MIMICRY PROJECT I
sonicbrat: CICADAS [] (Downloads coming soon)

Album: Minimalist | Experimental | Synthesis
Number of tracks: 06
Total Recording Time: 37:26

PREVIEW ALL TRACKS HERE [MP3|128kb]

A cicada is an insect of the order Homoptera, sub-order Auchenorrhyncha, in the superfamily Cicadoidea, with large eyes wide apart on the head and usually transparent, well-veined wings. There are about 2,500 species of cicada around the globe, and many remain unclassified. Cicadas live in temperate to tropical climates where they are among the most widely recognized of all insects, mainly due to their large size and remarkable acoustic talents. Cicadas are sometimes colloquially called “locusts”, although they are unrelated to true locusts, which are a kind of grasshopper. They are also known as “jar flies”.

Fascinated by these noisy little creatures for almost a decade now (from back in the army days in Brunei till now), the first MIMICRY project will be based on the Cicadas. After researching on the subject matter, I came up with a logical flow based on chronological life cycle of the Cicadas. The album was created using live electronics, sampling of objects (acousmatics) and synthesis (both digital and analogue) to create symbolic sounds, depicting the (possible) life cycle of this wonderful creature.

I shall break down each track, illustrating the source of inspiration for each track. It is entirely up to you how you want to interpret these pieces after you’ve read the information provided below.

TRACK 1: N Y M P H S

The insects spend most of the time underground as nymphs at depths ranging from about 30 cm (1 ft) up to 2.5 m (about 8½ ft). The nymphs feed on root juice and have strong front legs for digging. They stay immobile and go through five development stages before constructing an exit tunnel in the spring of their 13th or 17th year. These exit tunnels have a diameter of about 1–1.5 cm (½ in.)

TRACK 2: M O L T I N G

In the final nymphal instar, they construct an exit tunnel to the surface and emerge. They then molt (shed their skins), on a nearby plant for the last time and emerge as adults. The abandoned skins remain, still clinging to the bark of trees.

The nymphs emerge on a Spring evening when the soil temperature at about 20cm depth is above 17°C (63 F). In most years, this works out to late April or early May in far southern states, and late May to early June in the far northern states. Emerging nymphs climb to a suitable place on the nearby vegetation to complete their transformation into an adult cicada. They molt one last time and then spend about six days in the leaves waiting for their exoskeleton to harden completely. Just after this final molt, the teneral adults are white, but darken within an hour.

TRACK 3: T I M B A L

Male cicadas have loud noisemakers called “timbals” on the sides of the abdominal base. Their “singing” is not the stridulation (where two structures are rubbed against one another) of many other familiar sound-producing insects like crickets: the timbals are regions of the exoskeleton that are modified to form a complex membrane with thin, membranous portions and thickened “ribs”. Contracting the internal timbal muscles produces a clicking sound as the timbals buckle inwards. As these muscles relax, the timbals return to their original position producing another click. The interior of the male abdomen is substantially hollow to amplify the resonance of the sound. A cicada rapidly vibrates these membranes, and enlarged chambers derived from the tracheae make its body serve as a resonance chamber, greatly amplifying the sound. They modulate their noise by wiggling their abdomens toward and away from the tree that they are on. Additionally, each species has its own distinctive song.

Some cicadas produce sounds up to 120 dB (SPL) “at close range”, among the loudest of all insect-produced sounds. Conversely, some small species have songs so high in pitch that the noise is inaudible to humans. Species have different mating songs to ensure they attract the appropriate mate. The song intensity of the louder cicadas acts as an effective bird repellent. Males of many species tend to gather which creates a greater sound intensity and protects against avian predators. It can be difficult to determine which direction(s) cicada song is coming from, because the low pitch carries well and because it may, in fact, be coming from many directions at once, as cicadas in various trees all make noise at once.

TRACK 4: M A T I N G

Their short adult life has one sole purpose: reproduction. The males “sing” a mating song; like other cicadas, they produce loud sounds using their tymbals. Receptive females respond to the calls of conspecific males with timed wing-flicks, which attract the males for mating. The sounds of a “chorus”—a group of males—can be deafening and reach 100 dB. Both males and females can mate multiple times, although most females seem to mate just once.

TRACK 5: O V I P O S I T

Oviposition is the process of laying eggs by oviparous animals

After mating, the female cuts V-shaped slits in the bark of young twigs and lays approximately 20 eggs in each, for a total of 600 or more eggs. After about six to ten weeks, the eggs hatch and the newborn nymphs drop to the ground, where they burrow and begin another 13 or 17-year cycle. The carcasses of periodic cicadas decompose on the ground, providing a resource pulse of nutrients to the forest community.

TRACK 6: M A S S O S P O R A C I C A D I N A

Massospora Cicadina is a fungal disease that affects the 13 and 17 year Cicada. The fungus lies dormant in the ground for either 13 or 17 years before becoming active. It is one of the most lethal threats to cicadas. The first batch of affected cicadas makes contact with the spores underground. The fungus grows in their abdomen, causing it to fall off. The released spores have been described as a white, chalky mass. The spores then attach to another bunch of cicadas, causing them to incubate the spores and also losing their abdomens in the process. The spores from this infection then fall to the ground, where they lay dormant for the next 13 or 17 years. Interestingly, the fungus makes both males and females sterile. Affected males are not able to mate while affected females can mate but cannot oviposit.

*information on Cicadas lifted from wikipedia
Project completed