1. Meta menardi (20:08)
Meta menardi is named after a long-jawed spider that within its range inhabits lightless environments such as caves and railway tunnels. Many of the sounds in the piece are tenuously related to spiders or insects. One of the MIDI melodies was generated from a partial genome sequence from Meta menardi itself. Moreover, the rhythmic and much of the textural audio was derived from recordings either of the silk of various tarantulas being physically manipulated, or of a small tarantula (Heterothele villosella) crossing its own silk to catch prey. The overall arrangement had the loose goal of suggesting low-level sonics within a resonant cave interior. It was intended to sound mysterious and ambiguous (which Others are), rather than creepy (which spiders, in popular media, are all too often).
There is no representation of Meta menardi itself here. Only the Other can speak for itself. But the track may have some truth to do with human relationships - with Meta menardi, other arachnids, crawling critters generally or caves.
In short: it's a long, ambient/electroacoustic project with a rhythm inspired by dub techno, and is overall a vague gesture of appreciation for a fascinating, secretive, photophobic creature.
The track is available digitally or on an inkjet-surface mini CDR in an edition of 10. The disc is hand-stamped and mounted on a recycled card insert. This is contained within a black card sleeve sewn together (with my questionable sewing skills). One the front of this is a linocut print depicting Meta menardi, in a study of its markings.
The package also features a representative photograph of Meta menardi by Mats Carnmarker. Used with permission. Half the proceeds from the commission of this photograph will be donated to wildlife conservation in Sweden.
Certain effects chains and triggers used in the track produce slight variations in timing and texture with each render. To complement the nonrepeatable details of the linocut, there are 11 unique renders available - one as the digital version and 10 as individual CDR copies. So each copy of the mini CDR contains a somewhat unique piece. The render is specified on each copy.
All proceeds from the physical release will be donated to the British charity Buglife (www.buglife.org.uk
), which endeavours through numerous campaigns and projects to protect the habitats of threatened invertebrates in the UK. Meta menardi is not endangered (in the UK) thanks to its habitat preference, but the same cannot be said for other spiders, such as the beautiful ladybird spider (Eresus sandaliatus) - let alone many insects and crustaceans.
Once the 10 physical copies are sold, the digital version will become pay-what-you-want with no minimum.
An excellent multi-language resource of information about Meta menardi can be found here: european-arachnology.org/wdp/?page_id=437
The above-mentioned genome sequence-to-MIDI conversion process was carried out with the freeware Bio2MIDI by Jon Dunn (algoart.com/bio2midi.htm
More of Mats Carnmarker's photography can be found here: flickr.com/photos/wayuu