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

tag: field-recording

Music for Piano and Cicada

Loops both digital and natural courtesy of Denmark-based Robert Rizzi

The piano is not entirely lost, though per the title of the track it is deconstructed, and muddied by the presence of a field recording. The full track title is “Deconstructed piano improvisation and Field recording etude No.5,” by Robert Rizzi of Kolding, Denmark. The field recording is largely bug noise, “this summer of cicadas on Mallorca, Spain,” according to Rizzi. Amid the high-pitching buzzing, the piano is heard cutting in and out, notes more like shards than notes. They break in the middle or start midway. They repeat like a stutter, like a memory caught on a loop, sometimes so swiftly that the digital processing is self-evident, but often with a whispery, casual quality — almost flute-like at times — that makes this half-real piano sound just as real, just as natural, as nature’s own looping white noise.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/rizzi. More from Rizzi at twitter.com/RobertColeRizzi.

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Rural and Feral

Two takes on backwoods ambience

This split release of half-hour tracks from Seth Chrisman and Nathan McLaughlin pairs elegant, rural electronics with a slightly noisier, certainly more feral counterpart. It’s a mix of field recordings, substantively muffled instrumentation, and thorough filtering by the like-minded if not entirely similar musicians. Chrisman’s piece, “Topographies,” is the musical equivalent of the sound of a forest floor that you’re walking alone. It combines motoric textures and light bits of string tension. McLaughlin’s, “Surface Noise,” eventually resolves to something close to Chrisman’s, but it starts with a jolt that it never quite shakes. It adds a sense of threat to the proceedings. If Chrisman’s is a walk in the great outdoors, then McLaughlin’s suggests that the listener may also be the prey.

Album originally posted at fet-press.com. It’s the latest release from FET, which is led by Joe Houpert and McLaughlin.vMore from Chrisman, who’s based in Hudson Valley, New York, at sethchrisman.com. More from McLaughlin, also from Hudson Valley, at nathanmclaughlin.info.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0238: Magnifying Contact

The Assignment: Record a piece of music, emphasizing the sounds of production over the music itself.

alfstorm

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at disquiet.com/junto, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Tracks will be added to this playlist for the duration of the project:

This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, July 21, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, July 25, 2016.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0238: Magnifying Contact
The Assignment: Record a piece of music, emphasizing the sounds of production over the music itself.

Project Steps:

Step 1: Record a short piece of music. When recording the music, use additional microphones to capture the process itself: your fingers on strings, touching keyboard and screen surfaces, clicking on laptop keys, etc.

Step 2: When the piece is fully recorded, create a mix that makes the “performance” sounds slightly either equal to or slightly more prominent than the performance itself.

Three More Steps When Your Track Is Done :

Step 1: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud. It’s here:

Step 2: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 3: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, July 21, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, July 25, 2016.

Length: The length is up to you. Between one and three minutes seems about right.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this project, and be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please in the title to your track include the term “disquiet0238.” Also use “disquiet0238” as a tag for your track.

Download: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 238th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Record a piece of music, emphasizing the sounds of production over the music itself” — at:

http://disquiet.com/0238/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place on a Slack (send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for inclusion) and at this URL:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Image associated with this project adapted from one by Alf Storm, used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

Day 48. Playing guitar

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The Birds of Winter

Steve Ashby captures a moment by refashioning field recordings

There’s much to recommend Winter Birds, the new album from Steve Ashby. It came out about a month ago, long after winter had faded, but it draws you into that climate with ease. Or more to the point, with unease. Industrial ambience mixes with birdsong and other elemental noises to conjure up a dense, anxious sonic space. The highlight may be the track “Window,” which manages to appear still and yet have an intense, pulse-quickening momentum hidden in its seeming stasis.

Ashby explains the work’s origin in a liner note:

If you’ve ever spent a winter in Virginia, you know the weather can be a bit topsy-turvy. Snow storms one day, 70 degrees and sunny the next. Not only does it play tricks with our human body chemistry, but the wildlife outside our doors as well.

