THE RACCOONS tells the story of three babies abandoned by their mother. Alone, frightened, and hungry in a dark chimney for days only to be rescued at the last possible minute by two humans with an interest in field recording, sound art and inter-species collaboration. This 77 minute disk features the sound of that cold and dark stone fireplace, the hungry raccoons slowly resuscitated, the artificial heart beats that reminded them of their lost mother, and their joyful response as they gradually return to life and begin singing again. This limited edition disc (only 50 made) comes with a cd in a beautiful paper sleeve and what is possibly the cutest album cover ever, a six inch hand-made sturdy wooden raccoon that comes ready to hang on your nearest wall and is also completely child friendly!!!
We were hearing strange chirping sounds coming from the fireplace for a couple days. My father had sealed it up years before. Occasionally birds would get trapped in the chimney but would always find their way out in a few minutes or sometimes hours. This time it was unusual chirping, clawing, and gnawing sounds going on for four days gradually getting quieter and quieter, drifting away. We decided that something was trapped, couldn't find its way out, was starving, and was going to die if we didn't open up the boards covering the fireplace and let whatever was in there out.
We weren't sure what animal we would find as we would frequently spot squirrels, chipmunks, possum, groundhogs, skunks and other critters in the neighborhood and around the yard. Would a bunch of bats fly out? Would a litter of rabid bunnies come running out ready to attack? We prepared for anything, football helmets, hockey sticks, a laundry basket, a garbage bag, a old suitcase, an empty microwaveable waffles cardboard box. We unsealed the fireplace cover with minimal tools and held a video camera in an unsteady hand while we worked. That afternoon the sounds had virtually stopped and we were not sure what to fear more: an angry badger having been driven mad by hunger leaping out of the darkness and eating its human rescuers or finding the cutest baby fox lying still having been fatally deprived of sunlight, food and water for days. "I think its dead," my partner said slowly, poking some small hairless thing gently with a stick. He was the brave one. He put it in his hand and held it up for me to see. I wasn't sure what it was, a baby for sure, but a baby what? A human, a puppy, a baby monkey, an alien? "WAIT I THINK ITS BREATHING," followed rapidly by "THERE'S TWO MORE," and "THEY'RE STILL ALIVE!" Three baby raccoons. Their mother, we concluded, had found a warm dry place to give birth and then left to find food but did not return, most likely the victim of a hit and run accident.
We found a large cardboard box and put a blanket down inside. We put a heat lamp close to the top of the box shining down on the babies. I put a speaker up to the side of the box with a drum machine mimicking the vibrations of a heartbeat. Within a few minutes they had gravitated to the side with the heartbeat. They slowly came back to life as we researched how to feed and care for baby raccoons. The chirping started again. Soon they were climbing, jumping, singing. Perhaps they actually were baby monkeys after all? Possibly their mother had been a helper monkey for a child in the neighborhood who was restricted to a wheelchair, or escaped from a nearby exotic pet store, or possibly had come from that really scary flea market down by the airport. We experimented with drum beats and tempos. The babies liked it slow. I couldn't find any information on raccoon mother heart beats per minute. After feeding them from an eye dropper and giving them water, they rested. It had been an exhausting experience. We all went to bed. In the morning we looked in the box. There was only two raccoons. They got hungry in the night and ate their brother. What other possibility was there? There had only been two raccoons to begin with, we had imagined the third, or it was a ghost. "I FOUND HIM, HE'S OVER HERE." Their baby eyes were still sealed shut but one brave baby climbed out of the box and had crawled across the kitchen floor and had made his way to the front door where the morning sunlight was shining in. It was their first sunrise. We got a bigger, taller box. After a few days of recording, movie making, and photo shoots we found a wildlife rehabilitator who would take the raccoons and reintroduce them to the wild.
LIMITED EDITION / 50 COPIES
SHIPPING DECEMBER 13, 2011
Davin broke his leg in June---pix HERE. RACCONS NOW AVAILABLE!!!
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