the hall of

uncommon sounds

Me, I love a good sound. A weird sound, an uncommon sound. I have a field recorder in my bag at all times so whenever I get the opportunity, I record interesting sounds. I gather those sounds here, for your perusal.

All sounds published on this page are recorded by me and I release them all into the public domain, so feel free to use them in any way you like. This is a new project; more sounds are on the way.

sounds from the botanical gardens

I work at a botanical garden and we get our fair share of unusual sounds. I try to record them when I'm able.

Epipedobates tricolor

Little, very colourful, poisonous frogs that naturally occur in the South-American rainforest. We had a couple jumping around a glasshouse for a while. The males are territorial and announce their presence by calling out, and other males reply to announce their presence in another bit of rainforest. On this recording, you hear a male near the microphone, then another male farther away, then the first male again, and then the second male again.

download (OGG, 383.4 kB)

Ice skaters on the Singel

The sound of people ice skating on the water that surrounds Leiden's old city centre, in February of 2021. You'll hear cars in the background, but if you close your eyes you'll be able to hear the ice skaters coming as the ice cracks under their weight, producing a high pitched 'pew' noise. The track is in stereo so you'll really hear them go by.

download (OGG, 5.1 MB)

sounds from borneo

I spent some time in a field station near the banks of the Kinabatangan river in Sabah, Borneo in 2016. I made a few sound recordings with my phone, three of which I reproduce here.

mysterious bird

a recording of a distant bird. I don't know very much about the birds of Southeast Asia, but maybe you do; should you know the name of the bird that sings this song, please email me or leave a message in the guestbook.

download (OGG, 566.7 kB)

clicking ant

A tiny ant that jumps by closing its outsized jaws with such force that it launches itself centimetres into the air. I am told that the tiny jaws break the sound barrier in the process; the tiny, audible sonic boom they produce would support that.

download (OGG, 14.3 kB)

vomiting monitor

We had trapped a water monitor (Varanus salvator) for scientific study, and as it was being subdued it gave up its breakfast. This is a defensive tactic; it confuses predators, smells unpleasant, and renders the animal lighter, all the better to escape. Escape it could not, but its predators were friendly scientists. Still, it seemed dissatisfied about the whole affair.

download (OGG, 37.3 kB)

machine sounds

I have a lot of fun with obsolete media technology, and among the things I enjoy are the sounds those old machines make. Here's a few.

cassette deck

A recording of an Akai GXC-710D compact cassette deck. First you hear the machine being turned on, then the cassette door is opened, then a cassette is inserted, the door is closed and the play button is pressed.

download (OGG, 447.2 kB)

cathode ray tube tv

A recording of a the high-pitched whine of a small Philips cathode ray tube television turning on.

download (OGG, 128.3 kB)

microcassette eject

A recording of a microcassette being ejected from an Olympus microcassette transcriber from the seventies. The door opens and the cassette pops out of the bay.

download (OGG, 18.9 kB)

compact cassette eject

A recording of a compact cassette being ejected from a Sunrise Personal Cassette Recorder from 1978. The eject button opens the cassette door, and when it's pressed all the way through it also pops out the cassette.

download (OGG, 17.2 kB)

answering machine beep

A recording of the beep generated by a dual cassette Benry Phone answering machine from the seventies.

download (OGG, 30.3 kB)

shutter click

A recording of three shutter clicks of a Kodak Vest Pocket Camera series III, from the 1920s.

download (OGG, 67.1 kB)