The impetus for this project took place in the winter of 2015, as I heard birds singing in the middle of a snowstorm. Pretty heavy winds, snow, sleet, and the songs of birds. The backbone of this work hinges on field recording made during that winter. Each piece builds upon these field recordings by exploring the resonant frequencies embedded within to present their musical qualities in a minimalist soundscape.

Field recordings can capture the documentarian reality of a moment. However, it can take post-production work to fully capture the emotional experience of that same moment. The field recording may trigger a memory in someone who was there when the recording was made, but that sound at its original time in its original place was filtered through the ears, the memory, the life of the person who first heard it. It can be the composer’s role to then refashion the sounds in a manner that brings experience to bear on the source audio. That’s what Ashby set out to do on Winter Birds, and the roiling, ecstatic drones and found elements that result are a testament both to the season and to his talent. The sound is also, no doubt, a testament to the efforts of Taylor Deupree, who is credited with having mastered the recording in all its widescreen-headphone glory.

Album originally posted at ashbysounds.bandcamp.com. More from Steve Ashby, who is based in Richmond, Virginia, at ashbysounds.org.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0231: Field Complement

The Assignment: Compose a piece to align with, from memory, 60 seconds of everyday sound.

anthonyeaston

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at disquiet.com/junto, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Tracks will be added to this playlist for the duration of project 0213:

This project was posted in the late afternoon, California time, on Thursday, June 2, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, June 6, 2016.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0231: Field Complement
The Assignment: Compose a piece to align with, from memory, 60 seconds of everyday sound.

This week’s project’s theme involves how composing relates to memory. It is recommended that you read through all the steps in the project before proceeding to attempt to execute it.

These are the steps:

Step 1: Find a place, preferably outdoors, where you can sit for 5 to 15 minutes without being disturbed. This place should have a fair amount of inherent noise to it, and that noise should be variable, not static — i.e., not the long held drone of an overwhelmingly loud HVAC system, but the bustle of a street corner, or of a playground, or, if weather or other circumstances keep you indoors, perhaps of a busy cafe.

Step 2: Bring with you a portable recording device as well as something on which you can quietly take a small number of written (or typed) notes. You may wish to do a test recording to be certain that your note-taking isn’t part of the audio recording.

Step 3: Settle into the space and get a sense of its sounds. Listening closely.

Step 4: Make a field recording of one full minute, or a little longer, of continuous sound in this place. While recording the sound, use time codes to make note of any memorable sonic instances. Keep track not only of when a sonic instance begins, but also of its duration.

Step 5: Trim the field recording to exactly 60 seconds.

Step 6: Without listening back to the field recording, compose and record a 60-second piece intended to complement it. Refer back to your time-code notes to align composed instances with those real-world instances that you recall having distinguished your field recording. You can use whatever instrumentation you like, but it is recommended that you use no more than one or two instruments. You should not employ any field recordings in your composed piece. Sonically, the “composed” material should be distinct from the field audio.

Step 7: When your composed piece is completed, layer the two tracks together into one new 60-second work. They should be played back at equal volume, more or less. You can adjust a little to achieve the impression of balance between the field recording and the composed work. The only editing you can do is to fade in and out, if that is so desired.

Step 8: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 9: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 10: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Background: Longtime Junto participants/listeners may recognize this as a light revision of a project from back in March 2013.

Deadline: This project was posted in the late afternoon, California time, on Thursday, June 2, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, June 6, 2016.

Length: The length of the finished piece should be about 60 seconds.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this project, and be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please in the title to your track include the term “disquiet0231.” Also use “disquiet0231” as a tag for your track.

Download: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 231st weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Compose a piece to align with, from memory, 60 seconds of everyday sound” — at:

http://disquiet.com/0231/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Image associated with this project is by Anthony Easton and it is used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

Bench and trees

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