Amazon Dreams

10 tracks, 83 mins. (Compact Disc Version available here)

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AMAZON DREAMS celebrates the extraordinary soundscape heard deep in the Peruvian rainforest. By day, the towering forest is alive with the songs of tinamous, toucans, motmots, nunbirds, titi monkeys, and a host of other species, set against a rich backdrop of insect sounds. By night, the frogs and owls come into their own, gracing both forest and swamp with captivating, otherworldly sounds.

TRACK EXCERPTSplay at low volume for the most natural effect:

Detailed Track Descriptions & Map

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1. Dueling Pihas (6:32) – The loud song of the Screaming Piha is a signature sound of the Amazonian rainforest and can easily be heard hundreds of feet away (pihas also give soft, coo-like, warmup calls). In this recording, two pihas sing and call back-and-forth, presumably to define their territorial boundary. Listen also for the drums of a woodpecker, the doubled toots of a Gilded Barbet, the ur-jit of a Dwarf Tyrant Manakin in the background, and a pleasing chorus of insects. Early January, 2002. See map below for general location. © Ted Mack.

2. Deep Forest (9:48) – This beautiful and engaging chorus begins with the musical ramble of a White-necked Thrush, punctuated at times with the gently slurred whistles of an Undulated Tinamou and rapidly-repeated whistles of a Buff-throated Woodcreeper. The insect chorus is well-layered yet unobtrusive. Before long, Titi Monkeys sound off in the distance and an Oropendola (sp.?) gives hollow, gurgling calls with slow-paced regularity. Finally, one hear the prolonged, whirring churry-churry-churry of Black-fronted Nunbirds (fairly loud and close), followed by numerous harsh calls of a Yellow-rumped Cacique. Early January, 2002. See map below for general location. © Lang Elliott.

3. Toucan Sonata (5:07) – This hypnotic recording features the simple, repeated whistles of a White-throated Toucan set against a silky-smooth chorus of crickets (along with very high-pitched kaydid songs for those who have excellent hearing). Listen also for coos of Plumbeous Pigeons and the occasional liquid trills of a distant, unknown bird. Early January, 2002. See map below for general location. © Lang Elliott.

4. Tinamou Duet (8:35) – A whistler’s delight, this track features the songs of both the Undulated and Cinereus Tinamous. The Undulated’s whistle is slurred and is composed of four notes. In contrast, the Cinereus sings just a single, thin note lasting about a second. The whistled notes of an unknown species are also heard. At the low end, listen for the hollow, mournful coos of a White-throated Quail Dove, and the brief trills of a Tropical Screech Owl, the latter recognized by an accented ending. About halfway through, a group of Titi Monkeys suddenly burst into prolonged calling, such a fitting “jungly” sound of the tropical rainforest. Soon, a Tawny-bellied Screech Owl adds its resonant tooting trill to the chorus, and one hears the downward squeals of a Peruvian Warbling Antbird. Toward the end, a Scarlet Macaw (I think) suddenly appears on the scene, giving loud throaty gargles as it flies overhead and then disappears into the distance. Early January, 2002. See map below for general location. © Lang Elliott and Ted Mack.

5. Thrush Lullaby (7:43) – The lilting whistles of a White-necked Thrush dominate this recording, which is set against a rich insect chorus. Periodically, you’ll hear pair of duetting Thrush-like Wrens, their combined songs being a sudden, staccato outburst lasting several seconds. The hollows coos of Grey-fronted Doves add tone to the bottom end. Listen also for the whirring of an unknown frog (or insect?) in the background. Early January, 2002. See map below for general location. © Lang Elliott.

6. Monkeyfest (9:14) – Yet another beautiful rainforest chorus that features a variety of interesting musicians. Listen for the low coos of Plumbeous Pigeons, the musical peer-peer-peer of White-shouldered Antbird, and the rapid whistled trills of Buff-throated Woodcreeper. Another fine songster is the Purple-throarted Fruitcrow; listen for its mournful downslurred whistles. The hollow calls of a Russet-backed Oropendola soon become obvious, as do the Peruvian Warbling Antbird’s song – a unique downward series of buzzy, squealing notes. About halfway through, a band of Titi Monkeys erupt in the distance and continue calling for quite some time. As with nearly all rainforest recordings, a rich and layered chorus of insects can be heard throughout. Early January, 2002. See map below for general location. © Lang Elliott.

