top of page

A LIFE IN SOUND

The Diary of a Nature Sound Recordist

First 3 episodes coming April 22nd 2024

SEASON 1 

THE DIARY OF A NATURE SOUND RECORDIST

This series aims to take listeners on an epic and intimate journey through the natural world, all through the medium of sound and at the same time we want to enable a rare glimpse into the life of a man who recorded everything you’re about to hear, one sound at a time. Martyn Stewart has spent his lifetime on a mission: to record the natural sounds of our planet. It’s a story that will take us from a council estate in Birmingham England and ultimately take him to every corner of the planet. From Belize to the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, from Denali to the Galapagos, to some of the most inhospitable locations geographically and politically. He will be attacked by lions and crocodiles, arrested in Japan for filming the annual dolphin slaughter and then find himself in long periods of isolation, in remote corners of the world waiting for 30 seconds of a that perfect sound. This is ultimately a love story – dedicated to our natural world and to the people who spend their lives aiming to give it a voice.

EPISODE DETAILS

EPISODE 1 - THE BEGINNINGS 

For over 50 years, Martyn has travelled the world, microphone and recorder in hand (and insect repellent nearby). It’s a solitary, driven passion that he dates to his childhood “fascination” with the fauna and flora around him in the suburban Midlands. It’s his dedication, however, that ultimately resulted in him being renowned as the David Attenborough of sound. In this episode we go back to where it all first began. This first episode offers a window into Martyn's evolution from a boy finding escape among the birch trees to a man whose life work captures the ephemeral tunes of Earth's natural world. Martyn’s story begins in the urban environment of Birmingham, where poverty, family discord and the chaos of city life led him to seek solace and refuge in the green belt across the road. The drama around him contrasts starkly with the tranquility he finds in the forest. Martyn's narrative is not, however, merely about escape but about an intrinsic connection to earth's acoustics, which he diligently captures through his microphones from the age of 11. A diary of sorts. Lost in sound, Martyn's youthful imagination also gives voice to the birds of the dawn chorus, crafting stories from their calls that parallel the human world. A theater production performed every day just for him. As we delve deeper into Martyn's evolution from a boy enthralled by the sounds of nature to a man dedicated to preserving them, we understand the magnitude of his journey. He shares candid moments of joy and loss, revealing trials and intimate struggles. These experiences ultimately served to reinforce his commitment to his life's work. As Martyn shares his journey, you can't help but feel an intrinsic connection to the world around us and a reminder of the beauty that persists wherever you chose to seek it. His story is a resonant reminder that, in the end, it is the journey that matters most, and the sounds of nature can be the most profound soundtrack to our lives. He inspires us to listen more closely, to appreciate the music in the wind, the rhythm in the waves, and the harmony in a bird's song. It is through these sounds that we can truly connect with the world, finding peace and purpose in the simple act of listening.

Launching Earth Day 2024

EPISODE 2 - AROUND THE WORLD

To introduce our podcast, Martyn circumnavigates the globe through 7 major themes. We’ll explore the sounds of his youth, what it is to feel Awe, close calls in the Masai Mara, activist encounters in Taiji, sounds he didn’t expect to record like the heartbeat of a tree, through to moments that almost got away from him… and all the way back to LOVE. Leaving Birmingham behind, Martyn began a global quest that led him to the most serene and startling sounds of the natural world. From his childhood memories filled with his mother's piano playing and the hooting of owls to his deep connection with nature, Stewart's narrative is as intricate as the soundscapes he records. His reflections on his introverted nature and the facade he puts on reveal a man who, despite his shyness, possesses a bold spirit driven by his profound love for the natural world. This episode transcends borders and connects the heart with the sounds of nature. Martyn guides us through an exploration that's not just about the wild environments he has captured but also about the journey of self-discovery that came with it. From the untouched majesty of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, caribou migrations and grizzly bears through to an unforgettable adventure in the Masai Mara. Martyn’s tales are not limited to grand landscapes; they also include intimate encounters with the creatures of the planet. He shares moving stories of his dogs, the silent gratitude in their eyes, and the whisper of partnership formed with nature. These anecdotes emphasize the unspoken bond between humans and the environment and serve as a poignant reminder of our deep-rooted love for the Earth. The technical aspects of sound recording in the wild are not overlooked. Listeners are given a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the challenges and unexpected elements that come with capturing the perfect sound. From a crocodile encounter to the distressing experience of documenting dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan, Stewart does not shy away from the darker side of humanity and the emotional toll it takes on him. Every chapter of the podcast is interspersed with the authentic sense of Martyn’s voice and passion. His narration is compelling, drawing the listener into his world of sound and emotion. The stories he tells are a testament to his activism and the impact that a single person can have on raising awareness about environmental issues.

