Sonar and Whales

Here is an excerpt from an article I found on Wired News. I heard about this sonar a while back, but had hoped that it would not come to this. As a person who values his ears I cannot imagine blowing other beings eardrums out…

The US Government is letting the Navy use a powerful low-frequency sonar that can detect enemy submarines but which environmentalists fear will harm whales, dolphins and other marine mammals.
Whales are particularly susceptible to sonar interference because they rely on sound for communication, feeding, mating and migration. According to the Navy, each of the sonar’s 18 speakers transmits signals as loud as 215 decibels, equivalent underwater to standing next to a twin-engine F-15 fighter jet at takeoff.
Environmentalists say, however, that with the convergence of sound waves from each of the speakers, the intense effects of the system would reach farther, as if the signals were 235 decibels.
The intense low-frequency sonar can travel several hundred miles, and the transmissions are on the same frequency used for communication by many large whales, including humpbacks.
Some biologists believe whales are irritated by sounds louder than 110 decibels and that a whale’s eardrums could explode at 180 decibels.
Environmentalists’ fears are partly based on the Navy’s deployment of a powerful mid-range sonar in March 2000 during a submarine detection exercise in the deep water canyons of the Bahamas.
At least 16 whales and two dolphins beached themselves on the islands of Abaco, Grand Bahama and North Eleuthera within hours. Eight whales died. Scientists found hemorrhaging around the brain and ear bones, injuries consistent with exposure to loud sounds.
Twelve Cuvier beaked whales beached themselves in Greece during NATO exercises in 1996 using the low-frequency sonar, but the whales decomposed before scientists could investigate.

Slap Bass

Jon came by the studio this afternoon + we recorded new bass tracks for the Euphoria2 versions of “Barcelona Nights” and “Morning Arrival in Goa”. I even convinced him to play a little 70’s funk slap bass in one section – where you hit the low note with your thumb and pull the high string up and let it slap against the fretboard. Pretty damn funky I think – had me dancing in the control room….

Last week I was talking to my friend Al, who was my product mananger at Epic Records from 1991 until 1999, when I remarked that these new remixes I am working on don’t sound like they were made by a guy over forty. Al laughed and said I should send the mixes to him, he would try to listen to them like he wasn’t fifty….

Digital Photography

Last weekend my friend Greg Gorman was in town for a gallery opening. On Friday afternoon he and I went to a friend’s house to take some photos for my next album cover. Like myself, Greg finds that the digital medium has given him a new freedom + new excitement about his art. I spend most of the time in my studio working by myself on music or edits or new mixes and likewise Greg spends time alone in his digital darkroom, printing his own photos, doing his own retouching etc.

Smaller can be more beautiful and the digital world gives us that choice – to create high quality work in a more personal way.

Euphoria Laboratory

Discovered some old audio tapes with recordings of electric guitar looping (Frippertronics) I made in 1980-82. The music has a nice, haunting quality. Amazing how, like a window in time this music brings back feelings from that period in my life. These old recordings might sound great in some of the remixes for Euphoria2 I am currently working on. Euphoria is my laboratory, my discovery chamber, my underwater observation pod….
I spent most of yesterday afternoon listening to recordings from 20 years ago and created an excerpt of one looping piece for a remix of “In the Arms of Love”.

Best of…

Today Epic Records released another “Best of Ottmar Liebert” compilation. Strange to see these compilation albums appear without me having anything to do with the selection of songs or the album cover. It is an expensive CD, too!!! I saw that they are charging $18.98 at for the CD.