Natural Sounds of Costa Rica
From Melancholy Howlers to Violent Volcanoes
Recorded in Costa Rica and assembled at San Francisco's Earwax Productions, "Natural Sounds of Costa Rica" has garnered widespread praise among the sound community. Currently in its 7th printing (with over 10,000 sold), and available at over 250 locations throughout Costa Rica, the CD has been singled out by the likes of those at Dolby Laboratories and Fantasy Studios as one of the finest nature recordings done to date.
Conceived of as a sampler of Costa Rican soundscapes, the project became much more as its producers began piecing together the material. From the first stalagmite reverberation, it's clear this is not your typical nature CD.
"I was first turned on to the rich world of sound through nature recordings when I was young," says Andrew Roth, it's creator. "People like Dan Gibson, and his early Solitudes records, were very inspirational. However, many of the CDs out there now are somewhat repetitive or, unfortunately, of mediocre sound quality. After about 10 minutes you think, 'maybe I should put on a music disc--this is getting boring.'
"The goal was to end up with a collection of tracks which might inspire and entertain my friends and colleagues, on top of keeping their attention as well. We're all getting used to having shorter attention spans, and I kept telling myself that if I could make the CD interesting enough for the typical MTV viewer, then everyone would find something pleasurable or entertaining from it. The fact that it's also a valuable field guide to the cross section of animals of Costa Rica is, for me, a bonus.
"The result is jam-packed with enough variation, using advanced recording techniques developed specifically for this project, that I have yet to come across a single person who has discarded it after just one listening (a fate that unfortunately befalls many other discs). Also, coming from the world of audio post-production, I've found satisfaction in being able to 'design' the recordings just enough to maintain faithfulness to the original environment, while at the same time adding subtle, almost subliminal, musicality. It's commercial success has been beyond my expectations, and it's bolstered my feeling that I have much more to experiment with in this particular genre."
Some Additional Reviews and Background Information
"The Next Best Thing to Being There"
The sound quality and variety on this natural-sounds CD are fabulous. 8 sections, each 6-11 min...I took a flier on this one, usually I love international music, not nature sounds, and this is great.
--Linda Gould from Mt. Desert, ME United States (Amazon.com review)
(For) long, I've been an avid listener to ambient music and sound recordings (from Brian Eno, over The Monroe Institute, to Jeffrey Thompson)...to me each piece gives the feeling that there's been some creative effort by the makers to (form) a kind of "composition", without this getting in the way of the sounds.
--Lodewijk Coen, Graphic Designer, Belgium
Recorded using techniques usually reserved for classical music concerts rather than fieldwork, the following equipment was used in the sound gathering process:
Sennheiser MKH-70 and MKH 20 microphones, Lunatec V2 preamp by Grace Design, HHB PDR-1000 DAT recorder, and an EcoCharge 12V battery pack system