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Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Melanie Velarde Found-Object Performance MP3

There is rough texture, footsteps, animal noise, broadcast detritus, and voices. Voices in the background, on the edge of intelligible, just below a surface of friction and irritation, and a rising sine wave, so pure that it stands out, so quiet that it blends in. Plucked guitar, strings taut like barbed wire, enter. Then the flash of a camera — sound that connotes image — and then so much more, including a segment when the musician herself, Melanie Velarde, is heard explaining her process (gathering nearby materials, working by chance). It’s a self-conscious work (MP3), in a productive sense — the camera sounding earlier on, for example, is echoed later, more quietly, when Velarde is heard speaking. If the first camera appearance is a sound for its own sake, the second is a sound recorded, per Velarde’s own mode, by chance — a camera that is photographing her, while she speaks about and performs her own work.

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The work was recorded last month, when Velarde was an artist-in-residence sponsored by, which has more information on the event. More on Velarde at

By Marc Weidenbaum

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