Three Recordings

I made a video, which shows what I think is a large ash tree in the corner of McCarren Park, with icy snow falling on the dried leaves of an oak tree standing just off camera.  I thought it was remarkable that the oak tree was still holding leaves, on March 1, but walking around… More Three Recordings


There is a rock jutting out of the Caribbean, rising like a castle from the steely blue water crashing onto its shores.  The lovely sandy beaches which draw crowds to the region’s surrounding islands are missing here, replaced by uninviting rock-strewn shorelines and cliff faces more suitable for nesting sea birds than sunbathing humans.  This island, the… More Saba

Wallace Point

Roaming around on the internet yesterday, a little bored at work, I discovered that today-November 7, 2013-is the 100-year anniversary of the death of Alfred Russel Wallace.  The New York Times had published a short animation depicting highlights of the explorer’s career, and another website revealed the news that Sir David Attenborough would be unveiling… More Wallace Point

The Moral Compass

What kind of blogger on sound and environment would I be if I didn’t come out of retirement to say a word or two about the arrival of the Periodical Cicada Brood II to our great northeast?  Equally obvious was that I must visit Bill Braine, my gentleman landowner friend who lives up the river… More The Moral Compass

What I Think About When I Think About Sapes, Part II

(continuing from What I think About When I Think About Sapes, Part I … ) Garawat Nulun kindly allowed me to record him playing sape and singing.  Garawat lives in Bario, a village with an airstrip located in the Kelabit Highlands.  This mountain plateau is the eponymous home of the Kelabit tribe, an Orang Ulu group… More What I Think About When I Think About Sapes, Part II

What I Think About When I Think About Sapes, Part I

Let’s begin with some song lyrics: I’m charged up, don’t put me down Don’t feel like talking, don’t mess around I feel mean, I feel o.k. I’m charged up … electricity -David Byrne, “Drugs” When I first started traveling in search of traditional music I had certain ideas regarding the purity and authenticity of the music… More What I Think About When I Think About Sapes, Part I