7. Motmots in the Drip (9:50) – In dripping forest shortly after a rainshower, a colony of Rufous Motmots erupts with simple, slow-paced hoots and periodic outbursts of excited hooting trills. Insects sing in the background, along with the high-pitched whirring of an unknown frog. Toward the end, an unknown bird gives eerie buzzing trills that drop in pitch and then rise again, alternating with its whistled song. Early January, 2002. See map below for general location. © Lang Elliott and Ted Mack.

8. Rainforest Stream (6:14) – In the heat of the day, rainforest streams offer a cool respite for the sweaty adventurer (yes, we would take off our clothes and lie happily in the water, always on the lookout for leeches, of course!). In this recording, listen for the multi-parted coos of Plumbeous Pigeons and the mournful, low-pitched notes of Grey-fronted Doves. Insects sing and intermittent bird sounds can be heard. Early January, 2002. See map below for general location. © Ted Mack.

9. Symphony at Dusk (9:34) – This is my favorite recording from our Amazon trip … a mesmerizing forest soundscape featuring Smoky Jungle Frogs (I call them “Wop Frogs”), the eerie musical whistles of an unknown bird, the periodic buzzes of cicadas, a rich and layered insect chorus, and two raucous outbursts of distant Scarlet Macaws. I’ve never heard anything quite like this amazingly immersive rainforest concerto! Early January, 2002. See map below for general location. © Lang Elliott.

10. Tinklebell Dreamdance (10:37) – We will end with an Amazonian nightscape featuring the bell-like tinks of an unknown frog plus tinkly trills from a cricket. Smoky Jungle Frogs can be heard heard in the background. The insect chorus is varied and delightful. Listen also for the soft, low trills of a Tawny-bellied Screech-owl, plus various other rainforest sounds. Relax, and let this delicate soundscape transport you to one of the most special places on earth. Early January, 2002. See map below for general location. © Lang Elliott.

Acknowledgement: Many thanks to ornithologist Devon Graham of Project Amazonas for helping us identify many of the bird and frog sounds. Devon was the “bird expert” during our trip.

Map Showing General Location of Recordings:

Map showing where Amazon recordings were made in Peru

Notes by Lang Elliott

lang_500-300x300In 2002, Ted Mack and I journeyed to the Amazon through a tour company affiliated with Project Amazonas. In early January, we flew to Lima and and then on to Iquitos, a bustling but isolated little city that is a trade center for native indians living downriver (the nearest “city” to the east is Manaus, Brazil, a whopping 1000 miles away!).

Boarding a small houseboat that reminded me of a king-sized African Queen, we motored downriver nearly 100 miles and then spent a week exploring three different forest reserves located along tributaries of the Amazon. This was the real thing, “Amazon Rainforest” at its best, pristine, unlogged, and full of wildlife. My only complaint was the humidity. I made the mistake of bringing cotton T-shirts that immediately became waterlogged with sweat whenever I set out on the trails (next time I’ll use space-age fabrics guaranteed to keep me dry).

Discomfort aside, Ted and I got beautiful recordings. Most of the time, we had no idea what bird or frog we were recording. While we’ve managed to identify many of the singers, others still remain a mystery, awaiting identification by some knowledgeable ornithologist or herpetologist who downloads this title! As for the plethora of insect musicians … who the heck could possibly identify them?

The recordings speak for themselves, or rather the rainforest creatures speak for themselves, and for the forest as a whole. Truly, there is nothing else like it on the face of the earth, and we should do everything possible to make sure it is not logged into oblivion.

Product Publication Information

Title: Amazon Dreams
Type: Pure Nature Soundscapes (stereo/binaural)
Length: 10 tracks, 83 minutes
Format: MP3 (256kbps) and FLAC digital downloads, On-demand Compact Disc
Download File Name: amazon_dreams.zip (153 megabytes); amazon_dreams_flac.zip (503 megabytes)
Date Published: February 2013
Recordists: Lang Elliott and Ted Mack
Copyright: “Amazon Dreams” © 2013 Lang Elliott, Music of Nature, All Rights Reserved (note: each track is individually copyrighted by the person who recorded the track).
Cover Photos: toucan © Laura Erickson, background rainforest scene from Shutterstock

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