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I had the pleasure of seeing in the new year of 2010 on Pulau Langkawi, a paradisaical island situated in the Andaman Sea in the North West of Malaysia. Having celebrated the new year the night before at a beach party, I was up at the crack of dawn to witness the first sunrise of 2010. During my 6 month trip around Asia, I grew into the habit of trying to see the sun rise and set as often as possible. I find it to be a very peaceful, serene moment where I can really stop and appreciate the time as it passes by – a moment to reflect, contemplate and very often a moment to listen to nature. Sadly, since I’m back in Europe I have seen very few sunrises or sunsets.

The morning of January 1st 2010 was a very peaceful moment. The time was 7am and the area that I was staying in was completely void of human noise – no cars, motorbikes, planes, generators or music whatsoever. As I watched the sunrise, I noticed the soundscape around me was developing into something incredibly rich, so I decided to record what I was hearing.

There are a number of different layers that can be tuned in to, each of which remains complex in its own right. Initially I heard multiple layers of insects (crickets, grasshoppers and cicadas) all at different distances creating a rich chorus. Added to this, off in the distance (I think about 500 meters away), there was a group of cockerels collectively making a lot of noise. Also, about 100 meters away from where I was recording from there were many birds nesting in a tree, all of whom were constantly singing. It was the combination of these three different distinctive layers that first grabbed my attention. But almost as soon as I started recording I heard a dog start barking and howling off in the distance, adding yet another interesting element to the soundscape. And shortly after, another dog somewhat closer to where I was followed suit and began to howl at the top of it’s voice.

Some may find the dog howls to be noisy (particularly at 7am), but I honestly find this entire soundscape to be very peaceful and relaxing. I love the different layers of natural sound that all feature in the same recording. A fantastic memory of what has to be one of the best new years days I have ever experienced. I’ve mentioned this before, but maybe my impression is influenced by the fact that I was there at the time (me being the recordist), thus having additional memories of my other senses. It would be interesting to hear what others think about this soundscape…