Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Molokai, Hawaii, and the Rolling Boulder Beach

For those who have any of the conventional preconceptions of what Hawaii is, allow Molokai to completely eradicate them. Hoping for a luau, a hula performance, nice tourist resorts, a beach full of thousands of scantily clad bodies? Don't come to Molokai.

This is not your "typical" Hawaii, and in that sense, it is the most Hawaiian of all the islands. Some might say Molokai is backwards, it's decrepit, it's too quiet, it has nothing to do. I'll take all of those as true, if you accept this: Molokai is beautiful. The setting, the culture, the pace of life, all of it. It's a rustic paradise of sorts - The coastline is rugged and deserted, the interior is part agricultural, part mountainous. There are no stoplights, and only two gas stations. There is no rush hour, and very little manmade noise overall. Compared to the other Hawaiian Islands, there is little tourism, and that's just how they like it.

And from the standpoint of a nature sound recordist and photographer, it's perfection. I could write more, and you could read more, but maybe you'd rather see and hear.

Look at the Molokai album on the Moodstreams Facebook page. Prints of these photographs are available on my photography site.

A new nature sound is available at, called Molokai Rolling Boulder Beach. A sample of it is available on the product page. Here is the description:

An island preserved in time, the rural and peaceful Molokai is not the "typical" Hawaii, and this is not your typical beach sound recording. This particular stretch of boulder beach is made of rocks that are just the right size, such that when a large wave hits the shore, the rocks can be heard clicking against each other as they roll back into the ocean. A backdrop of white noise punctuated by crashing waves makes this recording great for relaxation, meditation, or sleep.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Third and Final New Zealand Sound Recording

I'm proud to announce the release of the last of the New Zealand soundtracks on You might say it's the end of an era, because this officially closes the New Zealand chapter for Moodstreams; all the photos have been published and now all the sounds have been as well. I guess the only way to get more material is to plan another trip! Well worth looking into, in my opinion. One could spend a lifetime there and not see and hear all of its glory.

The newest sound recording, Morning on the West Coast, was actually the first one I recorded on my trip. Have I emphasized before how easy it is to record nature sounds in New Zealand? There are no planes flying overhead, no traffic noise once you leave the city, very few people, and the people that are there, mostly tourists actually, aren't up and about at the time that I make recordings, which was usually between 4:30 and 6 AM on this trip. A recordist's dream! Morning on the West Coast was recorded at a camp in a very small coastal community called Charleston. The camp has a small farm attached with some sheep and chickens. The West Coast in this case refers to the region of New Zealand's South Island that is actually quite popular with tourists and is known for its amazing beaches. But wake up at dawn, and all there is to experience in this particular camp is the cacophany of singing birds, and the crowing of roosters as they usher in the morning. As I may have mentioned before, the remarkable thing about the summer dawn sounds in New Zealand is how "structured" they seem to be. Certain species of birds start and end at certain times, like clockwork, and then by 6:15 or so, all activity seems to abruptly cease for the rest of the day. This recording captures a "slice" of that magical time period.

The complete 25-minute downloadable MP3 is available on the Moodstreams site for just $5.99.

Listen to a sample.

And here's the complete product description:
Morning on the West Coast (New Zealand)
Wake up to the busy chirping of birds on a coastal farm in New Zealand's West Coast region. This recording offers the realistic experience of being immersed in the summer dawn, as sparrows sing to claim their territories, insects buzz across the soundscape, and roosters proclaim the arrival of the first rays of the sun, as distant surf provides a backdrop of white noise. The recording goes from busy in the beginning and middle to sparse at the end, just as it happens in real life as dawn becomes early morning.

Perhaps at some point I will compile all three New Zealand sounds into a collection like I did with the Sounds of Spring, or Alaska Rivers.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Southland Dawn Chorus (New Zealand)

I'm really excited about introuducing the latest nature sound from my New Zealand trip. This one captures a sound that is unique in all the world: The melodious and haunting song of the belllbird at dawn. Check out the product site for a sample. If you don't find that sound utterly mesmerizing, then you must have grown up with a a bellbird in your backyard! But even my friend Richie, a native of New Zealand, enjoys this one.

