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

tag: field-recording

This Week in Sound: 3D Crimes + Posthuman Postrock

+ caption studies + !@#$ patents + Google metronome + iPad conducting + seismic listening

A lightly annotated clipping service:

3D Crimes: The hum of a refrigerator may not be enough to allow identification of its make and model, and the electric car may have let us to make our engines sound like something else entirely (see the SoundRacer), but more consequentially the rumblings of a 3D printer may contain sufficient detail for the someone “to reverse-engineer and re-create 3D printed objects based off of nothing more than a smartphone audio recording”:, via Barry Threw.


Posthuman Postrock: There is now a “wearable third arm” for drummers, which brings to mind both the opportunities for posthuman postrock, and the kit developed for Rick Allen of Def Leppard after he lost an arm in the mid-1980s. Above photo shows Tyler White accompanied by Gil Weinberg:, via

[Heavy Breathing]: Last year, Sean Zdenek published Reading Sounds, a book about captions, about how the audio of filmed entertainment (dialog, diegetic sound like a passing car, and non-diegetic sound like a score) is represented with words superimposed on images. Now there’s a two-day “virtual conference” on captions (Caption Studies) scheduled for August 1 and 2 of this year. If you’re the sort of person, like me, who thrills to “[dramatic music]” and “[ninjas panting],” then I’ll see you there. Well, that is, we’ll be online simultaneously:

!@#$ Patents: This sounded like an April Fools joke, but it appeared on Business Insider on March 31, and appears to be the case: Apple has technology that automatically removes the curse words from songs. Filed in 2014, the patent is titled “Management, Replacement and Removal of Explicit Lyrics during Audio Playback.” Keep in mind that two years prior to that, in 2012, the Apple Match service — which adds to your cloud the albums you already own, saving you the perceived hassle of ripping and uploading them — accidentally replaced people’s NSFW versions with the “clean” edits that play in fast-food restaurants and on cautious radio stations — via, Scanner, and King Britt


Google BPM: Well, Google the word “metronome” and you’ll be provided a functioning metronome that allows you to select an integer between 40 and 208 and hear what that click track sounds like:

iClassical Pro: Alan Pierson, of the adventurous chamber ensemble Alarm Will Sound, has uploaded to Medium an article first published two years ago on the group’s blog, but it’s new to me. It’s Pierson talking about how he moved from using paper scores to digital scores when conducting. His take: “And while conducting off tablet is safer in many ways, it’s almost certainly more prone to catastrophe on any particular gig than working off of paper scores: a PC crash is probably more likely than music falling off a stand or out of a binder and harder to recover from. But the plusses seem to far outweigh the minuses.” At least now Google can help with the BPM.

Ear on the Apocalypse: “Seismologists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Volcano Network have developed a refined set of methods that allows them to detect and locate the airwaves generated by a volcanic explosion on distant seismic networks.” That is to say, scientists are listening for earthquakes: “This study shows how we can expand the use of seismic data by looking at the acoustic waves from volcanic explosions that are recorded on seismometers”:

This first appeared, in slightly different form, in the April 5, 2016, edition of the free Disquiet “This Week in Sound” email newsletter:

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Gesturally Rhythmic Ambient Music

Straight outta Hiroshima

Ebb and Flow is a split EP of gesturally rhythmic ambient music built from field recordings and other noise sources. It doesn’t have a beat, per se, but it draws percussion into the mix. Half of the EP is by Stabilo and the other half is by Gallery Six. Both Stabilo (aka Yasutica Horibe, of the band Speaker Gain Teardrop) and Gallery Six (aka Hidekazu Imashige) are based in Hiroshima, Japan. The highlight of Ebb and Flow is “Endurance,” which balances a twinkling percussive element, like a vibraphone being played by tiny rubber balls, amid water drops and a thick sonic fog. Gallery Six’s “Vapor” is more textural than its title may suggest — it’s like the sound of a thousand pachinko machines playing from deep in some flooded cistern. There are four tracks in all, and the full set is highly recommended.

The EP is available for free download at More from Stabilo at More from Gallery Six at

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Disquiet Junto Project 0218: Sound Passage

The Assignment: Following the path of artist Kate Carr, explore sounds from a distance.


Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on and at, 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 early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, March 3, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, March 7, 2016.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at

Disquiet Junto Project 0218: Sound Passage
The Assignment: Following the path of artist Kate Carr, explore sounds from a distance.

