Splice Soundscapes Mushrooms

Splice Soundscapes Mushrooms

The fungi kingdom is an entire minuscule galaxy that we’ve only begun to explore. The fascination that many mushrooms lovers posses extends well beyond the variety of fun shapes, sizes, colors, and tastes of mushrooms. Fungi have fascinating medicinal properties, cognitive enhancements, and a multitude of health benefits that have long been understood by many ancient cultures are finally becoming mainstream knowledge. Two of those mushroom lovers and extremely talented producers and sound designers, Holly Waxwing and Galen Tipton, set out to the deep wet woods of Midcoast Maine and nearby Providence Rhode Island to transcribe this fungi love into sound. 

At the core of Soundscapes: Mushrooms is first and foremost a sense of love for mushrooms, but also an exploration of how to accurately translate the visual into aural. What does an honest translation of a Red Russula mushroom sound like? The stem snaps like chalk and the gills are brittle and papery, but visually these shrooms also have a blushy red glow. Holly and Galen try to synthesize all of this visual information into an auditory portrait of each species.  

One way they did that is through the mushroom's common names, which often allude to their appearance. For instance, Reishi mushrooms are also called lacquered brackets or hemlock varnish shelves. In many cases a mushroom's texture and density (e.g. glabrous, viscid, dry, varnished, hollow) translates quite literally into the sonic properties that they used as inspiration to manipulate that Reishi’s sound. Holly Waxwing further explains the duo’s unique approach to sound design: 

“For me, there is this constant element of sensory inversion when I'm in nature that feels a bit synesthetic. I wanted to capture this sense of everything being visceral, heightened and sensorially acute in the forest. A lot of these sounds are very much a "bug's eye view" of the mushroom and its qualities. Very discreet and minute sounds like peeling the cuticle off of a porcini's cap. Galen and I wanted to place the listener at eye level with these beings.”

The end result of this translation into sound is a bubbly, intimate, colorful, beautifully weird pack with an immense amount of one-of-a-kind samples. You’ll find all types of strange percussion, fx, field recordings, synths and so much more all sound designed from mushrooms as the source material. Dig you hands into the soil and uncover a fascinating underworld of sound for your next track. 

Most of these sounds were captured using a DPA 5100 surround mic into a sound devices recorder. Additionally a Rode NTG5 shotgun mic, a RODE NT1000, and a Lom Geofon were used for underground sounds. 

435 Samples

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