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Under the Sea Ice

from Aural Shores by Christopher Luna-Mega

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"A work that conjures the tension between the environment and the animals. The musical translation of the bearded seal songs imposes for the time an emotional experience that entangles beauty and fear, external pressures with internal responses". –Joshua Jones, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Few sounds I have found to be as fascinating as those of the bearded seals from the Chukchi sea in the Arctic Ocean. My first encounter with them was a recording by Ray, Watkins and Burns. It came to me that the sounds of the bearded seals would be ideal material for strings – the constant glissandi and the high resolution microtonal nuances characteristic of seal songs can be performed by no other acoustic instruments as idiomatically. All the music performed by the string quartet derives from transcriptions of several bearded seal songs, which were generously provided to me by Joshua Jones, researcher at the Scripps Whale Acoustic Lab, University of California, San Diego. Variations of the transcriptions (mainly in pitch and duration) were based on statistics of the bearded seal repertoire from 2008-2009, included in the Jones et al. article: Ringed, Bearded, and Ribbon Seal Vocalizations North of Barrow, Alaska: Seasonal Presence and Relationship with Sea Ice. The electronics for this piece consist of a hydrophone recording of sea ice from the Chuckhi sea, also a contribution of the Scripps Whale Acoustic Lab.


from Aural Shores, released April 28, 2020
Christopher Luna-Mega, JACK Quartet


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Edgetone Records San Francisco, California

Edgetone Records is place for new music crossing the genre boundaries. Founded by musician/producer, Rent Romus, the label took shape in 1991. After being on a long hiatus Rent re-opened Edgetone in January 2000 and expanded it to support D.I.Y. (do it yourself) artists looking for a ground base and community label identity. ... more

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