Sounds Wild and Broken: Sonic Marvels, Evolution's Creativity and the Crisis of Sensory Extinction
A lyrical exploration of the diverse sounds of our planet, the creative processes that produced these marvels, and the perils that sonic diversity now faces
We live on a planet alive with song, music and speech. David George Haskell explores how these wonders came to be. In rainforests shimmering with insect sound and swamps pulsing with frog calls, we learn about evolution's creative powers. From birds in the Blue Mountains and on the streets of Paris, we discover how animals learn their songs and adapt to new environments. Below the waves, we hear our kinship to beings as different as snapping shrimp, toadfish and whales. In the startlingly divergent sonic vibes of the animals of different continents, we experience the legacies of plate tectonics, the deep history of animals and their movements around the world, and the quirks of aesthetic evolution.
Starting with the origins of animal song and traversing the whole arc of Earth history, Haskell illuminates and celebrates the emergence of the varied sounds of our world. In mammoth ivory flutes from Paleolithic caves, violins in modern concert halls and electronic music in earbuds, we learn that human music and language belong within this story of ecology and evolution. Yet we are also destroyers, now silencing or smothering many of the sounds of the living Earth. Haskell takes us to threatened forests, noise-filled oceans and loud city streets to show that sonic crises are not merely losses of sensory ornament. Sound is a generative force, and the erasure of sonic diversity makes the world less creative, just and beautiful. The appreciation of the beauty and brokenness of sound is therefore an important guide in today's convulsions and crises of change and inequity.
Sounds Wild and Broken is an invitation to listen, wonder and act.
Publication Date: 21-Feb-2022
Publisher: Black Inc.