Bill Fontana (b. 1947)



Field Recordings (1983)

  1. The Mating Dance of Sage Grouse near Mammoth Lake California (5:22)

  2. Multi-Channel Recording of a Woodpecker and Other Birds on a Lake in the Adirondack Mountains (6:44)

  3. Spring Peepers in the Adirondack Mountains (4:30)

  4. Birds along a Rivers Edge in a Chaparral South of Monterey (5:23)

  5. Waves Breaking on Rocks along the Northeast Australian Coast (8:22)


Total time 42:51
LP released by Sierra Club, San Francisco, CA, 1983

Just like Bill Fontana‘s sound installations often displaced sounds from one location to an other (like Kirribilli Wharf, 1976 ; Brooklyn Bridge, 1983 ; Golden Gate Bridge, 1987), the recordings on this LP transplant environmental sounds into the listener’s home, thus creating the feeling of estrangement typical from Fontana’s other works.

As opposed to other field recordists like Paul Schwartz, Jean-C. Roché or Boris Nikolayevich Veprintsev, Fontana obviously used a number of microphones and careful studio mixing to achieve a wide soundstage and complex, multilayered soundscapes. As a consequence, in these field recordings, some sounds seem to come from far away yet are heard very clearly – in #2, for instance. Somehow like in Michael Snow’s film La Région Centrale, the spectator is afforded a 360° view of the landscape, as well as an incredible level of details. In this regard, these field recordings sound like no other. -- Continuo