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

tag: field-recording

Under the River Paiva with Andrea Parkins

A hydrophonic odyssey

The semi-obscene, rubbery bending. The almost comically resilient resounding of a metal surface. The shushing noise of texture. There is something sensual, in a very direct way, to “Under the River Paiva” by Andrea Parkins. She recorded it at Nodar, Portugal, as source audio for a broader project. The sounds are all from beneath the surface of water, all recorded with a hydrophone. Writes Parkins of the context for “Under the River Paiva”:

It features filtering created by placement of objects and movement of the hydrophones in the riverbed’s rocky crevices. The recording later became part of my 12-channel sound design for Symptom, a multi-disciplinary work directed by US-based choreographers The Body Cartography Project, presented in 2011 at CounterPulse, SF in 2012 and in 2011 at The Coil Festival, NYC.

Track originally posted at More from Parkins, who is based in New York City, at More on the Coil performance at

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Disquiet Junto Project 0171: Oblicardo

Rework a pre-existing field recording in response to an Oblique Strategies card.


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.

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

This assignment was made in the late afternoon, California time, on Thursday, April 9, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, April 13, 2015.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0171: Oblicardo
Rework a pre-existing field recording in response to an Oblique Strategies card.

I hadn’t intended to do another “One Minute Past Midnight” project so soon after the previous one, but this week’s project was inspired by the recent and very interesting Cities and Memory: Oblique Strategies project (, in which more than 60 musicians and artists from almost 20 countries around the world took the classic card set by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt as their guide. The koan-like instructions of the Oblique Strategies set were a huge influence on the original planning for the Disquiet Junto series, and so it’s odd that it’s taken 171 weeks to finally address it directly with this homage.

This project is the fourth in an ongoing occasional series that focus on late-night ambience. Collectively these nocturnal endeavors are being called “One Minute Past Midnight.” No one’s work will be repurposed without their permission, and it’s appreciated if you post your track with a Creative Commons license that allows for non-commercial reuse, reworking, and sharing.

The steps for this project are as follows:

Step 1: The primary goal of this project is to explore the inspiration provided by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies cards. First published commercially in 1975, and revised iteratively since then, the set consists of numerous gnomic instructions that are alternately direct and, well, oblique. If you are unfamiliar with the cards, you might want to read up on them a little.

Step 2. You’ll be reworking a pre-existing audio track based on the instructions inherent in a specific Oblique Strategies card. Select a track from one of the three previous projects in this series, #0160 from January 22, 2015, #0163 from February 12, 2015, and #0170 from April 2, 2015. All three of these previous projects involve field recordings made of the sound one minute past midnight:

Step 3: When choosing, per Step 2, a pre-existing track, confirm the track is available for creative reuse. Many should have a Creative Commons license stating such, and if you’re not sure just check with the responsible Junto participant.

Step 4: Select the Oblique Strategies card that will serve as your guide. If you have a deck, then pull one card randomly from it. If you don’t have a deck, then use an online tool, such as the website When you go to you will immediately see the card that has been assigned to you.

Step 5: Rework the track from Step 2 in response to the instructions inherent in the card from Step 4.

Step 6: Upload your track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 7: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, April 9, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, April 13, 2015.

Length: The length of your finished work should be one minute.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this assignment, and 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 include the term “disquiet0171-oblicardo” in the title of your track, and 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 171st Disquiet Junto project — “Rework a pre-existing field recording in response to an Oblique Strategies card” — at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

More on the One Minute Past Midnight series at:

More on the Oblique Strategies series at:

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

Photo associated with this project by Rusty Sheriff, used via Creative Commons license:

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A Roadside Snapshot

A field recording like a photograph

A fine field recordist has skills like those of a fine photographer. An everyday slice of life takes on the sense of a composed thing, a considered object, something constructed by hand from start to finish. The person holding that camera no more put that mountain next to that moon than the person holding that microphone put that bell next to that birdsong. And yet, by framing the material, they both present it as their own, lay claim to the natural world and the built environment. This “Small Roadside Shrine” on the SoundCloud account of London-based Mola Recordings frames a brief moment in time, when the rush of water or traffic, or both, and a dull bell — or perhaps a bucket — and the wisp of bird chatter combine into a sonic snapshot of a moment and a place. It is barely half a minute in length, but then again that framed photo over your desk is just six inches square. Both contain lifetimes.

Track originally posted at More from Mola Recordings at

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Cities and Memory: Oblique Strategies

An international sound-art project based on the Eno/Schmidt card set


For Cities and Memory: Oblique Strategies, more than 60 musicians and artists from almost 20 countries around the world took the classic card set by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt as their guide. Each participant either made a field recording or reworked an existing sound, or both, in pursuit of responding to the Oblique prompts. Marcus Lisle, for example, took the sound of cracking ice on the Merrimack River in the U.S. and had these as his Oblique Strategies: “Trust in the you of now,” “Work at a different speed.” For David Mixco, it was a Pudong airport in China and “You are an engineer,” “What context would look right?” For Christina Wong it was a tuna auction in Tokyo, Japan and “Move towards the unimportant,” “Do we need holes?”

This playlist contains some of the resulting sounds:

The mix of unmediated and repurposed sounds works well in this context. The sheer breadth of material can’t be easily consumed, and even the map-specific locations don’t entirely focus the imagination on what is generally unmoored and often abstract. Instead, variety is the guide, a flux of contrasts in a sea of geolocated audio.

More on the project at The audio is hosted at

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Kate Carr’s Ambient Naturalism

Put "Once Upon a Rose Coloured Time" on repeat.

Kate Carr’s “Once Upon a Rose Coloured Time” is a piece of nature-infused ambient music. It’s all rustling leaves, birdsong, and a slow foundation of pure droning sonic billow. Two components stand out from the naturalist undercurrent, nudge it from background audio to foreground listening. There is a gentle guitar line that arrives about halfway through, and there is a brief, upward, single-note melodic line. The latter may, in fact, be a snippet of birdsong set on loop. That, as a result, it brings to mind, quite favorably, Brian Eno’s Thursday Afternoon is a sign of just how well those naturalist and sonic tendencies overlap.

Track originally posted at More from Carr, who is from Sydney and is currently based in Belfast, at

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