Happy Friday! Got something brand-new for you all today…
Although North Carolinian ecology-themed band Escaping Aghartha is more often associated with the sounds of extreme death and doom metal, they’ve just dropped an album completely consisting of mellow ambiance.
Avian is an ambient album in which each song has been crafted around the vocalization of a specific species of bird, resulting in other-worldly and deeply immersive atmospheres. The album is a celebration of the wondrous diversity of shapes, survival strategies, vocalizations, colors, behaviors of birds and their intellectual prowess.
Escaping Aghartha – Avian (Hiraeth Records, 16 December 2022)
However, Avian is also a call to action to protect these incredible creatures. Bird species around the world are threatened by habitat loss from climate change, deforestation, and development. Therefore all profits made within the first year will be donated to the Audubon foundation, to help conserve the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, a species that only exists in the southeastern US longleaf pine forests. Longleaf pine forests are amongst the most threatened ecosystems in the US and have experienced a 97% decline in the past 200 years. The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation.
More information: www.audubon.org/conservation
If you pay any attention to my writing or my online presence, you’re likely to notice that music has always played a huge part of my life (obviously), and I spend a lot of time sharing and talking about social justice issues, but my other greatest passion is birds. I try to spend as much time as I can out in nature, looking and listening for birds (in fact, in 2022 I’ve finally hit my goal of spotting 100 different species within the calendar year, smashing my previous high score of 87 in 2020). And if you are looking for engagement from me specifically (for whatever reason), the guaranteed way to do it would be by sharing photos or videos of birds.
As mentioned in the artist-provided blurb above, the Avian album is based on the sounds of different species — eight altogether. The first just happens to be my favorite local bird to hear based on its beautiful song, the Wood Thrush; actual recordings of the title critter occur throughout the track, set against a bed of serene synth sounds. Each song has a unique tone and mood, painstakingly tailored to the featured feathered friend, much in the same way as a tone poem such as The Planets Suite: to name a few examples, the croaking of the muppet-looking Potoo combines with bizarrely avant-garde rhythms, the bouncy bubbling of the Sage Grouse is paired with an eastern-tinged drone piece, while the nocturnal whinny of the Screech Owl and the mournful wail of the Loon are both given suitably haunting musical backdrops.
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