Wildlife Sound Recordist releases valuable audio collection for free – to amaze and inspire the world

Martyn Stewart/Nature Sounds (L); Frank McKenna (R)

One of the world’s most prolific animal sound recorders has released a large collection of his most treasured recordings of wild places to listen to for free on Soundcloud, as he nears the end of his life.

Martyn Stewart has recorded nearly 100,000 tracks, or 30,000 hours of material, spanning 40 countries, which have been used in 150 films and numerous nature documentaries. Some of them include sounds that, for now at least, can no longer be heard, because they belong to extinct animals or disturbed habitats.

The project, called Listening Planet by Martyn Stewart was released via Apple Music’s Platoon Records and aims to inspire people to appreciate, as well as try to protect, a more delicate part of the natural world – the auditory part.

A pioneer

For years, men like David Attenborough and Steve Irwin have brought intimate, personal images of wildlife and stunning landscapes into our living rooms through their television programs.

With an increase in mediation apps, 24-hour YouTube streams of sandy beaches or vibrant forests – and corresponding medical research showing that such noises are hugely beneficial to us – most people won’t know they’re have probably already listened to Stewart’s subtle contribution to civilization. appreciation of the natural world repeatedly.

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“Martyn is one of the few key recorders who helped establish the protocols and other standards that gave credibility and position to the work in the world of sound,” said Bernie Krause, soundscape ecologist and friend of Stewart, to Corryn Wetzel, writing for Smithsonian. . “Few people can match the quality of his lifelong efforts.”

Stewart was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer in December 2020, and it was in part contemplating his own passing that he decided to release some of these recordings.

Throughout his life, since he recorded his first bird at the age of 11, it was easy to record the sounds of distant places. But times are changing and the almost inevitable presence of noise pollution has made his job much more difficult.

Some of his “precious” recordings include Hurricane Dorian on a secluded beach, rain, trees and more overnight in the forests of Daintree Australia, thunderstorms in outback Australia, Denali and the Arctic Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, Dawn in Zimbabwe, a Mexican Pebble Beach, and more.

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He also captured the intimate sounds and calls of certain animals, some of which have disappeared such as the Northern White Rhinoceros and the Panamanian Golden Frog.

“Hopefully they have the connection between the sound and the animal making the sound,” Stewart said. “I think we need to become the voice of the voiceless. If we can get these wonderful sound recordings out there and allow people around the world to listen to them, maybe we can begin to protect what we have left.

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