Following up on the last post about Han Bennik and Peter Brötzmann: I mentioned that most animal sounds that appear on records are samples. We used multiple tracks from this disk on the Folk Implosion song Serge – they all have different characteristics. Both the tracks, and the frogs, I mean. They remind me of a night I spent in New Hampshire during which I was kept awake by an incredible racket of frogs that rose up the hill from a small pond about a hundred yards from the house I was visiting. When I called up Richard Grabel, Esquire, and told him we needed to clear some frog samples for our record, he cracked me up by blurting out, “sample your own damn frogs!” The sample was never cleared and we were never caught, even though Spin magazine published a review of this CD shortly afterwards in which they touted it as fertile ground for sample-happy DJs.
There’s an amazing passage in Tell My Horse by Zora Neale Hurston in which a character named Medicine Man tells her he can get the frogs on the other side of a nearby mountain to be quiet, after she complains about the racket they are making.
“He stood up and turned his face toward the mountain peak opposite and made a quick motion with one hand and seemed to inhale deeply from the waist up. He held this pose stiffly for a moment, then relaxed. The millions of frogs in the trees on that uninhabited peak opposite us ceased chirping as suddenly as a lightning flash. “