This recording was made over two days – 25th and 26th of January 2014 in Bouddi National Park, Central Coast, NSW, Australia – walking from MacMasters Beach to Maitland Bay and back. I wanted to capture the mix of surf and cicada sounds that provide such a beautiful backdrop when you hike along the coast. These recordings were made at different altitudes, in wet sclerophyll forest and up high on the cliffs. The common thread is the sound of the Black Prince – the cicada (Psaltoda plaga).
The cicada population swells to record numbers every decade or so. The insects spend seven years underground in nymph form but when they emerge at the height of summer to breed, the volume is intense. You can barely hear yourself. This summer the cicadas have been the loudest I remember since 2003. This was recorded several weeks after the volume peaked, but itâ€™s still pretty loud. You can hear the two distinctive sounds that the insects make. At around 35mins you can hear the rhythmic revving, growing louder and softer like a gentle heartbeat. Then in the loudest section about 46mins in, you can hear the intense continuous call of individual insects close-up. This bit was recorded overlooking Maitland Bay next to a tree covered in cicadas. You donâ€™t always see the little fellas when theyâ€™re chirping but here they were crawling all over the trunk and branches as they hummed. Some of the harmonics they produce sound like electronica but all Iâ€™ve added to the mix is a small cross-fade between clips.
Recorded on a Zoom H4N.