Launching Earth Day 2024

EPISODE 3 - AN ACTIVISTS JOURNEY

Since Martyn began his epic journey, 75% of the landscapes and soundscapes that he’s recorded have vanished, been silenced, or suffered significant degradation. Since the age of 8 years old, he has been an activist. Fighting to safeguard the natural world. This episode will take us from Vegas to Africa, into Montana then onto Taiji, to the Vatican and into Gadami. Have you ever been moved by the raw, unfiltered sounds of nature, or felt outraged at the unnecessary suffering of animals? Martyn Stewart joins us as a witness to the silent struggles of Earth's creatures, sharing his life's work in capturing the sounds that speak volumes for the voiceless. His haunting childhood encounter with the brutality of fox set him on a path of activism and sound recording, a journey that he recounts with both passion and a plea for evidence-based advocacy. Martyn’s seamless transition to vegetarianism is a testament to his dedication, aligning his actions with the values he holds dear, and it serves as a powerful example of how education can transform our choices. Through compelling frontline narratives, Martin exposes the chilling realities of wildlife persecution – from the wolf and coyote culls in Idaho to the notorious dolphin hunts in Taiji. His fearless pursuit to document these atrocities brings us face to face with the dark underbelly of human interaction with wildlife. However, it's not all bleak; Martin's stories are interspersed with tales of hope and triumph, like the impactful roles played by Paul and Linda McCartney in shaping his journey, and the significant strides made in educating the public on the mercury dangers in dolphin meat consumption, thanks to the work of activists like Ric O'Barry. As we conclude, our conversation turns to the distressing conditions of dolphins in captivity and Martin's unwavering resolve to bring their plight into the public eye, despite serious threats to his own safety. His dedication to the cause through educational films and sound recordings is a powerful reminder of the resilience needed in the face of adversity. Martin's story isn't just one of individual determination; it's a call to action for us all, highlighting the profound difference we can make when we choose to listen, learn, and lend our voices to those who cannot speak for themselves.

Launching Earth Day 2024

EPISODE 4 - ARCTIC WILDLIFE REFUGE

The Arctic Wildlife Refuge is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. It's home to a wide range of wildlife, including iconic species such as polar bears, caribou, Arctic foxes, muskoxen, hundreds of migratory birds, and many others. It also supports diverse habitats, from coastal lagoons and wetlands to alpine tundra and boreal forests. Sound ecologist Martyn Stewart is our guide through this acoustic wonderland. He shares his profound experiences from the heart of this awe-inspiring region, providing not just a rare glimpse into its untamed beauty but also an urgent narrative on the environmental and political challenges it faces. His stories bring the Arctic to life, from his first moments of isolation to his encounters with its diverse inhabitants, and the troubling reality of oil drilling's looming threat over this sanctuary. Venture with us into the realm of the Arctic tern's astonishing migration and stand witness to the caribou's ancient river crossings, as Martyn showcases the critical role the refuge plays in the lives of these wandering species. The silence that fills the space left by migrating birds is also a poignant reminder of the fragility of this ecosystem. With each anecdote, we're reminded of the Arctic's vibrant pulse and the importance of safeguarding its unique soundscape, a repository of our planet's rich biodiversity. As the episode draws to a close, we're prompted to consider the legacy we leave for future generations. The Arctic is not merely a distant, icy expanse—it's an integral part of our collective home, demanding our respect and protection. By joining us on this auditory adventure, we hope to foster a deep connection with the natural world, ensuring that the serenity and joy of the wild remain an enduring presence in our lives. Listen and let your heart be stirred by the call of the wild.

Releaed April 16th 2024

EPISODE 5 - WILD COSTA RICA

In this epsiode, Martyn Stewart, transplants his life from the verdant landscapes of Washington State to the lush tropics of Playa Pelada in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. We'll be entranced by the dawn chorus, where howler monkeys and the symphony of birdsong announce the break of each day. We'll then venture deep into the untamed heart of the Osa Peninsula and experience it's raw and untamed beauty. From the songs of the melodious blackbird through to the haunting calls of the invasive cane toad and the gentle patter of rain on the lush foliage, listeners will experience the exhilarating challenge of capturing the rich tapestry of aural biodiversity. Martyn's narrative offers a masterclass in the art of nature audio recording, where every sound, from a chirping bird to a distant thunderclap, contributes to the majestic symphony of the rainforest. As we wrap up our journey, we delve into the delicate balance between wildlife conservation and tourism. We confront the poignant realities of turtle conservation and the challenges of preserving habitats in Costa Rica. This episode invites you to surrender to the natural concert that surrounds us, urging you to immerse yourself fully in the wonder of it all.

Released April 23rd 2024

SPECIAL EPISODE - Embracing the Symphony of Life: A Journey Through Terminal Illness

When Martyn Stewart first heard the word "cancer" in relation to his own health, his world was upended. Yet, as he reveals in our latest episode, it was the start of a journey that transformed his understanding of life, death, and the power of human resilience. We share a compelling and intimate conversation that transcends the typical narrative of struggle, focusing instead on Martyn's evolution through his battles with prostate cancer, his confrontation with mortality, his unwavering determination to live each moment to its fullest despite the odds and the role that nature has provided throughout. The notion of mortality often casts a long shadow, but Martyn tries to keep us focussed on finding the light in the present. His story is an ode to the sublime beauty found in life's simplicity. Listeners will be moved by his reflections on the environment, his drive to give back to the planet, and how even in the face of terminal illness, one can leave an indelible positive mark. As the episode unfolds, we traverse the diverse landscapes of despair and hope, pain and joy, and ultimately, acceptance. Martin's yearning to capture nature's symphony is a testament to his passion for life, and his insights serve as a gentle reminder to appreciate the now, embracing the small wonders that each day brings. Join us for a conversation that's not only about facing the end but about the art of living meaningfully in the time that we have.

Releasing May 7th 2024

COMING SOON

TO BE CONFIRMED

Coming soon

HOSTS

Martyn Stewart

Amanda Hill

TRAILERS + EXTRAS

sun, sea, surf

STAY CONNECTED

E-Mail: info@thelisteningplanet.com

The listening planet logo

© The Listening Planet and TLP® Symbols are owned by The Listening Planet Foundation. All rights reserved

The Listening Planet Foundation is a 501c3 charity in the USA.  87-667-1596

The Listening Planet Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization (tax ID number 87-6671596) under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law under IRC section 170

Subscribe to get exclusive updates

Site Terms

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Youtube
bottom of page