Forest Drizzle – Binaural Soundscape Meditation Podcast (please listen using headphones or earbuds). Narrated by Lang Elliott. Soundscape recorded 15 May 2016 in Finger Lakes National Forest near Trumansburg, New York. © Lang Elliott.
Hi all! I have finally made the decision to re-boot my podcast and I’m considering my options. The long podcasts that I published near the beginning of my western trip last spring took way too long to produce … several days at the least. Given that I’m not being paid to create podcasts, I’m trying to figure out if there’s an easier way.
In this post, I’m presenting one possible approach to podcasting that would save me time, and that is to focus on binaural soundscapes, providing brief narrated introductions followed by at least several minutes of “pure nature”. If I take this approach, it will become far easier for me to generate new podcasts … at a rate of one or more per week without interfering with other work I have to do
This approach might be met with acceptance. Do any of you old-timers remember Robert Lurtsema’s popular Pro Musica radio program produced at Boston’s WGBH radio station? He started off each weekly program with about 5-minutes of pure nature sounds without narration. People loved it, even though he played the same recording every time. So maybe there’s hope?
In addition, I’m not at all convinced that long, complicated podcasts would be any more popular. In fact, “short and sweet” might be more palatable for the average listener. One question, though, is whether or not podcast listeners will don headphones (or earbuds) to experience the amazing 3D effect of binaural soundscapes. If listened-to using small speakers (such as those that come built into computers, or even speakers in cars), many of my most immersive soundscapes will be unimpressive. But if one listens through headphones, they truly come alive and one is effortlessly transported out into the dimensional natural world.
Let me know what you think of this strategy. If I produce a lot of these, will they be appreciated and will they be effective in drawing people into the magic of it all? I hope this approach works because it dovetails with other projects I’m working on, such as the creation of a mobile App that will feature my most immersive and healing binaural soundscapes … with the intention of helping people relax and chill-out, even if working in noisy environments.
Is the future bright for spacious binaural soundscapes presented as part of podcasts? I sure hope so, because I have worked hard and traveled widely for years in order to assemble an impressive collection of really, really wonderful environmental recordings.
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Wow! I put my earbuds in and was immediately transported to the forest with its magical sounds and smells. The woodpeckers made me smile!
Thank you for this!
I absolutely love this! I live in NM now where I don’t get many days like this and it takes me back to when I lived in NJ. It’s fabulous, I love also listening to your narration. I’d love for the recording to go longer, it’s just so soothing to listen to! Great job Lang!
Sandy: I’m going to replace it later today with a longer version!
I’m so happy! Keep up the excellence Lang, I look forward to it and to all you do.
Thank you! I love this and think the narration is perfect as is in length and content. Very beautiful recording! Longer would also be nice, as someone said below, maybe 15 minutes. Fun surprise from the left near the end made me smile. So grateful for nice headphones. I do want to say that your longer podcasts were amazing. Thank you.
Thank you Cynthia for your comments. I’ve tweaked the Forest Drizzle to be ten minutes long and I might consider lengthening it further (the recording itself does last 15+ minutes). I also intend to start producing some long-form podcasts again, to see if I can cut down the time spent to one day for each. One thing’s for sure … I’m now moving forward with podcasting and will work hard to find define my niche.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this! Thank you. My favorites. Soft rain, woood, trees, mist, beauty. THANK YOU!
Thank you Mary Ann!
On a day when the temperature is 2 and the wind chill is -20 this recording is a soothing and welcome reminder of a soft spring soundscape! Perfect format.
Thank you John!
Listening to Spring as winter winds swirl snowy banks – amazing. I’d go with less narration as well.
Maybe this would make a fun downloadable phone tone – perhaps a new product for you?
Mare: Less narration seems like a good idea, but what should be cut? Given that this is a “podcast” without any textual support, I need to identify myself and point to my website, plus set the stage for the recording (= provide an imaginative title plus a visualization of habitat and key content) . So how do I make it shorter without removing something critical? Also, I include a statement about the recording being binaural and aimed for headphones listeners. I can remove that, but then new listeners won’t pick on that unique aspect of my podcast. There are very… Read more »
Yes, I like this. I appreciate you going out into nature when I can’t. Big fan. Keep these coming, Lang.
I like this very much. A couple of constructive comments:
1- Keep the narration to 30 seconds or less; let nature speak . . .
2- Please provide a way to see the image in full screen. I would love to listen and see the image on my iMac.
Rich Pack (bamboo-water)
Richard: I don’t know how to reduce narration to 30 secs and still give my name, my website, the title and the little blurb on wearing headphones. The intro alone takes up 25 secs. Then I devote 40 secs to the prose description. If I only include the description, I don’t get any branding credit, so the intro has to be there in some form. So … how would you do it so that it only takes up 30 secs? As for the image, be aware that this will be a podcast distributed through podcast aggregators and not accompanied by… Read more »
Lang, I think your new format concept is ideal. For busy working people, short and sweet is often what we must stick to. By the way, I use Spotify and was so glad to find your recordings there…hopefully more are on the way!
Aleta: My recordings are on Spotify? Just my podcasts, I presume?
There is one album, Songbird Portraits, that comes up, I think because Ted Mack is active with Spotify. I didn’t see the podcasts. At any rate, it is now a very popular medium for many people to access their favorite artist’s albums and songs, and might be a worthwhile venue for you to be active in.
This is stunning!
First of all your picture is quite clear and with a great deal of depth.
Then you add the sounds and of course we have been ‘there’ at some time if we are old enough and that brings me back anyway to a stunning memory!
