Fragments of Extinction

2019/11/24 (Sun.) 20:30
2019/11/26 (Tue.) 15:00, 20:30
2019/11/27 (Wed.) 15:00, 20:30
2019/11/28 (Thu.) 15:00, 20:30
(Duration: 16:02)
C-LAB Taiwan Sound Lab

The soundscapes of remote natural habitats are outstanding footprints of the systemic behavior of healthy ecosystems. Yet today, at the beginning of the current extinction crisis, the ‘paleo-choirs’ of the natural world are undergoing silent but real and lasting damage. The sonic structures that evolution produced over millions of years of interspecific acoustic adaptation are rapidly declining; within the near future, it may not be possible to witness them at all, in their original form. Fragments of Extinctionan interdisciplinary project founded and led by Italian eco-acoustic composer David Monacchi, is collecting, studying, and disseminating hi-definition 24-hour sound portraits of the world’s undisturbed primary equatorial forests, advocating for the importance of taking them as object of protection and patrimonialisation.

Since 1998, the author and his team have conducted field recording expeditions in tropical regions where large areas of untouched undisturbed rainforest are still present. This fieldwork has required the implementation of advanced microphone technologies for sampling the rainforest’s spatial features, pioneering for the first time the recording of high-order Ambisonics spherical soundfields in these remote, humid environments. The last expedition in one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth (Yasunì, Ecuador) resulted in 1.5 terabytes of 38-channels data describing entire circadian cycles with unprecedented acoustic 3D definition, now available for scientific investigation, permanent archiving and public playback in full-periphonic loudspeakers arrays. The piece presented for C-Lab is a collection of sound excerpts from ecosystems recorded by the author in Amazon, Borneo and Africa, where subtle compositional actions connect the habitats in a unique three-dimensional experience of the beauty and acoustic singularity of rainforests. Fragments of Extinction will be presented in the C-LAB Ambisonics dome realized with the assistance of IRCAM.

Fragments of Extinction
The sound heritage of primary forests
David Monacchi
(for more info see

primary forest habitats in sequence

note: all recordings are presented in their unaltered state – thus they are unique and pure recordings portraying the natural state of the habitat – except the last 3 minutes which features a digital exploration of the habitat with subtle compositional integrations

• 0:00 – 2:10        Amazon – Ecuador, Tiputini river area, terra firme forest habitat at dusk 7.45 pm (complex habitat: amphibians and insects)

• 2:10 – 5:37         Borneo – Brunei, Kuala Belalong area, dipterocarp forest habitat at dusk 6.00 pm (in foreground: 2 cicada species – Megapomponia imperatoria + unrecognized species during dusk with an approaching thunderstorm)

• 5:37 – 7:20        Borneo – Malaysia, Sarawak Mulu area, alluvial forest habitat at night 9.00 pm (complex habitat: amphibians and insects)

• 7:20 – 8:26        Amazon – Ecuador, Jatuncocha area, flooded forest habitat at night 10.30 pm (complex habitat: several nocturnal birds, amphibians and insects)

• 8:26 -10:00       Amazon – Ecuador, Challuacocha area, riverbank forest habitat during rainstorm 11.45 am (rainstorm)

• 10:00 – 11:35   Amazon – Ecuador, Challuacocha area, laguna habitat at 10.15 pm (several species of amphibians in close proximity from the canoe)

• 11:35 – 12:58    Africa – Central African Rep., Bai Hokou area, lowland dense forest habitat at 2:30 pm (in foreground: 2 groups of monkeys Lophocebus albigena and Cercocebus agilis. Monkeys are moving and vocalizing from high in the canopies. Then they through fruits to us in the ground to alert us of their territory)

• 12:58 – 14:15   Africa – Central African Rep., Bai Debwe area, various swamps habitats at 10:15 pm (various habitat are digitally explored and superimposed)

• 14:15 – 16:02    Africa – Central African Rep., Dzanga Bai area, saline habitat at 10:45 am (in foreground: forest elephants Loxodonta cyclotis vocalizing with the long reverberation of the Bai)    

Concept and HOA Field recordings: David Monacchi (within the long-term project Fragments of Extinction)
Composition and post-production: David Monacchi
Photos: Alex d’Emilia

Audio Format
4th order Ambisonics 25 channels – ACN – SN3D – 48Khz – 24 bits

Free admission. Prior registration is suggested and will be accepted on a first-come, first served basis.