an audio portal to the past
and an urgent message to the future

About


Reimagining the sounds of earth’s past beyond a human scale, reconstructing the sound of extinct animals and their habitats, Echozoo connects listeners with the sounds of the distant past. Created with field recordings of living species of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects, these are digitally processed to re-create the sounds of their now-extinct relatives and recomposed into immersive audio experiences. These long-silenced voices are re-sounded and heard within an imagined soundscape of their habitats, encouraging us to hear imagined ecosystems together with these ancestors in a powerful meditation on nature and the current loss of biodiversity in our natural world.

Echozoo is an invitation to ‘hear’ the sound of the current global environmental crisis. Extinctions are quiet: they are the silencing of a species forever. As we enter into the largest extinction event since the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago, such “imaginary” listening invites us to connect with these voices of extinction, to imagine the biodiversity of the past to engage the natural world around us now. Encouraging our connection to the sounds of nature, our surroundings, and the biodiversity around us, Echozoo is a musical project with a global mission.

Echozoo Creatures

Click on the map to see extinct creatures from that region. Click the play button on the image of the creature to start the player and hear that creature and other creatures from the region



Raphus cucullatus
Dodo
EXTINCT ~1620 CE

Megaladapis
Koala Lemur
EXTINCT ~1400 CE

Bolyeria multocarinata
Round Island Burrowing Boa
EXTINCT ~1975 CE

Equus quagga quagga
Quagga
EXTINCT ~1879 CE

Hippopotamus lemerlei
Malagasy hippopotamus
EXTINCT ~1878 CE

Equus africanus atlanticus
Atlas Wild Ass
EXTINCT ~300 CE

Diceros bicornis longipes
Western Black Rhino
EXTINCT ~2011 CE

Panthera leo leo
Barbary lion
EXTINCT ~2017 CE

Aepyornis maximus
Elephant Bird
EXTINCT ~1690 CE

Ursus arctos crowtheri
Atlas Bear
EXTINCT ~1870 CE

Archaeoindris fontoynontii
Giant Lemur
EXTINCT ~-1640 BCE

Malpaisomys insularis
Lava Mouse
EXTINCT ~8000 BCE

Eudorcas rufina
Red Gazelle
EXTINCT ~1894 CE

Sivatherium giganteum
Sivathere
EXTINCT ~5800 BCE

Hydrodamalis gigas
Stellar’s Sea Cow
EXTINCT ~1768 CE

Canis lupus hattai
Hokkaidō wolf
EXTINCT ~1889 CE

Nannophrys guentheri
Gunther's streamlined frog
EXTINCT ~1882 CE

Zalophus japonicus
Japanese sea lion
EXTINCT ~1970 CE

Tapirus augustus
Giant Tapir
EXTINCT ~8000 BCE

Panthera tigris sondaica
Bali Tiger
EXTINCT ~1950 CE

Corvus corax varius morpha leucophaeus
Pied Raven
EXTINCT ~1948 CE

Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica
Pyrenean ibex
EXTINCT ~1892 CE

