Bernie Krause explores animalistic origins of music in sound installation at the Horniman

By Christian Engel | 02 July 2014 | Updated: 01 July 2014

Landscapes of animal sounds await visitors to the Horniman Museum and Gardens

A photo of a man standing in front of the sea wearing a pair of recording headphones
Orchestral manoeuvres in the park (and beyond) for recordist and Moog master Bernie Krause© Kat Krause
In an example of the organisation of natural soundscapes, Bernie Krause has created the sounds of The Animal Orchestra from his recordings of natural habitats in Borneo, Costa Rica, Sumatra and Zimbabwe.

“It is from this organisation that humans learned to mimic melody, rhythm and structure”, says the musician, author, recordist and founder of soundscape surveyors Wild Sanctuary.

“In other words, here is the original score – the planet’s original folk music.”

Listeners can expect to hear the sounds of animals such as the whistling thrush and the Asian paradise flycatcher, while spectograms accentuate these melodies of nature.

Krause is perhaps best known for introducing the Moog synthesizer into the workings of pop groups such as the Monkees during the 1960s, performing with the likes of Stevie Wonder, The Doors and George Harrison.

He also worked for Hollywood on the soundtrack of films like Apocalypse Now, and has devoted much of the past 40 years to recording ecological soundscapes.
Krause has archived the sounds of more than 15,000 species, half of which have since died out due to human action.

The Great Animal Orchestra Symphony - a composition by Richard Blackford which is based on the book - will receive its world premiere at the Cheltenham International Music Festival in July 2014.

  • The Great Animal Orchestra at the Horniman is in the Music Gallery Performance Space from July 27 - August 31 2014.

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