David Monacchi

Information on David Monacchi and his pieces

Fragments of Extinction - Africa’s travel report

Audio Examples and Talk


Fragments of Extinction is an ongoing research project that documents the sonic environments of the primary equatorial rainforest remaining on the planet. It was conceived as a vehicle for raising public awareness of the bio-acoustic value of our environmental heritage and the serious global issues pertaining to the loss of tropical forests and species extinction. The project aims to communicate the organic equilibrium and intrinsic beauty of the rapidly changing, primary soundscape. A full sequence of multi-channel compositions are being produced from field research in the Amazon, the Congo basin of central Africa, and the islands of Southeast Asia. These recordings are being brought back to cultural institutions (contemporary art museums, natural history museums and music venues) and played in their pure unaltered form. As three-dimensional sound portraits of a vanishing world and as electro-acoustic compositions for sonic art installations, they explore and reveal the complexity of nature through art.

For this IEM presentation, images and ambisonic recordings as unaltered excerpts will be presented as a travel report of the recent trip to the Dzanga-Sangha dense forest reserve in Central African Republic.

Echoes of a Sonic Habitat

Ambisonics Piece (8 virtual ch. version) - 11 minutes


The piece is comprised of discreet natural sounds extracted from their native environments and then transformed into a composed soundscape. The original sounds were recorded in 2003 in the Montefeltro area of Italy, around the town of Urbino. They were then drawn into a composition and spatialized in a 26-channel sound installation for the extreme, resonant spaces of the Grosser Wasserspeicher cisterns in Berlin, Germany, in 2004. The sound event was recorded onto four tracks, using two sphere microphones to record all of the acoustic reflections of the cisterns, including the traffic noise at the end of the piece when the doors of the larger cistern to the city were opened. The recording was then adapted to stereo for this CD. The composition was shaped by the acoustic responses of the three different contexts in succession, encompassing the listening space where this music will be played. The unique character of the work lies in the stratification of spaces and media superimposed on a natural soundscape. Technical Notes: The sound of insects was recorded with special hyper-directional microphones placed in close proximity to the sources, thereby isolating them from other elements of the soundscape. A database of the smallest sound gestures and patterns (corresponding to different species) was created and then used in composing a multi-channel installation. Electroacoustic drones were created through a system tuned to the ratios of a single harmonic series, and through simple ‘white noise’ played on 4 sub-woofers into the cisterns. There was no processing of natural soundscapes except for frequency shifts (which are always interrelated with their reciprocal time shifts) of certain cricket sound gestures from 1:40 min. to 3:40 min. The textures created by the natural soundscapes are the timbral result of the acoustic properties of the cisterns.

Biography David Monacchi

Monacchi’s primary research focus is recording natural sonic environments and untouched ecosystems throughout the world with cutting-edge field recording techniques to create music for sound installations, museums, and experimental and new music concerts. For nearly two decades, he has recorded in Europe, Africa, North and South America, and used the recordings as material for creating eco-acoustic compositions. His honors include the “Erato Farnesina” fellowship for the World Soundscape Project - Vancouver, the “Fulbright” Research for CNMAT at University of California – Berkeley, and prizes from the “Russolo-Pratella” competition (Italy), “Locarno Film Festival” (Switzerland), “Multiple Sound Festival” (Holland) and recognized twice at the “Bourges International Grand Prix of Electroacoustic Music” (France). His music is published by Ants Records, Domani Musica, Coclearia (IT), Wild Sanctuary and EMF Media (USA). Currently he is Professor of Electroacoustic Music at the Conservatory of Music of Foggia, and adjunct professor at the University of Macerata and the Conservatory of Pesaro - Italy.

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