Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Syntonic Research Inc. - Environments: Dawn & Dusk at New Hope, PA (1987 compi, rec. '69-'70)

Another series of fascinating recordings that the blogworld introduced me to was the Environments records.  Taped in the field, on the seashore and elsewhere throughout the 1970s, these pioneering environmental recordings were all the work of one man, Irv Teibel, operating under the name Syntonic Reseach Inc.  In the late 80s, Atlantic compiled three CDs from material released on the first three LPs - the seashore one, the bell tones, and this one.

I'd been hunting around for a copy of the New Hope CD for a while - seems to be scarcer these days than the other two CDs - and finally managed to get hold of one a few weeks ago that wasn't going for an insane price.  So here it is - two half-hours of pure natural sound, unchanged for thousands of years, just waiting to be captured in June 1969/August 1970 by Teibel and his trusty 4-track Uher.

From the sleevenotes:
"Dawn at New Hope recreates the aural environment of a beautiful morning in late spring, complete with magpies, owls, crows, doves, woodpeckers, insects and geese.
Dusk at New Hope, recorded [a year and] two months later at the very same spot, contains a superb recording of night insects in stereo syncopation. On the right channel, you have nearby crickets. On the left channel, you have distant mixed insects."
New Hope Pennsylvania faces onto the Delaware River with New Jersey on the other bank - I've never been, but thanks to Google I can now take a virtual stroll around.  Picked a random starting point here - fittingly for both the album and the name of this blog, there's definitely some geese.

Dawn & Dusk at New Hope, PA

Update - couple of links I've been sent:

A really great, detailed website all about Teibel/Environments 

 and a lengthy Pitchfork piece - fascinating reading!

Update Feb. 2018: Environments, the app! 


  1. I love this kind of stuff even though New Hope, PA is probably now filled with fracking wells and the wildlife not as alive as it used to be. According to the article you link to (thanks) Teibel also took part in film scoring with avant-garde violinist Tony Conrad and his wife Beverly. The blurb from the back of the original LP claims that speeding the record up to 45 rpm or down to 16.5 rpm can "dramatically alter your respiration, heartbeat and metabolism".

    1. Yeah, that's what I love when reading the discogs scans of the original LPs, all the great ideas they had like suggesting you play them at any speed (IIRC there's actually a heartbeat record!). We kind of lost that in the CD era, but at least it's fairly easy to do with mp3 files on the right software.

      "The future of music isn't music".... beautiful tagline, worthy of John Cage.

  2. I've been to New Hope many times. It's a bit of a tourist trap, but still a very nice little town. Across the river is Lambertville, NJ, which I find more "live-able" than New Hope.

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Mr. Burns - also the Loon album, wonderful sounds.
    Just discovered your blog, many jewels hidden in the well (Kientzy, Dumitrescu, Neuhaus/Cage...).


  4. This was great also those article on Irv Teibel. I never knew much about this series, most people seem to think they're fluff. I see one ever so often at garage sales. I'm going to have to start buying some if I see other ones in the series.