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Forest sounds come to the urban jungle

lifestyle
The team behind Ambinator travelled to Ratanakkiri to record some of the sounds for the app. Photograph: Poh Kao/Phnom Penh Post

Imagine sitting in traffic, amid the whine of Phnom Penh construction noise, with only the soothing sounds of the Ratankkiri jungle in your ears.

Now you can, courtesy of a new iPhone app launched this month that plays cicadas, birds and rain recorded in the jungles of Northeast Cambodia.

Hyper-sensitive sound technology means the listener has the feel of standing or wandering in the middle of the jungle, surrounded bird cries.

German musician Adrian Stoeger spent days in Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri with guides and representatives from two wildlife conversation NGOs to record the tracks.

The experience brought him up against body odour, noise interruption and illegal loggers, he said.

“In the jungle you begin to stink like a beast after a few days. But there is always something that fascinates you. Like gibbons, to me the most beautiful animals.

“One day I tried to record birds in the Cardamom Mountains but whenever I pushed the record button a chainsaw began to roar. I was really close to exploding, but its better you don’t take on loggers,” he said.

On one of the trips into the jungle he discovered a troop of gibbons. 

 
“I wanted to record them but didn’t get more than 30 seconds. Then it rained and they don’t sing when it rains.”
The app has four different modes. Each plays a combination of four different sounds.

Adrian named one of the modes Sacred Stream after a river in Ratanakkiri, close to the Laotian border, regarded sacred by the indigenous Animists in the village nearby.

“When you cross the creek and enter the area do not have negative thoughts. Otherwise a villager will have died when the expedition returns.

Adrian believes it is the forest itself which is at real risk of dying – but before it happens he plans to return to record the “beautiful song of gibbons”.

The Jungle Ambinator can be downloaded in iTunes stores. For more information visit Ambinator's website.

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