David Monacchi: “Fragments of Extinction”, the sounds of vanishing nature

With the prospect of mass extinction in the news, it seems a good time to reflect on the loss of soundscapes. In Ireland, the corncrake and the curlew were once the background sounds of daily life; now they are nearly vanished.

I have posted before about nature recording artists such as Gordon Hempton and Chris Watson who have captured soundscapes in the natural world that one hopes will not vanish altogether. I came across David Monacchi and his Fragments of Extinction project.

Monacchi records (and streams) soundscapes from the dwindling number of intact, untouched forests around the world. What makes his work especially compelling is the clarity with which he illustrates how these ecosystems have a panoply of harmonious acoustic niches, across species and genera. The best way to get a sense is this short video:


2 Thoughts

  1. This is an extraordinary project. Thank you for sharing.
    Earlier this morning, as I sat with my coffee I nearly recorded the sound of the songbird outside my patio window. She is there each morning, and today has been joined by friends. Urban soundscapes or those on the edges, like my songbird over the sound of distant traffic are wonderful in their own ways, but the clarity of the Monacchi recordings and others is striking and delightfully foreign, touching the primal within us I suppose.
    Thank you again!


    1. Thank you so much. I haven’t posted on these themes in a while. I highly recommend Gordon Hempton’s book, which is a very human scale approach to these issues. There is also a movie called “Silence” (not the Scorsese one, but an Irish/German production from a few years back about a sound recordist from the Donegal Gaeltacht and his return home from exile) which is worth seeking out…


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