Tucker Martine, Broken Hearted Dragonflies

Sublime Frequencies, 2004

Broken Hearted Dragonflies     Photo: Courtesy of Sublime Frequencies

During mating season in Southeast Asia, male dragonflies congregate into bilious swarms and emit deafening sheets of high-pitched tones in an effort to attract females. According to lore, the lucky ones pair up, while the spurned continue their manic shrieking until, bodies overtaxed by the effort, their chests explode and they drop lifeless to the ground. Martine traveled to Laos, Burma, and Thailand to capture the insects’ odd lament for Broken Hearted Dragonflies. It’s unsettling listening—imagine a million jet engines united in a piercing, accelerating whine—but the knowledge that what you’re hearing is perhaps the last forlorn gasp of an evolutionary lustmord makes it oddly compelling, too.

DID YOU KNOW: When he’s not traveling the world documenting exploding wildlife, Martine produces records by the likes of the Decembrists and Bill Frisell.

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