The artist and musician Kate Carr generously agreed to provide a prompt this week for the Junto.

Step 1: Consider the ways that sound changes as it travels across space, moving through specific human-built architectures and/or natural geographies. I live near Belfast’s major football stadium, and the roar that travels from the stadium, across the train tracks, up my street, and into my ears is a very different sound to the roar heard when standing in the stadium itself.

Step 2: Record a distant sound, and reflect on what frequencies have made it to your ears from the source, and which ones have bounced or decayed away.

Step 3: Compose a piece based on this recording, and your meditation on the ways its very journey to you has changed the sounds inherent in it.

Step 4: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 5: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 6: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project was posted in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, March 3, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, March 7, 2016.

Background: Kate Carr composes soundscapes based on field recording and non-conventional instrumentation to explore the relationship between people and place. Weaving together real and imaginary journeys , intensive explorations of sonic enclaves and the re-broadcast of sound in public places, her work is centred on both human and natural geographies. More on Kate Carr at

Length: The length is up to you. Between one and four minutes seems appropriate.

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, please in the title to your track include the term “disquiet0218-soundpassage.” Also use “disquiet0218-soundpassage” 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 218th weekly Disquiet Junto project (“Following the path of artist Kate Carr, explore sounds from a distance”) at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

The image associated with this project is by Kate Carr, who also guest-crafted the project description.

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Two Rhythms Neither in Sync Nor at Odds

Ioflow has his kalimba commune with the birds

While not quite a duet for kalimba and birdsong, this little piece, “Midday Walk, Local Birds” by Ioflow, makes those the central elements. You can also hear feet hitting the ground at the opening, and throughout there’s a thin veneer of synthesized glue that keeps the whole thing together. The footsteps give way to the kalimba, which constitutes the track’s beat, and the birdsong has its own natural pace — neither in sync nor at odds with the thumb piano. At the end, as if we’re coming out of a reverie, the sound of walking returns, a little crunch underfoot. At barely a minute in length, this would be barely a step outside one’s front door in real life, but somehow the slow, persistent pace, intoned with metal on wood, suggests something far longer, something apart from everyday events. Put it on repeat.

Track originally posted at More from ioflow, aka Josh Saddler, at,, and (The track is part of the Weekly Beats series of projects, more on which at The Weekly Beats series has no restrictions or conventions. There are no specific project assignments. From the FAQ: Q: “What style of music should I write?” A: “Any style you want! This is a challenge for you to be productive and creative, it has nothing to do with style, don’t be afraid to experiment. The most important thing is to have fun and maybe learn a thing or two along the way.”)

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Miéville’s Ear

"Listen the Birds," from his collection Three Moments of an Explosion

I finished reading the excellent recent collection of China Miéville’s short stories. It’s an ice cream sundae made of climate dread and narrative ellipses. It’s titled Three Moments of an Explosion, and much of the work is new to the book. Among the new pieces is a series of scripts for movie trailers, each one treating the form of a trailer much as Miéville does the form of a short story, as a cloudy mason jar filled with ambiguous portent: You know something’s in there, but you don’t know quite what it is.

“Listen to Birds” is the third and final of those trailer-stories. In it a person identified as P records birds, and his interlocutor, D, prods him on the undertaking. Eventually the act of recording the birds seems to trigger something in the birds. There may be cross-species contagion. Simple technology may itself be reshaping reality, or at least P’s perception of reality. The result, fractured and deliberate, mundane and otherworldly, comes across like a muted tone poem by Shane Carruth or a willfully bad trip from Terrence Davies.

Here’s one snippet:

P in a café, talking to a young woman. We hear the noise around them. P’s words sound distorted. They are not in synch with his lips.

He says, “There’s a problem with playback.”

Here’s another:

P walking down a crowded city street.

Voice-over, P: “There’s a signal and I can’t tell if it’s going out or coming in.”

Unseen by P, one person, then two people behind him raise their heads and open their mouths skyward as if shrieking. They make no sound.

The whole things lasts under a minute and 20 seconds. It’s a little surprising that a search on YouTube doesn’t yet bring up a fan film version of it.

This first appeared, in slightly different form, in the February 17, 2016 (it went out a day late), edition of the free Disquiet “This Week in Sound” email newsletter:

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