+ Learn to create and arrange original, hip-hop-inspired music from sampling pioneer RJD2 himself in his new course on Soundfly, RJD2: From Samples to Songs.
It’s safe to say just about everyone reading this could use a bit more nature and relaxation in their lives after the last couple of years we’ve collectively experienced. But for many of us, tranquility isn’t easy to come by at the moment.
If you can’t tear yourself away from your job, family, or daily homebound routine to seek the rejuvenating powers of nature up close and personally — such as going for a hike or swimming in a lake — seeking solace in the recorded sounds of rain, waterfalls, birds chirping, and other natural sounds isn’t a bad way to go.
Not to mention, for you electronic producers out there, nature sounds provide a wealth of source audio from which to sample, especially if you’re in need of some organic inspiration. And on that note, to improve your sampling abilities and find new approaches to production, be sure to check out Soundfly’s course with turntablist and sampling pioneer, RJD2: From Samples to Songs, in which he explores his creative process in detail, breaks down his most famous beats, and flips samples in real time.
For now, we’ve compiled nine of the best places to go to find nature recordings on the web, no matter how you end up using them!
This impressive platform features captivating and relaxing nature sounds that have been recorded across the globe, from Australia to the Himalayas. When you learn that these incredible recordings are the work of just one person, you won’t mind paying the modest price to download albums here if you’re looking for rare wildlife and landscape sounds to relax to.
The British Library offers a sizeable catalogue of nature field recordings which are categorized by weather, water, early wildlife, amphibians, soundscapes, and more. And, as a bonus, some recordings come with the stories of how the audio was captured, including one about two sound recordists getting caught in a downpour in Eastern Hungary.
You can’t beat YouTube when it comes to easily accessing an incomprehensibly vast library of nature recordings. You’ll find everything here from weather to forest and animal recordings, and even step-by-step tutorials if you want to create some of your own field recordings out in nature.
Led by professional nature recordist Lang Elliott, Music of Nature is a website that specializes in spacious 3D-binaural soundscapes originating from North America and beyond. Music of Nature offers an array of relaxing and fascinating nature recordings, like audio taken from a winter rainstorm in the Finger Lakes region of New York and the sounds of a lone coyote howling at the moon before another jumps in to join it. Music of Nature also offers a free 3D natural soundscape app for download.
+ Read more on Flypaper: “Bernie Krause on Preserving the Voices of the Wilderness Before They Disappear Forever.”
5. Nature Songs
This website has been offering free nature recordings since 1998 with audio caringly produced by Doug Von Gausig. Featuring a broad range of animal, weather, and landscape sounds, it should be noted that you’re not likely to find each and every recording this website has to offer relaxing, but there’s plenty here to explore and enjoy for relaxation purposes.
In the Spring of 2020, just when the world needed it most, the National Audubon Society released a stellar collection of audio stories produced by BirdNote, one of its partners. The stories feature gorgeous, peaceful, immersive, and fascinating nature recordings of birds, rivers, forests, and coastlines, and there’s a compelling story behind each entry. These special audio offerings were recorded by sound ecologist Gordon Hempton, who felt compelled to share a “greatest hits” selection of his life’s work when he tragically learned of his chronic hearing loss.
At the Calmsound website, you’ll find a plethora of nature sounds to chill out to, with links to listen on Spotify and Apple Music as well. The audio offered by Calmsound was recorded everywhere from Niagara Falls to the Maldives, and the even have an album engineered to desensitize your anxious pets.
This free audio streaming service offers countless hours of relaxing nature sounds that feature crickets, waterfalls, birds, frogs croaking, calming weather recordings, and much more, uploaded by users. SoundCloud is a great way to discover recordings, and the site typically offers information to guide you to the independent platforms of different content creators so you can listen and support them there.
This behemoth audio streaming platform needs no introduction, but you might be surprised to learn that Spotify hosts vast libraries of nature sounds. You’ll find everything here from meditative albums that combine the sounds of nature with light musical accompaniment to playlists that exclusively feature natural sounds. Take note that the relaxation will be interrupted by ads if you’re not subscribed to Spotify’s Premium subscription (which is kind of a bummer).
Well, there you have it.
These are just nine websites where you can listen to relaxing nature audio, but there are many, many more out there. If you find yourself returning to specific recordings over and over again, consider purchasing audio or donating money to the recordists you rely on for relaxation the most.
Don’t stop here!
Continue learning with hundreds of lessons on songwriting, mixing, DIY home recording and production, composing, beat making, and so much more, with Soundfly’s artist-led courses, like: Jlin: Rhythm, Variation, & Vulnerability, Kimbra: Vocal Creativity, Arranging, & Production, and RJD2: From Samples to Songs.