Running Time:

77 min

Release Date:

May 2014

Recording Location:

Calf Creek, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

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Among the desert canyons of America's southwest, the modern world seems far removed.

In a tributary canyon, massive rock walls tower above, and the dry floor descends over rocky escarpments toward the main valley, from where a distant rush of water can faintly be heard.

The song of the Canyon Wren is distinctive of this landscape, a falling cascade of notes amplified in reverberation off the hard rocks. It is spring, and despite the arid surroundings, birdlife abounds; warblers, vireos, towhees, sparrows and finches can all be heard singing. Some choose prominent perches atop boulders, utilising the acoustic, while others call from among the scattered pinyon pines or flowering shrubs.

A hummingbird appears, whizzing past. Shortly after, it can be heard giving its shuttle songflight, a series of aerial manoeuvres accompanied by a rhythmic purr and buzz of wings.

At one point you can hear the landscape itself, when a rock dislodges to clatter and thud heavily below. Rock Wrens, another characteristic inhabitant of this country, are nesting and singing close by. High overhead, flocks of swifts chatter aloft, and ravens tumble in the thermals, alighting to call, their harsh voices evocative in the desert air.

Andrew comments:

"This album comes from a single ambient recording, made facing a great curved rockwall, in a canyon which acted like a natural amphitheatre. For nearly a week, I placed my microphones in this location, both day and night, in hopes of a serendipitous recording. Often, the wind would disturb my efforts, or the birdsong would be sparse, while the nights were largely silent. But on this sunlit morning, the wildlife and acoustics were superb.

This was also the first occasion in my life that I witnessed hummingbirds, and I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I was. Sarah describes them as '8 grams of pure delight'. I was pleased to find on this recording that they had flown within inches of the microphone, and performed their unique songflight directly overhead".

Audio sample of this album


Canyon Wren, Black-throated Grey Warbler & House Finch



The Black Chinned Hummingbird's Songflight Display



White-throated Swifts & Raven



Rock Wren


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About the audio formats


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 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: