Audio recordings from the Acoustic Atlas will be featured at the Big Sky Country State Fair in Bozeman from July 19 – 23. Soundscapes of rodeo events, livestock and the natural environment will accompany an MSU Library exhibit celebrating the life and work of the late novelist Ivan Doig.
In 2016, the Acoustic Atlas conducted several recording trips tracing locations featured in Doig’s writings as part of the library’s new Ivan Doig archive. Doig was raised in Montana and spent much of his life writing about his experiences. He wrote more than 16 books of fiction and non-fiction.
The library’s Acoustic Atlas just returned from an incredible recording trip to the American Prairie Reserve in north-central Montana.
If you haven’t heard of the American Prairie Reserve, it is part of an ambitious effort to preserve a huge portion of Montana’s vanishing grasslands. All told, its organizers hope to stitch together about three million acres of prime prairie habitat. If successful, they will create the largest nature reserve in the continental United States — plenty of space for these coyotes (see recording below) calling under the stars last Sunday at about 2:00 AM.
The MSU Library invites all students to enter a contest to design a new donor bookplate. This is a chance for you to design a functional piece of art that will live on well into the future of the library’s collection.
The Library’s bookplate personally acknowledges donors and the family members or friends in whose name they make a donation to support book purchases. The library has had several bookplate designs. Many featured local scenery such as the Bridger Mounts and the “M.”
Your design may continue this tradition or propose something entirely new.
Design your mark on MSU: Create a new bookplate for the Library!
The bookplate, originally known as ex libris, is a labels adhered to the inside front cover of a book that identify the book’s owner.
For centuries, bookplates have been more than mere labels. Indeed, ex libris is an enduring miniature art form practiced since the 15th century. Many distinguished artists have contributed to the genre; Albrecht Durer, Marc Chagall, M.C. Escher are just a few. Contemporary artists continue the tradition and bring fresh interpretations to the art form.
If you had a chance to see the movie Walking Out at the Sundance Film Festival last week, you would have 1. been pretty lucky (the tickets were sold out far in advance), and 2. heard an incredibly rich mix of audio recordings from Montana’s backcountry. We’re proud to say that the library’s Acoustic Atlas contributed many of those recordings to the film.
Walking Out was shot mostly outdoors near Montana’s Crazy Mountains, and the filmmakers wanted the right sounds to match their epic cinematography. They knew that by coming to us, they would not only get great sounds, but also recordings of the actual places and species in their movie.
The movie adapts David Quammen’s short story of the same name and is written and directed by Montana filmmakers Alex and Andrew Smith. It’s the story of a father and son hunting trip that turns into a struggle for survival. Variety called it a “lyrical and moving exploration of both the Montana backwoods and the human soul.”
I was able to visit Park City for a showing of the movie, and it was a thrill to see it all come together in the theater. Even though the movie is a work of fiction, those elk bugles and bird calls weren’t recorded on a Hollywood sound stage. The sounds are as real as it gets.
Keep an eye out for the movie later this year. Want to hear some of the sounds? Visit acousticatlas.org.