Urban Cicadas

Over the last few weeks in New York City, it feels like summer has finally arrived.  It has been in the 90s and the humidity has been keeping everything and everyone exceptionally moist.  Aside from the generally sponginess, it has been hard not to notice the presence of cicadas in the neighborhood.  My street is lined with trees, which seems just enough to get the little buggers out buzzing.

The other night, as I was heading down my block after work, the cicadas were really buzzing in the trees.  I ran upstairs to grab some recording equipment; I went with the miniature dpa4060s in my hat so I wouldn’t call attention to myself in the middle of the sidewalk.  Along with the cicadas, folks in the neighborhood were also out, and a few cars passed as well.  I was struck by how the sounds travelled from tree to tree.  It was as if one group of cicadas waited for another group to finish before they took their turn.  Once I realized this I tried to position myself so you could hear the call and response of the insects move around the stereo image (along with a passing baby that didn’t sound too happy).

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Michael Raphael August 22, 2009