The Belly Of The Whale CD consists of 16 selections by composers from 10 countries, all created from the underwater calls of orcas, dolphins, beluga whales, sperm whales, humpback whales, seals, lobsters, and shrimp. The co-producers, Interspecies.com and Greenmuseum.org, compiled a sample cd of 350 animal calls and sent it out to many of their favorite electronic artists including Scanner, Merzbow, and Rothenberg. What's most compelling about this project is the thoughtful way that the artists have listened and responded — individually and as a community — to the sounds of the marine environment. Distributed by Important Records.
A midnight recording Session between an Orca and a guitarist
This audio clip is excerpted from a session between electric guitarist Jim Nollman and a pod of wild orcas. It was recorded in 1988, during one of Interspecies' annual orca trips which brought literally hundreds of people up to play music with wild whales. You can hear this, and more like it, by (below) buying Orcas Greatest Hits.
Nollman played a raga called jinjhoti through an underwater speaker, improvizing with the orca pod's calls. You can hear the whales initiating a call-and-response with the guitar to create this interspecies dialogue. In the movie Close Encounters, music is used to initiate communication with extraterrestrials. And yet it may never happen again with these same orcas. When this recording was made, the locale was still wild. Today, these same whales are constantly inundated by human noise. In the years since this recording was made, they have become much more aloof to attempts at interspecies communication. We were present during a window of opportunity, that may now be closed.
The Beluga Cafe: Book
By Jim Nollman. The Beluga Cafe (Sierra Club Books) focuses on the interface between art and nature. It is a true story of three artists creating music and sculpture in the Canadian Arctic. Unwittingly, their work puts them in a dangerous conflict with Inuit whale hunters who interpret the art as a hex created explicitly to keep the whales away. Strangely, there is merit to the accusation, because the resident population of 5000 beluga whales has indeed disappeared. Read this excerpt
During the 1980s, Interspecies sponsored over 100 musicians to attempt communication with orcas off western Canada. Our CD, Orcas Greatest Hits, contains the best interactions from the project, Musicians include pros, talented amateurs, and even an 8 year old girl. We used hydrophones and underwater speakers to build a recording studio in a boat, which was anchored, so the whales had to come to us if they were interested.
For a detailed interpretation of what occurred that night with A-6, including the story of our two decade-long Orca project, purchase The Charged Border, Where Whales and Humans Meet (Holt, 1999). Read an excerpt. Other chapters include: