In the 1960s when field recordist Mark Franklin was born, East Australian Humpback whales were near extinction. Their number have since recovered.
Using a hydrophone, Mark has been documenting the evolution of the Humpback whale song over time. Each year the whales all sing the same song ‘by heart’ and every year they modify the song slightly and so the syntax evolves. Mark has been extremely meticulous in ensuring that the exact syntax of the song is preserved. Even though as humans we cannot understand what the whales are saying, the University of Hawaii have concluded that the information content of the whale song is equivalent to human language.
This clip is an excerpt of a number of whales singing to each other, known as a 'Pleiades'. Mark has added reverb and delay effects to create a custom acoustical environment in the same way that a producer would enhance a human singer’s voice in a studio environment.