Frog Pool Farm

Uno stagno fumante al chiaro di luna in una prateria del midwest, acqua scura piena di vita; fango lungo la banchina che diviene rane, ognuna dell quali tende verso la luna piena. Il loro canto frenetico e disperato, incurante dei predatori e dell’entropia li risucchia verso il fango. Si scopre allora che non sono solo le rane a cantare, ma siamo tutti nois a farlo, tutti nois in questo stagno chiamato terra.

—Program note from performance at Tevereterno Flussi Correnti Piazza Tevere 22 Giugno 2007

Listen to Frog Pool Farm (7:00)


One steamy moonlit night at the beginning of summer, I was walking home when I stumbled into what can only be described as a frog orgy. There were so many frogs that I could hardly take a step without fear of stepping on one, and they were singing so loudly that it was distorting in my ears. I had the uneasy sensation that the mud was evolving into frogs and that each one of them was desperately straining upwards towards the full moon and singing as loud as he could, “Here I am!” — without regard for whether he would attract female frogs or predators. It felt as if every living thing on earth was also struggling and reaching up towards the moon singing as loud as it could — “here I am!” — with the same desperate disregard for safety.

To make the piece, I started by making a field recording of the frogs. I extracted one chirp from the waveform and used a granular pitch shifter in Kyma to resynthesize the frogs, first at their natural frequencies and later in more complex, self-similar melodies. What you hear is a combination of sampled and purely synthetic frog songs that become more synthetic over time. A morph to and from a human whistling at the frog’s natural pitches is a metaphor for my sense of identification with the frogs. — CS