My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Remix Chain MP3s

How many electronic musicians does it take to switch on a lightbulb? At the online project known as Freesound, the answer is: as many as want to. Freesound is a web community, founded in May of this year, dedicated to the collection and sharing of sounds. It’s a sizable and steadily growing database of raw sonic audio files, mostly field recordings, instrument samples and effects. One highlight of the project is its “Remix! tree,” in which users post remixes of existing Freesound material, and, in some cases, remixes of the remixes.

One excellent example began its life as “light-switch.wav”: a three-second sample of a plastic lightswitch, posted to Freesound by TwistedLemon (link). Next up was someone by the name of dropthedyle, who “remixed and looped” the original lightswitch material, adding an echo and extending its length by about an extra second (link). It’s worth dwelling on how those small fixes substantially altered the original before moving on, because soon enough a bright knob twiddler named mdsp dropped by to turn in two minute-and-a-half entries that turn that click’n’clack of the lightswitch into witty, percussive tracks with touches of dub and minimal techno (link, link). More info at freesound.iua.upf.edu.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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