Songs of the Humpback Whale made waves in the 1970s, shaping new age culture and the environmental movement. For e-flux, Alaina Claire Feldman offers a definitive history—delving into the album’s cold war origins (surveillance for Russian submarines) and its artifice (assembled in an editing suite). Framing whales as “barometers of the traffic and health of our oceans,” she describes the “minor listening” we do, in reconstructing the ocean’s soundscape for human consumption.

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