The Loneliest Mix
An audio project sharing the beautiful and rare song of a last-known hybrid blue whale, known by the name the loneliest whale, one mix-tape at a time.
Imagine roaming the world’s largest ocean year after year alone, calling out with the regularity of a metronome, and hearing no response.
In 2011, I came across an article on Good about the loneliest Whale in the World - the headline caught my eye being that I am partial to Blue Whales - citing a 2004 New York Times story, this particular whale has been closely monitored by the NOAA since 1992:
It sings at 52 Hertz, which is roughly the same frequency as the lowest note on a tuba, and much higher than its fellow whales, whose calls fall in the 15 to 25 Hertz range. […]To make matters worse, the high-pitched whale “does not follow the known migration route of any extant baleen whale species.
I was excited to find NOAA had shared the audio file of this truly unique song - the posted recording was sped up by 10x, which is actually common with all whale recordings, the increased speed makes the songs more audible on lower-end speakers.
I searched everywhere for the normal-speed audio file of the whale’s song, but it was no where to be found online. I decided to bring the 10x audio file into FCP and reversed the playback speed 10x, which produced the most beautiful, dream-like noise; a strange trembling / vibration effect.
Something about it makes me feel calm. I listened to it on a loop for days.
At the time, I was reluctant to assume that anyone else would find this hard-to-hear song as interesting and moving as I did; before committing to this project, I wanted to run a different kind of Kickstarter campaign, one that aimed to raise only $5, and had only 1 unique reward available.
Which brings me to Daniella Jaeger, who wrote:
I watched his hypnotic video and scanned the sparse page. I then remembered that I had backed 99 projects thus far and had been waiting for something special to back for #100. I thought,I must have this mixtape.
So one $5 pledge later… I got all excited and tweeted the milestone. Somebloggingand cyberhugs followed.
Four days later, the cassette was in my hands, with a nice note from Mike.
“I HOPE THIS MIX MAKES YOU FEEL AS CALM AND FOCUSED AS IT DOES ME.”
I don’t even own a cassette player, but this project, so simple in its execution and so easy to support, is a story I’ll never forget.
It was that incredible response to mix #1 that really launched this project - since then I have personally recorded and mailed over 100 additional mix-tapes to people all over the world.
Order a Loneliest Mixtape
Each Loneliest Mix comes with three things: 1) a unique numbered mixtape with a loop of the whale’s rare song, 2) a stamped poster of the project’s symbol - which is the waveform of whale’s song wrapped into a continuous loop, and 3) a typed thank you letter.