My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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

tag: field-recording

Busman’s Holiday (Berlin Edition)

Michael Raphael (aka Sepulchra) puts his mic out the hotel window.

Michael Raphael (aka Sepulchra) is a highly trained and well-equipped field recordist. He operates Rabbit Ears Audio, which produces a series of sound effects libraries, their contents ranging from steam whistles to helicopters to winter atmospheres to typewriters. And when Raphael goes on vacation, he takes along his microphones. This track was recorded outside his Berlin hotel window. I wrote to him to confirm it wasn’t edited, which he confirmed and elaborated on in a blog post at his sepulchra.com site. His hotel was located near Marienkirche, St Mary’s Church, and its bells are heard rolling through much of this track, above the din of traffic on Karl-Liebknecht-Straße. A testament to Raphael’s ear, the piece is easily believable as a post-production construction, so flowing and sinuous are the bells, and so perfectly interweaved are the street sounds. And yet, like a well-framed photograph, it is simply daily life, elevated thanks to the refined sensibility and ability of its documentarian.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/sepulchra. More from Sepulchra/Raphael at sepulchra.com and twitter.com/sepulchra.

Bonus: Here’s a promotional video of his steam-whistle collection:

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The Birds: After and Before

Transmuted field recordings by Richard Fair (aka Audiodays)

By the sounds of Richard Fair’s “Birdy Birdy,” the temporary autonomous zone has gone to seed. The birds have taken over the biodome, the dusty, moldering place long vacated by humans. The air is thick with the birds, and the cold surface echoes their songs with mechanical affect. Simple, cheerful tunes are quickly transmuted into something threatening, something hard. The birdsong itself is beginning to show evidence of an environmental feedback cycle, the birds’ own tune becoming slower, drowsier, more defensive, more feral. (Fair is aware of such a transaction, having written in a brief post: “I do wonder if the birds outside are reacting to what I’m doing in.”)

“Birdy Birdy” is not a real field recording, in the sense that it is not a pristine document, not by any means. What it is is the result of a field recording, a fairly blissfully mundane one, turned electronically into something quite other. The source audio was posted by Fair, who goes by Audiodays, of Norwich, England, as “Norwich Birdsong 17 May 2015.” It is bird song heard in the urban wild, complete with motorcycles and other evidence of 21st-century life. “Birdy Birdy” was posted shortly thereafter, the diary turned into a fiction.

This is the after:

This is the before:

More from Fair at audiodays.org and richardfair.co.uk. He also has a podcast.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0176: Walk It Out

Create a composition on top of a rough idea first recorded on your cellphone.

20150517-tauzero

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at Disquiet.com, 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 playlist for the duration of the project.

This assignment was made in the early evening, California time, on Thursday, May 14, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, May 18, 2015.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0176: Walk It Out
Create a composition on top of a rough idea first recorded on your cellphone.

Like last week’s project, this week’s involves treating a rough draft as part of the finished piece.

Step 1: Go for a walk, and don’t forget your cellphone (or other audio recording device).

Step 2: When the idea for a short piece of music occurs to you, record it into your phone — whether humming or singing or, say, knocking on a fence. Keep it simple. (Note: You can only use the microphone. Don’t use any specific music/sound apps.)

Step 3: When you get back to your home/studio/etc. complete the track, including the (unedited) audio from your walk. Any ambient background noise is just part of the project.

Step 4: Upload your track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud. If possible, include an image of your sheet of paper.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the early evening, California time, on Thursday, May 14, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, May 18, 2015.

Length: The length of your finished work should be between 30 seconds and three minutes.

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 Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0176-walkitout” 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 176th Disquiet Junto project — “Create a composition on top of a rough idea first recorded on your cellphone” — at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/05/14/disquiet0176-walkitout/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Photo associated with this project by Tau Zero, used via Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/e8sqLg

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Disquiet Junto Project 0175: Rough Play

Record the composition on top of the rough draft.

20150507-geciauskasflickr

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at Disquiet.com, 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 added to this playlist for the duration of the project:

This assignment was made in the early evening, California time, on Thursday, May 7, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, May 11, 2015.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0175: Rough Play
Make the composition on top of the rough draft.

Step 1: Imagine of a simple piece of music that would last for approximately one minute.

Step 2: Record audio of the following: Spend one minute roughing out the idea for that one-minute piece of music. Do this on a single sheet of paper, whether that means drawing a timeline of the piece, or roughing out patches, or listing equipment, or writing a description in advance, or some combination of those approaches.

Step 3: Record the piece of music.

Step 4: Layer the result of Step 3 on top of the result of Step 2. They should be roughly even in volume level.

Step 5: Upload your track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud. If possible, include an image of your sheet of paper.

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

Deadline: This assignment was made in the early evening, California time, on Thursday, May 7, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, May 11, 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 Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0175-roughplay” 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 175th Disquiet Junto project — “Record the composition on top of the rough draft” — at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/05/07/disquiet0175-roughplay/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Photo associated with this project by Ramunas Geciauskas, used via Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/7CuYEQ

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Kate Carr Reports from Iceland

In sound and image

#Iceland #landscape

A photo posted by Kate Carr (@k8_carr_) on

Kate Carr is not only what often gets labeled a “sound explorer.” She is a more literal sort of explorer as well. Her instagram.com/k8_carr_ feed is often detailing one corner of the globe or another. Originally from Sydney and now based in Belfast, Carr appears at this moment to be wandering all over Iceland. Recognizing this, I headed to her SoundCloud account, soundcloud.com/katecarr, in the hopes that her sound-artist ear would be brought to bear on the soundscape as much as her camera has been on the landscape. There was no disappointment. She’s been documenting the world with contact mics and hydrophones and other techniques, like this record of an iced fence:

And this of two trawlers:

Her recordings show not just an editor’s ear for considered framing, but also a variety of approaches. She writes of the trawler piece:

A four channel hydrophone recording taken between two trawlers, one making a low slapping sound, the other a high leak. You can also hear a trawler being unloaded by a small fixed crane in the background, and some gulls.

And there is a little Cageian touch. The trawler track’s length is 4:33:

More from Carr at twitter.com/flamingpines.

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