On Our Radar: Soundings’ Field Recordings

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The outdoors have long been synonymous with making music. For generations, countless numbers of sing-alongs, dusty country western ballads and bohemian, folk songs have been crafted around campfires. There is something inexplicably intoxicating about making noise in nature, whether it is scaring off an unwelcome critter with hoots and howls or keeping up momentum on a long hike. These harmonies act as the soundtracks to our adventures.

Adapted from the SOUNDINGS website.

Halcyonaire, a California country and soul band, launched SOUNDINGS, a new experiment in ecological creativity. SOUNDINGS was created to bring the band back to its roots, exploring the varying frontiers and wildernesses of the physical and metaphysical. More specifically, the project is meant to document how musicians compose their environments and how their environments compose them. Unique to the needs of each expedition, SOUNDINGS teams are comprised of musicians, filmmakers, photographers and other creative explorers seeking to unearth the connections between song and place.

Here’s how it works:

1. EXPEDITION: Creators explore the geographies that inspire them.
2. HABITATION: Creators stay on location for the duration of the session.
3. COMPOSITION: Creators compose and perform on location.

The first SOUNDINGS session took place in the Anza-Borrego Desert, and was the product of 10 months of planning, scheduling, coordinating, touring, camping, driving, filming, recording, editing, re-editing and designing. It is comprised of an original song called “Star Eyes,” three exemplary field recordings performed by the band on location, a short documentary film, and a map showing the exact GPS coordinates where the SOUNDINGS were captured. The expeditionary arts required a diverse spread of support that took on various forms, including the wildcrafting spirit, sage smudge sticks and soap of Juniper Ridge, along with radical chairs by Alite Designs.

The Anza-Borrego session would have been immeasurably more difficult without all of the above mentioned and many other things. They, like good weather, permitted Halcyonaire and SOUNDINGS to do what they did. They, like SOUNDINGS hopes to show, are examples of how people can enhance the wilderness, not just threaten it. They all helped SOUNDINGS steward some wild songs from the tawny rocks, palmed creeksides and dry lake playas of Anza-Borrego.

Check out the footage from the first SOUNDINGS session, and join us as we anxiously wait for session number two!

Photos courtesy of SOUNDINGS.