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Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Vacation MP3s

Aaron Ximm came up with the idea of a “one-minute vacation” — 60-second sound clips that allow the listener to escape to somewhere else, thanks to the immersive properties of headphones. “Surely you can spare a minute to clean your ears?” he writes on his website, quietamerican.org. Ximm posts a new MP3 file just about every Monday, from a variety of contributors, including Andrew Duke (a walk in the snow in Halifax, Nova Scotia) and jhno (the Blue Angels thundering through the San Francisco sky). The two most recent vacations are: from March 1 (here), a July 2003 recording of the New York Public Library’s Reading Room by John Kannenberg, who runs the Stasisfield netlabel , and today, March 8 (here), a summer 1994 recording of a child wheeling her tricycle by — it gets louder as it approaches, braying like an asthmatic donkey. Though the vacation soundclips are unedited documentary records of a specific time and place, they do leave room for interpretation. Kanneberg notes that “moving chairs echo like thunder throughout the room” of the library. And Xavier Briche, who recorded the tricycle, says that he later used its creaky noise in the sound design for “a torture scene in a theatre play.” (More on one-minute vacations at quietamerican.org/vacation.html.)

By Marc Weidenbaum

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