Darren McClure ‎– Semi

Impulsive Habitat ‎– IHab018
File, MP3, Album, 320 kbps


1 Semi 23:24


  • Photography – David Vélez, Frank Merenda


"Semi" is a recording of cicadas, made in late August in my garden. The summer had been
especially hot, and the sound of cicadas in the trees was really overpowering at times.
From absolute silence, their sounds would suddenly emerge and escalate, before returning
to silence again.

The recording is untreated, except for some filtering: the first few minutes have a high pass filter so that only the cicada sounds are allowed. Gradually, over the course of the recording, I filtered in the rest of the lower frequencies, so the street ambiance slowly bleeds in and the full sonic picture comes into view. During the final seven minutes, the cicadas cease to be heard and only that street ambiance remain.

>> Darren McClure

The sound produced by the male cicada to attract the female is so powerful that at some point it could cause hearing loss, anxiety, aggravation and high blood pressure; the sound is produced by a corrugated exoeskeletal structure called "tymbal". The sonority of the song of the cicadas has had an impact on many cultures for example in japanese cinema the sound of cicadas is often used to symbolize the hot temperatures of the summer.

The cicadas spend most of their life as underground living nymphs; finally when they reach
an adult age they dig an exit tunnel to emerge from the ground also leaving the shell that protected them during their metamorphosis. In Japan this process philosophically symbolizes a "re-birth". Cicadas also symbolize in Japanese culture "evanescence" referring to their short adult reproductive life.