Glad to hear that you like it Mark. I hope to produce more podcast “experiments” over the next few weeks in my attempt to figure out which styles are worthwhile pursuing. It was fun doing a simple meditation-type presentation (quite easy to pull off), but I would also like to tell more involved stories even though they take a lot of time to put together. And then there’s the matter of “where’s the money in podcasting?” … a question that I don’t have an answer to. Wish I was independently wealthy.
very nice… Spring in the forest is my favorite time and place. I can imagine the wildflowers in bloom all around. I live just up from a lovely wooded area. It’s cold there now, but the thought of spring keeps me going. Thank you
Marietta: The thought of spring also keeps me going. I actually begin thinking about spring in early autumn.
I love to photograph wildflowers… then in the winter i put on relaxing music and play slideshows of my pictures. I love instrumental music with nature sounds… i also love to write…mostly about nature.
I had an audio tape of Dawn Chorus, the extended version of Morning Pro Musica’s intro, and was disappointed it wasn’t made into a CD. I searched on and off for a long time for something similar, and then found your work, which definitely reminds me of it. I have your Birds of Dawn set for that reason. I love your recordings, and can easily use them as a meditation background. I don’t know if you know about the app Insight Timer. It’s a free meditation app with hundreds of free meditations. There are over 3 million registered users, and… Read more »
Ah … a Lurtsema fan! Funny you mention Insight Timer. I have it on my iPhone but only the free version. The nature sounds aren’t very sophisticated, but at least they include them. I have no idea how they are able to give all the guided meditations away for free, but they’re probably masters of gaining access to free content on the web, via the app.
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I have missed these! I wanted to replay again and again. I like your brief introduction narratives, BUT, I also really like Pamela’s idea of incorporating affirmations or such.. I want to use your beautiful recordings for meditating and listening to while making my pressed botanical art. Does this sound like an App would be best for me? I think I should check out Soundcloud? I haven’t heard of it. Thank you for your work, I think we all need your recordings!
Mary Lou: The app will be perfect. It will include automatic looping and you’ll be able to do playlists or else random play. Be sure to check out my SoundCloud channel here: https://soundcloud.com/musicofnature
Dear Lang. I think it is a great idea. It will be nice to hear your work on a weekly basis. I really love this recording, the sound of rain and birds is a favourite of mine, something very calming and peaceful about it. Fintan.
Fintan: Glad you like it. I’m preparing a longer version and I also plan to cut down the narration a tad.
I actually like the narration as it is and hope you won’t shorten it.
It is the perfect length to allow me to connect, and and the sound of your voice accompanied by the woodland chorus calms my spirit.
I love this! Looking forward to more recordings.
Thanks for letting me know … maybe I’ll leave it as is!
Must listen through headphones or earbuds — it’s the only way to go. Thank you for bringing sunshine to my day. The future is bright for spacious binaural soundscapes in our specious human environment.
Thanks Steven, and I received your longer response via email. I’m taking it all to heart and encouraged and quite willing to refine this particular approach.
I enjoyed it very much, esp. since we’re in the middle of a blizzard. I long for the sounds of spring! I think 10-15 minutes would be a nice length for a relaxing meditation.
Well there you go … yet another person wanting more of the nature sounds. Perhaps I’ll repost this podcast with a much longer sample after the voice. I think the field recording is quite long enough to do that.
Hi Lang. About your question, as much as I WANT to say “all audio, no narration, please,” I think you are right. A brief (maybe stressing the word, “brief,”) narration at the beginning might be in order, to set the tone and location. I think that people will be more interested in regularly checking your new podcasts out this way. But at the same time – you have a great narration voice! Very soothing. Like nature, in fact. You know what would be REALLY cool as a regular podcast? A minimum (hopefully) of 10 minutes of nature sounds, along with… Read more »
Pamela: Thanks so much for your comments. Just to be clear, my podcasts are meant for the podcast world, where there is no textual backup (as in this blog) … so the audio alone has to hold up. Hence the need for some measure of narration. Be aware that I’ll still be posting long recordings without narration, both here on my blog and also on Soundcloud (I will of course include textual description in both places). Thank you too for mentioning that you like my voice. As you may or may not know, I’m a throat cancer survivor and my… Read more »
Just what I needed on this cold winter day! Thank you.
Hi! I love many of your nature recordings and books! Thanks for your podcasts! Personally I won’t listen to narration, and so would greatly prefer straight nature sounds and suggest information on the clips be presented as text rather than narration. Hope this helps!
Michael: Yes, but I plan to provide narration-free recordings on my blog and on Soundcloud … also in my forthcoming mobile app. “Podcasts” are an entirely different beast. They are audio-only and are accessed via iTunes or Stitcher or some other podcast aggregator. Text is not an option for podcasts, so that’s why a narrated “orientation” is necessary, at least at the beginning. So my notion is to provide at a lean poetic description that gives listeners a strong sense of place … and then release them into the sound experience itself. I don’t know of any other nature-oriented podcasts… Read more »
From another perspective Lang, I find your voice as richly resonant and colorful as the other sounds you record. I vote to contnue your intros.
Steve: Podcasts require the narration … see the info I’ve added in the body of my blog, describing what a podcast is about. I think folks are getting a little confused about that.
p.s. I’m glad you like the sound of my voice! I’ve been quite concerned about that.
I love it!
Mary: That’s so good to hear!
Very nice Lang. I can listen to the forest all day! Note: using noise cancelling ear buds.
Naomi: What kind of noise cancelling earbuds are you using? I have been thinking about getting a pair, although I must say I absolutely love my Bose Quietcomfort 35 noise-cancelling headphones.