bit of a clown, could be that it is drunk on nectar. It is like our blackbird: a bit of a show-off, here it throws itself into vocal performances accompanied by the plaintive cry of the Takahe, by the Mohoa, the Te Ake, the magnificent korimako (Bell Bird) and the Kakapo (all these names are Maori names)
11 : Chez Vulcain (At Vulcan's)
Ghost voices of the swamp dwellers, mixed with an African savannah ambience and concluding with some dreamlike chords from the piano
12 : la Belle Etoile (Beautiful star)
With a strange, low voice, the Eurasian Bittern, a kind of small heron, starts singing when the stars appear. "The biggest double bass delivers a less rumbling sound under the bow: it is difficult to imagine that this dreadful noise is the voice of tender love" said Buffon. A Golden thrush is singing its nocturnal melody.
13 : l’Oisivete (Idleness)
Birds are mostly active, unless they are having some fun dancing.....
14 : la Faim (Hunger)
The strange cries of young Northern Hawk Owls in the nest waiting for their meals
15 : Cygnification (Swan song, actually “becoming a swan” would be better”)
With three notes the trumpets of the singing swans are taken up by a mimetic piano.
The original sound was recorded by Noemie Delaloye in a valley full of echo
16 : Cadeau d'anniversaire (Birthday present)
Waltz sung by the Hoopoe and some crickets, accompanied by some locusts and some grasshopers.
17 : le Temps s’etend … (Time is stretching …)
This piece is a long improvisation with my musicians-instruments. Here are two Yellow Belly Toads starting this ballad with their flutelike two notes, after a few interventions from the Couroucou, an East African bird, the owl 'Petit-Duc' starts its nocturnal litany with its unique regular note, a few low sounds from the Calao, a tropical bird with a large beak, then the Notodele, an Asian bird, the plover sings its gay notes, the wolf sings a soft howl, a locust from Nepal stridulates, the Alyte, the small midwife toad, play its melody with a small note and joins the Yellow Belly Toad and the 'Petit-Duc' after some interventions from the Babbler - a bird said to be altruistic and a beautiful dancer-, A new melody is then sang by the Riroriro, an enchanting warbler of New Zealand forests, the Great Bittern then comes in to stress the bass with its low voice, the Nepalese stridulation becomes a kind of growling as it is played in lower tunes, the Gibbons utter their dreamy glissando, the Sirlis, birds from the desert enter this dream delicately. Then we can hear the call of the Plongeon (a swamp bird), a Boulboul ( Grey inged Blackbird), some crickets, a Shama, a Myna (all of them from India - one can hear also the bells attached to the camel's neck with the crickets ), and also a few cicadas from Madagascar and the much amplified 'tictic' from some termites. The piece finishes somewhat as it started with the Yellow Belly Toads, the Alyte, the Notodele and the punctuation of the plover...