Jana Winderen, The Noisiest Guys on the Planet

Ash International, 2009

The Noisiest Guys on the Planet     Photo: Courtesy of Ash International

Quick: What’s the creepiest sound you’ve ever heard? Whatever it is, it’s got nothing on Jana Winderen’s 2009 recording of decopods scuttling about on the ocean floor off the coast of Scandinavia. Decapods—the order of ten-legged crustaceans that includes lobsters, shrimps, and crayfish—use as many as half of their appendages to paralyze and dispatch prey or, more often, to pick at the crumbling remains left behind by larger sea predators, a fact that only amplifies the grisliness suggested by the muculent chatter heard on The Noisiest Guys on the Planet. Like Roger Payne and his whale-song recordings, Winderen used sensitive hydrophones, lowering them hundreds of feet into the sea to capture the briny clamor with chilling clarity.

DID YOU KNOW: Winderen was awarded the 2011 Golden Nica—the Grammy of digital sound art; past recipients include Peter Gabriel and Aphex Twin—for Energy Field, a CD in which her decapods figure prominently.

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