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The Project

Echzoo is a musical sonic art project imagining the lost songs of extinct animals. 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 sounds 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.

The Artist

Michael Reiley McDermott is a composer, ambient musician and sound artist. He has created works for video, dance, stage, installation, smart phones, multi-speaker arrays, wind sculptures, wishing wells and deep sleep. His practice explores the relationship between present moment awareness, deep time and humanity’s personal connection through listening. His work integrates a daily practice of meditation, Deep Listening and textured sound worlds through a process he calls “sonic photography”. This process involves site specific recordings of physical spaces re-imagined using photographic development and collage techniques. His aim is to reframe the everyday world as both a grand statement that stretches out in both directions of time and as an ephemeral instant of precious connection. Michael was recently Artist in Residence at <fidget>, Composer in Residence for Temple University’s BEEP Ensemble and is Composer in Residence at Village of the Arts and Humanities. He recently completed a certification program in Deep Listening studying with Deep Listening pioneer Pauline Oliveros.

The Hatchfund

The first leg of the Echzoo field recording and research project was generously funded by over 40 patrons on Hatchfund. This introductory version of Echozoo focused on North American creates and involved recording living ancestors of extinct creates in Ontaria (at The Ayatana Artist Research Project), Montana, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Thanks 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.

The Creatures

Below is a piece made for the Hatchfund backers. It’s a one-off creation of one of the first creatues known to become extinct by global warming.

For these piece I sought to blend the re-imagined sounds of the golden toad with an imaginary landscape of what the toad might hear. In this piece you hear a soundscape of North American frogs and toads, ambient sounds from the Amazon Rainforest as well as some subtle synthesized tones to add color and touch of poignancy as we remember this beautiful little creature.

“The golden toad (Incilius periglenes, formerly Bufo periglenes) was a small true toad that was once abundant in a small, high-altitude region about 4 square kilometres (1.5 sq mi) in an area north of the city of Monteverde, Costa Rica. It was endemic to elfin cloud forest. Also called the Monte Verde toad, Alajuela toad and orange toad, it is commonly considered the “poster child” for the amphibian decline crisis. This toad was first described in 1966 by herpetologist Jay Savage. The last sighting of a single male golden toad was on 15 May 1989, and it has since been classified as extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). “[Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_toad]

The Press

The Contact