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Brood IX

by Stephen Vitiello

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Brood IX (17 year cicadas, June 2020)

These recordings were made at the foot of Peters Mountain in Monroe County, West Virginia in June of 2020. It was a rare moment of escape, during the pandemic. 17-year cicadas (this group, classified as Brood IX) emerge from the ground in late May and create a sonic wash that resonates from the trees and mountain. These cicadas then fade out by early July not to be seen or heard in this location for another 17 years. Even while recording, they’d drop from above, landing on the mic, on our shoulders and anything else and hold on for a final buzz and momentary flight before dying.

Peters Mountain is a spot I’ve been returning to for several years, to record a rare wind phenomena that happens at moments, generally in the winter and is said to roar like a 1000 lions. On this trip, there was little wind but the roar of the brood took over. The sound of these insects rising and falling as the sun came in and out from the clouds.


released July 31, 2020

Microphones: 2 x Sennheiser MKH 20 (tracks 1 and 2), 2 x DPA 4060 (track 3), Soundfield SPS200 (track 4)

Photo and video documentation: Matt Flowers
Cover photograph: Emory Flowers
Mastering and Design: Lawrence English

Thank you: Matt Flowers, Amy Cole-South, Lawrence English


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Stephen Vitiello Richmond, Virginia

Sound and visual artist, based in Richmond, VA

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