Running Time:

79 min

Release Date:

October 2012

Recording Location:

Kolombangara Island, Solomon Islands, Western Pacific
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The Whistlers of Kolombangara

The song of the Golden Whistlers of the Solomon Islands is one of nature's marvels.

This recording takes you to the island of Kolombangara to experience their melodic, rhythmic (and very loud!) voices reverberating through the rainforests that cloak the island's volcanic flanks.

We begin with a hypnotic chorus of frogs and insects filling the tropical predawn.

Suddenly a Golden Whistler breaks the calm with an exuberant ripple of sound that sends a shiver up the spine. From then on there's no stopping him, as he pours out a sequence of rhythmic melodies at high volume.

As the morning moves on, the Whistlers ease back, and a variety of birdsong filters down from the forest canopy - Lorikeets, Mynahs, Flycatchers, Hornbills, White-eyes, Pigeons, Cockatoos - along with the gentle buzz of diurnal insects.

With the afternoon, we hear one of the other unusual voices of these forests; the  growls and booming calls of the Buff-headed Coucal.

A Whistler gives some last calls as the light begins to fade and the electric vibration of dusk cicadas fills the air. After dark, the forest is filled with frogs once again, this time a multitude of chiming 'Koni' frogs.

Andrew comments:

When we arrived on Tetepare Island, Sarah asked our local guide Twomey; "What is your favourite songbird?" He replied without hesitation - the Golden Whistler. As it turned out, we didn't hear them on Tetepare while we were there. Our second destination was Kolombangara Island, and once again, when we met our local guide, Moffat, his favourite was… you guessed it.

When we heard our first Golden Whistler, we knew why. They are just spectacular. We found ourselves tapping our feet as their percussive songs filled the forest.

Whilst the Whistlers are the show-stealers, we've conceived this album as a sound portrait of the Kolombangara forests, from dawn to nightfall.

So much rainforest has been logged in the Solomons, that Kolombangara's protected forests are now a remaining treasure, filled with rare and unusual creatures and sounds. It is one of the wildest and most pristine environments we have travelled to.

This is a recording to sit down, maybe with headphones, and immerse yourself in.

Andrew introduces the Golden Whistlers of Kolombangara:

Audio sample of this album

1.

Before the Dawn: Elegant Sticky-toed and Eyelash Frogs

15.15

2.

Dawn: The Golden Whistlers Sing!

16.46

3.

Morning: Birdsong of Kolombangara's Rainforests

19.43

4.

Midday: The Buff-headed Coucal

4.09

5.

Late Afternoon: Golden Whistlers and Yellow-faced Mynahs

5.39

6.

Dusk: Cicada Chorus and Imperial Fruit Pigeons

12.41

7.

Evening: Chorus of 'Koni' Frogs

5.26

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About the audio formats

Mp3:

Mp3 is a universal audio format, playable on iPods, computers, media players and mobile phones.

Mp3 is a compressed format, allowing smaller filesizes, offering faster download times and requiring less storage space on players, but at some expense to the audio quality. Many listeners can't really hear the difference between mp3 and full CD-quality audio, and hence its convenience has lead to it becoming the default option for audio.

Our albums are generally encoded at around 256kbps (sometimes with VBR), balancing optimal audio quality without blowing out filesizes excessively. We encode using the Fraunhoffer algorithm, which preserves more detail in the human audible range than the lame encoder.

Our mp3 files are free of any DRM (digital rights management), so you can transfer them to any of your media technology. You've paid for them, they're yours for your personal use without restriction.

Mp3 files can be burned to disc, either as an mp3 disc, or an audio CD after converting them to a standard audio (.wav or .aif) format first.

FLAC:

FLAC is a high-quality audio format, allowing CD-resolution audio. It is ideal if you wish to burn your files to a CDR, or listen over a high resolution audio system. However files usually require special decoding by the user before playing or burning to disc.

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is a LOSSLESS compressed audio format. This means that it preserves the full audio quality of a CD, but optimises the filesize for downloading. Typically, file sizes of around 60% are achieved without any degradation or loss of audio quality from the source files at the CD standard of 16bit/44.1kHz.

Obviously the file sizes are larger than for the mp3 version - usually around 300-400Mb for an album, compared to 100Mb for an mp3 album.

In addition, you'll need to know what to do with the files once you've downloaded them. In most cases you'll want to decode the files to wav or aiff, either to import into programs like iTunes, or burn to CDR. Some programs will play flac files natively.

There is a lot of information about flac online (eg: http://flac.sourceforge.net/)