Botania is a Tropical Garden in Joensuu, Finland. Its main task is to support the education and research of biology and forestry, but it is also a wonderful experience for the general public. For the last years it is managed by Kari Kola and is team with a very creative mindset. Artists are gathering from around the world for art, music, light installation and much more. It became a place where people can not only enjoy the beauty of plants and butterflies but socialise, create, invent.
I remember that night i went far away in the amazon forest, and i couldn't understand what sound it was, frogs, brids coming from every direction... close ! But i couldn't see 1m away. I prepare my mic setup, put the boom up 5m in the air and there i hear other sounds some vrrrr, sheeee, whoosh, very close to my mics; some bats where going crazy with the insects. Going back to the car after some hours of recordings you feel safe closing the doors behind you, like a kid going up from the cave. We turn on the light and see hundreds of frogs on the road around us.
I have the opportunity in Botania to create a soundscape on 16 speakers for an immersive soundtrack. I want to offer a sonic experience that is not only realistic but goes beyond by adding emotional layers created by my modular synthesizers inspired by the sounds i heard deep inside the forest. I want to reproduce that feeling of beeing humble down to your primate bones with all your senses awakened with excitement, fear and beauty.
For the last 10 years i had the opportunity to travel around the world and gathered some sounds from Africa, Amazon rainforest and Asian tropical forests. Working for soundtracks and movies i did all these recordings in surround or ambiphonic. Sometime i would record an interview for a corporate movie but before i would drop an autonomous setup somewhere in the forest and come back few hours later. I covered some nights, dawn, day or evening with deafening insects, or incredible birds singing magical melodies in large ambiances, or isolated sounds.
Gathering all those sounds for a 6h soundtrack covering dawn to night, i also created some close range elements such as large insects, birds, branches falling ment to be played on small hidden speakers to give the feeling of those sounds happening near you. Rain starts from a simple drop, on a leaf near you a second one all the way up to the explosion or water that tropical forest can experience.
This year i worked on the documentary The Cleaner with a magical dimension to it. I knew i would use some of those "realistic" sounds i had collected but i wanted also something deeper, magical and spiritual. So i used my modular setup. In a sense, a modular patch has something in commun with a tropical forest, it's complex interconnection of layers that relay on each other like an ecosystem. I spent days long sessions to create sounds i have heard live in those forests. These sounds are not realistic. They express the feeling of the forest. Something big, intense that instantly makes you humble in front of that gigantic sonic world. When night falls, in a world so dense as the tropical forest, with no light whatsoever, life shouts, laughs, screams. It is deafening, surprising and it is coming from everywhere.