The complete 25-minute soundtrack is available as an MP3 download at for just $5.99. Here's the product description:

Southland Dawn Chorus (New Zealand)
Waking up in the woods before dawn to the birds of Southland, the southernmost region of New Zealand, is a symphonic experience. It begins in darkness with the mesmerizing, haunting solo melody of the bellbird echoing from the treetops. As light breaks, tui and sparrows fill out the ensemble until the chorus reaches its peak. This 25-minute recording is a "slice" of dawn captured in real time, offering you the opportunity to be immersed in a soundscape that is unique in all of the world.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Help out with the Japan relief effort... and win audio products from Moodstreams in the process.

Hello Moodsies, Moodstreams is proud to be teaming up with The Earth Diet to help out with the relief effort for the victims of the natural disasters in Japan. By donating $10 or more via credit card or Amazon Payments, you will be entered into a drawing to win some great prizes from sponsors, including 3 gift coupons for audio products from Moodstreams, valued at $15 each, and 1 customized hypnosis recording from Moodstreams, valued at $109 each. Check out The Earth Diet Blog to see the donation details and what else you could win. So don't delay. Dig deep into those pockets and help out a worthy cause, and you just might be helping yourself out in the process with some great prizes.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The First of the New Zealand Sounds is Here

The first of the soundtracks from the New Zealand recording adventures has been released on It's called Shores of Lake Te Anau, and is a simple recording captured down by the water line of New Zealand's famous lake. For folks who like the rhythmic sound of waves, but don't want something as grand as the ocean, this could be the ticket.
The MP3 is available for $5.99 USD, and is downloadable directly from the Moodstreams site.

Listen to a sample

Here's the product description from the web page:
On a windy day, waves lap up onto the shore of Lake Te Anau, the largest lake in the South Island of New Zealand. This recording, made right at the water level, contains only the rhythmic sounds of the waves in the foreground and the gentle wind in the background. If you enjoy listening to waves but find the ocean a bit too "big", this could be for you. Use this recording for sleep, relaxation, or meditation.

The MP3 version of the soundtrack is about half an hour long, but you may special order a CD-R version of the soundtrack that would be one hour long.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Zealand sounds and photos are coming!

Why does New Zealand rule for nature recordists? Because it's QUIET. The quietude is profound that you can hear it, if you know what I mean. And by quiet, I don't mean devoid of sounds, but devoid of distracting artificial background sounds made by artificial sources. Read on.

Over the years, I've become attuned to every little noise in my environment, making quick little judgments about whether or not I could make a recording in the space where I find myself at any particular moment. Any place that someone might say is "quiet", I'd say listen again, and see if you can hear traffic, airplanes, an occasional motorcycle, etc. And surely enough, they'd come back and say that it isn't so quiet after all!

I listened closely while I was traveling about the South Island of New Zealand, and I can honestly say that the whole time I was in the countryside and wilderness, I never heard any planes flying overhead. A place with no flight paths? A nature recordist's dream. Even Alaska had float planes flying over every half hour.

And with so few major highways, there was rarely any traffic noise, either. And there must be some ordinance against Harleys, because they were thankfully absent.

And with no traffic, there is no rush hour! "Sweet As!", as the Kiwis would say. They're so laid back they don't even hit the roads until 9 AM.

And so with every daily 5 AM waking, I would notice, in addition to how profoundly peaceful it was, the consistency of the morning birds' routines. 5 o'clock was virtually silent. 5:15, the bellbirds started their song: Bing, bong, bing, bong, bing, reverberating through the canopy, unaccompanied by any other species. 5:30, the chattering of tui (a native songbird) and various sparrows entered the soundscape, gradually growing stronger through the 6 o'clock sunrise, and then waning, so that by 6:15 there was very little going on at all. A spectacularly short-lived dawn chorus!

Expect that I will be releasing 3 new soundtracks from my New Zealand expedition. Two will be of dawn birds; one from the West Coast, and one from Southland. And the third will be the sound of gently lapping waves on the shores of Lake Te Anau, the largest lake on the South Island.