Equus ferus ferus
Tarpan
EXTINCT ~1909 CE

Hydropsyche tobiasi
Tobias Caddisfly
EXTINCT ~1938 CE

Megaloceros giganteus
Irish Elk
EXTINCT ~3680 BCE

Bos primigenius
Aurochs
EXTINCT ~1627 CE

Elasmotherium
Elasmotherium
EXTINCT ~34000 BCE

Panthera spelaea
European Lion
EXTINCT ~8980 BCE

Mammuthus primigenius
Woolly Mamouth
EXTINCT ~8000 BCE

Chondrostoma scodrense
Chondrostoma scodrense
EXTINCT ~2003 CE

Coregonus oxyrinchus
Houting
EXTINCT ~2008 CE

Ectopistes migratorius
Passenger Pigeon
EXTINCT ~1912 CE

Pinguinus impennis
Great Auk
EXTINCT ~1852 CE

Conuropsis carolinensis
Carolina Parakeet
EXTINCT ~1939 CE

Tympanuchus cupido cupido
Heath hen
EXTINCT ~1932 CE

Moho nobilis
Hawaii ʻōʻō
EXTINCT ~1938 CE

Cervalces scotti
Elk Moose
EXTINCT ~1938 CE

Campephilus principalis
Ivory Billed Woodpecker
EXTINCT ~0 CE

Melanoplus spretus
Rocky Mountain Locust
EXTINCT ~2014 CE

Achatinella apexfulva
Hawaii Snail
EXTINCT ~2019 CE

Ornimegalonyx
Cuban Giant Owl
EXTINCT ~7680 BCE

Solenodon marcanoi
Marcano’s Solenondon
EXTINCT ~1500 CE

Hygrotus artus
Hygrotus artus
EXTINCT ~1919 CE

Caracara lutosa
Quelili
EXTINCT ~1897 CE

Neomonachus tropicalis
Caribbean Monk Seal
EXTINCT ~1952 CE

Meiolania platyceps
Horned Turtle
EXTINCT ~8000 BCE

Pteropus tokudae
Guam Flying Fox
EXTINCT ~1970 CE

Hypolimnus pedderensis
Lake Pedder earthworm
EXTINCT ~1972 CE

Microgoura meeki
Choiseul pigeon
EXTINCT ~1904 CE

Thylacinus cynocephalus
Thylacine
EXTINCT ~1936 CE

Anatinae Thambetochen
Moa-Nalo
EXTINCT ~1780 CE

Traversia lyalli
Lyall's wren
EXTINCT ~1894 CE

Juscelinomys candango
Candango mouse
EXTINCT ~1960 CE

Littoridina gaudichaudii
Littoridina gaudichaudii
EXTINCT ~1996 CE

Incilius periglenes
Golden Toad
EXTINCT ~1989 CE

Smilodon populator
Smilodon
EXTINCT ~6000 BCE

Dusicyon australis
Warrah
EXTINCT ~1880 CE

Glyptodon
Glyptodon
EXTINCT ~4000 BCE

Megatherium americanum
Giant Ground Sloth
EXTINCT ~6500 BCE

About the Project


Designed to immerse the listener both in space and time – what composer and Deep Listening founder Pauline Oliveros (one of Reiley’s teachers) call multi-dimensional listening, “Sounds are both temporal and spatial… We are giving attention to more than one flow of sound, in parallel or simultaneously, as well as discerning the direction and context… Dimensions of sound/silence are the space created by the sound/silence, the instant of the sound/silence, the duration, the quality, the relationship between the listener and the sound/silence, the volume and location (actual and perceived).” Echozoo invites the listener to hear their own natural surroundings multi-dimensionally: listening at once to what is present, what has been lost, and the silence in between.

The brainchild of composer, sound artist and certified Deep Listening™ instructor Michael Reiley, Echozoo synthesizes many of the aesthetic and artistic core values of his work. As an accomplished field recording artist, Reiley has created a body of work around the nexus of sound art, music composition, Deep Listening and sonic ecology that he calls Sonic Photography. Developing this practice focused on the natural world during the Anthropocene, or the era of man-made climate change, as well as the Sixth mass extinction event in global history, has made the development of Echozoo an organic if urgent one.

Reiley notes “I have had a profound connection to the environmental sounds of nature and civilization through my Deep Listening, meditation and music practices. The sounds of the living world are as much a part of the fabric of our consciousness as screens, motors and iTunes. I am creating this catalog of re-imagined animals calls in an attempt to bring awareness to our present sound world and to take notice and care of the elements of that soundscape so that they can be preserved and appreciated.”

Echozoo and The Sixth Extinction


“It’s frightening but true: our planet is now in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals — the sixth wave of extinctions in the past half-billion years. We’re currently experiencing the worst spate of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural “background” rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day. It could be a scary future indeed, with as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century. Unlike past mass extinctions, caused by events like asteroid strikes, volcanic eruptions, and natural climate shifts, the current crisis is almost entirely caused by us — humans.”
-From biologicaldiversity.org

“Only humans have this incorrect notion that we are above the ecosystem. It may feel inconsequential that we will never see or hear from this or that animal again – but our entire existence is based on this ecological web. We are losing our brothers and sisters in this extinction and ultimately ourselves.”
-Michael




The Listening Experience


Echozoo is 60 portraits of extinct creatures orchestrated within immersive audio environments of their natural habitats, in an acoustic “augmented reality” overlaid upon the environmental present. The creatures re-imagined have all gone extinct within the past 15,000 years--which roughly corresponds to the Holocene, or the human-impacted era. There is also an emphasis on creatures reaching extinction since the 18th century, roughly corresponding with the industrial era in the West. The project engages species from broad range of global geographies and biodiversities, with extinct insects, invertebrates, reptiles, fish, and mammals all represented. While large animal extinctions might draw more recognition, the web of life is as dependent on the tiny insect or slug as the Mammoth or Dodo.

The soundscapes also feature digital processing of environmental sounds - to encourage us to ponder what the creatures themselves would experience sonically in their habitats, using current scientific understanding of their hearing mechanisms or capabilities. Human hearing is just a tiny range of the audible frequencies present in the environment, and many beings experience ranges far above or below our own. Further, some creatures listen through completely different mechanisms, like elephants hearing extra low frequencies through special organs in their feet, or many spiders hearing vibrations on their webs to locate food. This invitation to listen from the perspective OF the extinct creature, xeno-listening with the imagined ears of an extinct creature, promotes listening as an experience of deep and profound empathy.



