Electric Birds

Åke Parmerud

  • Year of composition: 2014
  • Duration: 11:13
  • Instrumentation: 8-channel fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: Ina-GRM
  • ISWC: T9138579256


ISRC CAD501510006

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

At some point in time I promised myself never to make a piece based on bird sounds; maybe one of the most overexploited sound material in electroacoustic music. I have also promised myself never to write a piece for guitar, never ever a piece for harpsichord and a couple of other no-no projects. I have broken all of those solemn promises for one reason or another.

So now I have broken the “no birds piece” promise as well… because I met a New Zealand visual artist in Colombia who introduced me to recordings of bird sounds from his native country. Those were amazing. Some of these birds sounded completely electric or maybe like an animal from another planet. I simply could not resist!

In the first half of the piece, almost all sounds are unaltered. Even the bass sounds in the beginning are natural and are from an apparently quite small bird. How that is acoustically possible is a mystery. Nature is indeed awesome. It is only towards the second half of the piece that I started to push the original sounds into the processing universe.


Electric Birds was realized in 2012 at the studio of the GRM in Paris (France) and premiered on January 14, 2014 as part of the Multiphonies series presented by the Ina-GRM at the Auditorium Saint-Germain of the MPAA (Paris, France). The piece was commissioned by the Ina-GRM.



  • January 14, 2014, Multiphonies 2013-14: Akousma, Auditorium Saint-Germain — MPAA, Paris (France)