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

These MP3s Were Made for Walkin’

If you follow, or are simply intrigued by, sound art, then one date is well worth pencilling into your calendar: September 22 is the fourth annual Sound Walk in Long Beach, California. And if you make sound art, there’s a second, more pressing date to note: July 1 is the deadline for entry proposals. The Sound Walk is an installation-oriented affair, during which speakers are attached to walls, hung as art, hidden in shrubbery and otherwise worked into the Long Beach landscape; it’s a day in which landscape becomes soundscape, as the more inventive contributors try to transform available, quotidian noise into art. Past participants, many of whose work has been featured in the Disquiet Downstream, include John Kannenberg, Steve Roden, Sumako and the ensemble that organizes the event, FLOOD.

Audio and documentary photos from all three previous years are available for download at soundwalk.org. Highlights from the 2006 Sound Walk include Kabir Carter‘s “Shared Frequencies” (MP3), in which broadcast signals appear to be mixed in real time; Philip Curtis‘ “Tracking Feldman 2” (MP3), with its mysteriously churning overlays of bustle and tone; and Philip Stearns‘ “Burlap,” a sequence of varying, high-pitched buzzes (MP3). As with much installation art, the sound alone doesn’t quite do the original presentation justice. For example, the posted photo of an upturned, oversized horn in no way explains the dramatically ticking audio, “Time Out” (MP3), attributed to last year’s effort by Eric Strauss. You sorta had to be there, which is all the more reason to head to Long Beach come September.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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