Listening beyond the human...


Thus the project becomes a powerful meditation on the loss of an experience of the world, from a unique perspective on our world never to be experienced again. The resonances create space for contemplation, identification and ultimately grief, while at the same time encouraging the experience of listening beyond ourselves to the world around us. At its core Echozoo re-sounds the silence of individual and collective mortality in the Sixth Extinction; functions as a speculative history to facilitate an intimate connection with what was but is no more. Becoming a memorial both to these creatures, and the earth as we have known it until now. A call to become more mindful of the natural world around us is vital at this moment in earth’s history, when the power to alter the entire earth’s future rests so firmly in human hands.

As Reiley recounts, “the idea for Echozoo first arose in early 2012, more from a personal interest in sound, deep history and ancient geologic time; a pondering over what ancient soundscapes on earth might be like. When I began the field recording process, in 2016, just four years later, widespread awareness of the Anthropocene and Sixth Extinction event were present in the media. Now, in 2020, with the global climate strike and multiplicity of climate events in the news every day from around the world, the fundamental purpose of the project has become even more urgent, more necessary, more timely.”



About the Artist - Mikronesia


Composer and sound artist Michael Reiley (aka Mikronesia ) explores the relationship between present moment awareness, deep time and humanity’s personal connection through listening. Often creating his acousmatic works from field recordings processed and composed into multilayered, multi-textured sound worlds through a process he calls “sonic photography.” This process involves site-specific recordings of physical locations, re-imagined using digital processing techniques analogous to photographic development and collage. His aim is to reframe the everyday world both as a grand statement that stretches out in all directions of time and as an ephemeral instant of precious connection. His compositions have been strongly influenced by his daily practice of meditation, we well as Deep Listening--the integrative sound practice of composer Pauline Oliveros. In 2016 he completed a certification program in Deep Listening studying with Deep Listening pioneer Pauline Oliveros.

Over the past four years, he has been traveling at artists residencies around the world in Brazil, Iceland, Germany, Mexico, Costa Rica, Thailand, and India gathering recording for the Echozoo project and teaching with his Deep Listening and Somatic based workshop, called Listening Bodies. He is currently a teacher at the Center for Deep Listening at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He is also studying to become a certified therapeutic musician with the Music for Healing and Transition Program, which serves the ill and dying with live music for healing, or life-to-death transitioning in hospice.



Albums


Download high-quality versions of the sounds of Echozoo from Bandcamp



Thank You


The sounds were recorded in many regions from around the world. The sounds of Echozoo were created, produced and mixed during residencies at

Also the seeds of the project were planted in 2016 with an inital Hatchfund Crowd Funding campaign to finance my travels to Canada and North West US to begin the field recording for Echozoo.

Text and help with final project vision: Renee T. Coulombe

Thank you to the supporters

Darcy Lyons, Steffan Schulz, Cory Neale, James Falconi, Jason & Emmalee MacDonald, Melissa & Carl Franke, Mary Kalyna, Kevin Brown, Carla Willard, M Eckstrom, Dave Di Lullo, Es Pisarek, Zornitsa Stoyanova, Mary Niewood, Ian Nauroth, Sharon Stewart, Benjamin Warfield, Patricia McDermott & Jack Malgeri, Pearson Constantino, Brian Wainwright, Jebney Lewis, fidget, Francis Markey, Emme McDermott, Glenn Benge, mauri Walton, Richard Baybutt, Patrick O’Connor, Delia Tash, Jonathan Moniz, Robin Rosecky, Nora Gibson, Katinka Marc, Thomas Reliey, Kim Epson, William Clarke-Fields, Anne C. Cecil, Steven Peltier and two Annonymouses.

Thank you to Lake Studios Berlin for use of their space during the extensive mixing sessions, GlogauAIR for presenting and early mix of German extinct animals at the 2018 Open Studios tour and the feedback from my fellow artists during the residency. Julian Grefe for use of his studio and outboard gear for mixing. The feedback of Monica Gentile as we traveled together and as we develop the extinctionsongs concept into a dance piece. My fellow Deep Listening teachers and students, especially Sharon Stewart for giving me feedback and advice. Nora Gibson for advice and creating inspiring visuals for a preview work in progress concert in Philadelphia. William Fields, Ben Warfield, King Britt, William “Bilwa” Costa and James Falconi for mixing feedback. Katrine Faber for lending her voice and inspiration as we develop our Echozoo related “Forgotten Landscape” project. Stella Rivera for her trombone “beast” sounds. Thank you for listening.



Get in Touch


Questions, comments, insights, things you want to share? Email Michael directly michael[at]soundoflistening[dot]com

Twitter: @mikronesia


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