Upsweep

Lee David Tyrrell
4 min readOct 6, 2023
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Are you aware there are underwater microphones all across the ocean?

Largely, they record whales, icebergs and volcanic activity. However, since their installation, they’ve also picked up a variety of unidentified, unusual sounds. The best known is “The Bloop”, which was theorised — for a while — to belong to a gigantic, megalithic creature, as yet undiscovered by science.

Among the more interesting strange ocean burbles is the loneliest whale on Earth. The 52-hertz Whale was first recorded throughout the 80s. This poor chap — or chapette — has eluded any visual sightings, but still they show up, every year, with their odd, distinctive cry. Most whales wail between 10 and 39 hertz, but only the loneliest whale on Earth can reach the screech of 52. Why? Is it malformed, or perhaps — simply — a hybrid?

It’s still alive today, though its call has deepened to 50 hertz. Such is consistent with whale maturity, and only suggests it’s well and thriving. Interestingly, underwater arrays have started reporting a second whale; recorded elsewhere at the same time as our subject. Whatever the truth, it’s a compelling story; faintly tragic, yet beautiful.

Source

“Upsweep” is the most intriguing aquatic unidentified sound. It lasts, unedited, for more than nine minutes, and recurs in the same distant spot of the ocean; every single year. It’s seasonal and incredibly loud, filling the waters with unearthly breeze. Hearing it clean is unsettling, though it’s worth its entire duration.

Like wind in the branches of alien trees, “Upsweep” moans; rhythmic, and rising in tone, to deafen its piscine audience. The source coordinates — our best guess — point to the lair of Cthulhu, and I’m not joking; the fantasy beast of a racist hack, beloved by incels. As such, it’s fun to imagine some horror is hiding beneath.

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Lee David Tyrrell

Fiction writer, mostly attracted to sci-fi and strange, experimental tangents. I’ve also worked as a music journalist for Clash, eGigs, eFestivals & C64 Audio.