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Thirst (2008)  
    Sonic collaboration with poet Dominique Hecq  
    Thirst - Prologue (3' 23")  

Introduction to collaboration by Dominique accessible here
Full poem (11') also available on audio cd


The field recording I contributed to our collaboration was made one early evening in late summer in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. The greengrocer [Cyclochila australasiae] is a common cicada that has successfully adapted to the suburbs of both Melbourne and Sydney on the south eastern seaboard of Australia. The calls produce a natural enveloping soundscape throughout the city streets during the hotter months. The song they sing is a continuous, loud call that can reach 120 decibels, the pain threshold for human hearing. This particular cicada is singing at the end of the hot season, and is at the end of its adult life. This is quite apparent in the audible struggle that the cicada is having while trying to sing its last few songs of life, its last calls for a mate.

For the Chinese the cicada is symbolic of the afterlife - rebirth and immortality. I made a recording once in a park in Hong Kong where the senior citizens gathered in the heat to practice tai chi, music and singing - and above them high in the trees the cicadas created a sonic landscape. It was a lovely event to witness, the elderly gathering beneath such loud, persistent symbols of immortality. It happens every morning during the summer. There is also a traditional Chinese burial rite where jade cicadas are placed on the tongue of the deceased - perhaps for a loud voice in the afterlife, I'm not sure.



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