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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Sun Song

Air Date: Week of August 4, 2000

The sounds of charged solar particles hitting the atmosphere and the voice of the man who records them…. set to a swirly rock n’ roll beat by producer Barrett Golding.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Solar electricity is clean, simple, and silent. But sometimes you can hear the power of the sun if you have the right equipment. Steve McGreevy has some of that special stuff. He travels around in a van recording the sound of natural phenomena. Among the sounds he's collected is the squeal of charged solar particles hitting the Earth's magnetic fields. We can see these particles sometimes, as the sheets of light streaming down in the northern sky that we call the aurora, or Northern Lights. And here's what they sound like, as recorded by Steve McGreevy, and put to music by producer Barrett Golding.

(Crackling and whistles accompanied by guitar)

McGREEVY: There's just a whole litany of different natural radio sounds to record.

(Sounds continue)

McGREEVY: Whistlers and growlers and howlers and tweaks.

(Sounds continue)

McGREEVY: Particles from the sun are hitting Earth's magnetic field and generating these noises, probably several thousand miles out in space.

(Sounds continue)

McGREEVY: It's beautiful. It's primordial. It's Mother Earth singing.

(Sounds continue)

McGREEVY: Space weather.

(Sounds continue)

McGREEVY: And it's wild. Oh, listen to this. Oh, this is beautiful.

(Sounds continue)

McGREEVY: Wow.

(Sounds continue)

McGREEVY: It's Mother Earth singing.

(Sounds continue up and under)

CURWOOD: Sun Song was produced by Barrett Golding with natural radio recordist Steve McGreevy and the sound of the aurora borealis. Music by Jeff Arntsen and the band Racket Ship. Sun Song was made possible with a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as part of the Hearing Voices series.

 

 

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