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Pirol

(Oriolus oriolus)


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Natural Selections

While for many artists nature is a source of inspiration and solace, for Dominik Eulberg it’s a creative abundance of samples and melodies. No matter if it’s soothing sea waves, a cheerful bird song or winds whispering through the trees, the German native hears music where most detect nothing but noise.

Taking his fascination with nature even further, the German producer has been bridging music and nature by recording the sound of the flora and fauna and weaving it into his own productions.

Dominik’s unique aesthetic, blending acoustic and analogue sounds, has found home at Cologne-based label Traum Schallplatten ever since the release of his debut LP, “Flora & Fauna” in 2004. And since then, the creative partnership between the imprint and Dominik has given birth to two more long-players and a number of EPs and singles.

On top of Traum Schallplatten, Eulberg’s unique ear for music both in and out of the studio has earned him releases on highly-praised outlets like Cocoon and Herzblut, further cementing his techno credibility.

Music production aside, Dominik has also proven his talent for DJing and performing live over the last decade. Testifying to his mastery in the booth are his gigs at festivals like Loveland Live, ADE, Love Family Park, Awakenings Festival, Docklands Festival, DGTL Festival and venues such as IPSE Berlin, Melkweg Amsterdam, Pratersauna Vienna, Watergate Berlin, Ministry of Sound London just in the last three years.

After we streamed Dominik and Gabriel Ananda’s electrifying live set from ADE 2015, we decided to reach out to our favourite techno naturalist to learn which are his favourite natural sounds recordings.

1. The Call Of Cranes

No other bird symbolizes the changing of seasons more than the crane. With their aerodynamic V-formation, the crane's migratory movement represents the start of spring in our region upon their arrival and the beginning of winter with their final departure. A process of which is one of the most moving observations to witness, as these big, stately birds boast an impressive wingspan of 2.2 meters, yet do not fly more than 100 meters above ground, also whose dominating presence in the sky is further coupled with their signature loud, melancholic trumpeting calls. Upon a careful listen within this thundering chaos one might recognize a layer of peeping voices nestled within and hypothesize these are not produced by the cranes but by songbirds. However, these squeaky calls actually belong to younger cranes still in development, which have yet to transition to the wide-ranging vocal capacity of full maturity. The ability and formation of the crane's impressive echoing voice is due to the enormous size of their trachea, which can reach a surprising 1.6 meters in length. Cranes are well known to be extremely social by nature and form pair-bond relationships, spending the majority of their lifetime with the same partner and remain faithfully together in their family units even during migratory seasons.

2. Crunching Footsteps In The Snow

The rich sound of crunching snow has something very satisfying. As a result of the rolling of the foot, many hard transients occur quickly one after another due to the snow compression. This pleasant sound makes you feel very clearly yourself in the contemplative silence of winter. It generates together with your condensing breath and the blazing glitter of the snow, a deep, inner form of contentment and happiness, like an envoy of awareness.

3. The Drumming Of The Spotted Woodpecker

The spotted woodpecker is our most frequent species of woodpeckers. In nearly every forest one may hear his strong drumming, which is mostly performed on thick, resonant branches. Drumming sequences usually consists of 10 – 15 hits and last from a half to one second. Woodpeckers drum to communicate with conspecifics. While blackbird, thrush, finch or starling sing, woodpecker use drumming as a signal. Drumming means: “This is my territory“ or: „I am looking for a partner“. Busy woodpeckers hammer the wood with their bills up to 12000 times a day. Every beat is like a strike with 25 km/h without braking against a wall. So why the hell do they not get a headache from all this? First, their brain is covered with very little brain liquid and is anchored very stable in the skull, further they have very strong muscles which surround the skull, thereby the impact of the shockwaves which develop while drumming, do not allow the brain to collide against the inner skull. Similar to a boxer, who sees the approaching punch, the muscles of the woodpecker contract shortly before the impact on the wood and so absorb the biggest part of energy. A woodpecker additionally closes his eyes one millisecond before the strike and so protects them against flying small wood chips.

4. Rain On A Roof

What a wonderful soothing sound, as it imparts a very comfortable feeling of security and protection. At the same time, however, it also shows you how small we humans are compared to the forces of nature. It creates particularly in today's otherwise hectic times a decelerating feeling of having to wait, of holding and of devoted amazement at the forces of nature.

5. The Jarring Calls Of The Swift

The swift is a real aeronaut. This champion in aerodynamic spends nearly its entire life in the air: it is feeding and drinking there, sleeping in a glide and is even capable of carrying out pairing in dizzy heights. It covers unbelievable 4 million kilometers in its lifespan of 20 years; this corresponds to a distance ten-times earth to moon. Breeding is the only reason why swifts come back to the ground. Their body is highly adapted to the life in air: long falcate wings, short tail and flattened head, rudimental feet, which are only used for holding on the nest under buildings or in rocks and cliffs. If a swift is falling to ground, it is only a helpless crawler, because it can barely walk and needs a lot of effort to start moving on the ground. In spite of his appearance similar to swallows, the swift is not related to them, but is surprisingly rather close related to hummingbirds. With its jarring „sriih-sriih“ calls swifts spread out this magnificent feeling of summer in our cities. Then swift flocks hunt with top speeds up to 200 km/h between street canyons.

6. The Echolocation Calls Of Bats

Bats exist since around 40 million years on our planet. Opposite to birds they fly with their hands, which implies already their scientific name Chiroptera. Bats have learned to hunt and to orientate even in absolute darkness. To be able to do that, they emit sound waves in the ultrasonic range. This sound waves are reflected by objects and they can „visualise“ their surrounding so. Since these waves are mostly in a frequency spectrum of 40 - 130 kHz, they are not perceptible to the human ear. With special bat detectors you can transform them however into our audible range. What we hear then, also could be glitches and bleeps from the pen of Aphex Twin. Here first the call of the common noctule, then of the Nathusius' pipistrelle.

7. The Singing Sound Of The Swan Flight

Mute swans can reach a weight up to 23 kilograms. Therefore they belong to the heaviest capable of flight birds on our planet. It requires very powerful wing beats to get this "A380" in the air. Due to the high air drag, the air flows with a lot of energy between the stiff quill pens and causes them to vibrate. This creates a special, singing sound, which pulsates rhythmically to the flaps and swells with the Doppler effect from a distant hum to a powerful noise.

8. A Polydimensional Frogs' Chorus

Laying down on or in a lake during a warm summer night has something very mesmerizing. Hundreds of courtship display-crazy male frogs do their best, pump fervently air from the lung through the larynx into their croaking sac. This results in sound waves with a volume above 90 decibels.

9. The Cracking Of Branches In The Forest

The cracking of branches contains something ambivalent. On the one hand, the harsh attack of this sound makes us listen attentively, but on the other hand it also creates a pleasant feeling of more joyful suspense.

10. The Belling Of The Red Deer Rutting

The red deer is the largest indigenous wild animal. An adult deer can reach a shoulder height of 1.5 meters, a length of 2 meters and weighs up to 250 kilograms. Its rut begins in early September and lasts up to six weeks. At this time, the antlers of the male deer are in full glory and the testosterone level is significantly increased. With massive roaring bells, audible for kilometers, the capital males argue about the favour of the females, who may be the alpha male. All other males are now competitors. During the rutting season, the male deer assimilate barely any food and lose more than 25 percent of their body weight.