Friday, October 9, 2009

Voices of Matsulu

Intrigued by Chris Cutler's description of it in the catalog, as a startling, electronic document, or something to that effect, I obtained Voices of Matsulu from Recommended, along with Adio Kattalina by Oskorri, Feliu i Joan Albert and perhaps one or two other albums. Produced by Estonian Radio for the nature preserve, Voices of Matsulu was recorded by biologist Fred Jüssi between 1976-1979 and released on the Soviet Label, Melodiya in 1982.

This makes for an interesting contrast with the recording of birds in Venezuela, which was posted here by reservatory awhile back, but has its own beauty with moments of surprising drama. As I don't yet have scans, I've copied the English portion of the liner notes below. For more information see

Matsulu Bay is situated on the west coast of the Estonian SSR and it is one of the places richest in birdlife in the Baltic area. Observations of birds began to be made here already in 1870. The rich bird population is due to the existence of unique habitats. The more characteristic of these are reed-beds (3.000 ha), the water-meadows of the Kasari River (4.000 ha), coastal meadows and pastures, and islands in the sea.

For the protection of the peculiar nature of the area a state nature reserve was set up here in 1957. The Matsulu State Nature Reserve was included in Group A of ornitological reserves of all-European importance in 1962, and in 1975 it was accorded the status of a wetland of international significance (48,643 ha). 126 species of birds nest in the reserve and a total of 259 species had been observed here by the autumn of 1979. Matsulu as a whole is a veritable pearl of Estonian nature.

This record includes a selection of sound pictures typical of the reed-beds, water-meadows, seaside pastures, and islets of Matsulu. While making the recordings the author spent unforgettable days and nights under the skies of the nature reserve. Hence the wish to convey to the listener not only the sounds of Matsulu, but also something of its beauty.

1. Whooper Swans 1:36

2. Reed-beds 17:12
a. Midnight in the reed-beds (Spotted Crake, Bittern) 1:35
b. Great Reed Warbler (Tufted Duck, Redshank) 0:49
c. Reed Warbler 1:03
d. Sedge Warbler (Curlew) 1:17
e. Savi's Warbler 1:31
f. Reed Bunting 2:09
g. Black-headed Gull 2:13
h. Black Tern 1:06
i. Moorhen 1:22
j. Water Rail 2:08
k. Starling 1:41

3. Water-Meadows and Coastal Pastures 9:39
a. Midnight of Water-Meadows (Reed Warbler, Corncrake) 1:35
b. Corncrake 1:23
c. Marsh Warbler (Cuckoo, Garden Warbler) 2:13
d. River Warbler 0:47
e. Grasshopper Warbler 0:48
f. Barred Warbler (Blackbird, Thrush Nightingale, Corncrake) 1:51
g. Blacktailed Godwit 1:03

4. See Isles 6:38
a. Spring morning on See islet (Oystercatcher) 3:40
b. Caspian tern 1:04
c. Common Gull, herring gull 0:55
d. Greenfinch, Oystercatcher, Barnacle Goose, Redshank 0:57

5. Crane 2:32

download |Vinyl rip | .Flac | 162.3 MB


gidouille said...

I made a few passes at this to get it as clean as possible, but ...

Anonymous said...

wildlife never is clean, so i appreciate this also with vinyl noise - and one always has to face the fact that this is quite old, and most probably never re-released. cutler sure has a great taste to follow ... same like gidouille's! :D

Godard said...

gidouille many thanks for this, I love recordings like this of distant wild places, although the avifauna I'm well familiar. I've seen all the birds recorded on this recording, and actually handled a fair few of them also!

gidouille said...

Lucky, I did some click removal, or lessening anyway, but Audacity's ability in this regard is limited. Have you ever used Soundsoap? It supposedly can isolate and remove noise without affecting signal, but I don't know if the cost is worth it.

Godard, interesting, have you visited this particular preserve?

Godard said...

Sadly not gidouille, although this is my line of work, hence the reverberations :)

Anonymous said...

gidouille, i've never paid for a program, and also use audacity to digitize vinyl records. as fan of christian marclay i'm not only tolerate clicks, cracks or pops, but find them charming in their own rights. but i confess sometimes i also delete heavy pops on otherwise clean vinyl - zoom in and delete the pop alone is rarely audible afterwards.

reservatory said...

THANKS for another lullaby of birds. Your rip sounds fine to me. Like Lucky, I use Audacity now and then, zooming in to cut out worst clicks. Removed six or seven BAD ones on the Venezuelan bird post...

gidouille said...

Lucky, if you find clicks and pops charming, you would have loved my first pass at the See Isles track. It had this static click buzz that reacted to all the transients to the degree it sounded almost like counterpoint. It made me think of Can, unable to get rid of the tape hiss at the beginning of Future Days, they decided to boost its volume to make it an integral part of the music.

Anonymous said...

nice story about can, didn't knew that - and it's the only way to deal with technic in an artful way, i think.

neonwhales said...


mario said...

It's funny. I have this LP for exactly the same reasons as you ... I was tempted by Chris Cutler's description in his ReRe mailorder catalogue many years ago ... it's nice to discover another person who went through the same educational process. I have no regrets.

x0x said...

I'd love to hear this. I remember the entry in the ReR catalogue. But the link is down. Any chance of a re-up, please?

gidouille said...

x0x - I'm generally not re-upping files on this blog, but for this one I've made an exception. The download link has been updated and the files are now lossless rather than mp3. I probably won't be leaving this up for too long so grab it while you can.

reservatory said...

Thanks so much for putting this one up again, even for a brief moment. I somehow lost my download from eight [!] years ago and promise to take better care this time. Best wishes to you!

gidouille said...

You're welcome, Reservatory, and best wishes to you as well.