Bird Park Sessions

Bird Park Sessions
multi-species binaural soundscapes, 2020

The Bird Park Sessions album is published in BC Studies Soundworks, along with the essay “The Bird Park Sessions” in BC Studies No. 208: Winter 2020/21

The Bird Park Sessions is an album of soundscapes composed from field recordings of specific moments in local spaces. The project emerged during the spring of 2020 with the decline of my beloved canine collaborator and companion, Tom. As a way to cope with loss, I integrated listening practice into the walks with Tom and Sugi, paying attention to the local birds calling amongst the sounds of the city. This led to field recording sessions, starting with the migrating goldfinches who settled in the elm trees of Woodland Park across from my home. I recorded the rich dawn chorus of the Park in the early days of the COVID lockdown. After Tom died, I followed the calls of other birds who told stories of place in locations across southern British Columbia, spots where Tom loved to go to during summer vacations.

The soundscapes are composed using simple editing techniques to create listening experiences that depict the realism of that location, such as how a towhee at Okanagan Lake changed the phrasing of their call with the sound of an approaching vehicle on the highway, or how a single bird call pierced the sonic intensity of wind and waves at Nicola Lake. “Woodland Park Sparrow and Sirens” has a synth track I produced that blends with a recording of the birds calling along with the Vancouver port and police sirens. The most ‘composed’ soundscape is “Bird Park”, an arrangement of recordings from the  Bird Park Survival Station, a multi-species art project built on the roof of my home. This soundscape includes contact mic recordings of the local birds using the water dishes, eating and perching on the instruments in the Station.

The field recordings for the Bird Park Sessions were created using a Rode NT-SF1 Ambisonic microphone with a Mixpre 6 field recorder. Additional recordings for the soundscape “Bird Park” were recorded using contact microphones by Cold Gold Audio.