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: IFTTTgram

What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt


The day last week I played hooky. The photo that doubles as an IFTTT test.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt


It’s been raining in the city. It’s been raining hard on and off for weeks. It’s been raining, and the wind has been knocking down trees. In certain neighborhoods the intense buzz of the chainsaw has become as common a sound as one imagines it to be in rural areas, or in horror movies for that matter. Construction sites in this boomtown have been forced to take days off. Repair vehicles are a frequent block to traffic. People are expressing, albeit in diplomatically hushed tones, that they miss the drought. The rain and wind do their fair share of damage, and of cleansing. The city streets shine at night. The reflection of bus taillights on soaked black tarmac casts red streaks the length of full blocks. Perhaps the elements are to blame, as well, for this blank slate of a doorbell. It’s quite common for dwellings to be marked at multi-unit entries with thick pens, or with little plastic tags affixed by tape. Maybe the rain washed it all away. Though, judging by the uniformity of the buttons, the prim white grid, this is more likely a fresh install. Supporting the impression is the bright grey of the faceplate, and the barren cavity where there might in the future be a doorknob. What visitors are supposed to do in advance of the association of buttons with apartments is an open question. It’s also difficult to imagine how the labels will fit in this design. The spacing is tight. The sense of a geometric grid will diminish should the numbers be placed below or beside each button. Should they be written on the buttons, they’ll be worn away by usage, by friction and sweat. No doubt the landlord is waiting for the inclement weather to pass before labeling the buttons. Soon enough the rain will end, or at least take an extended pause. And then, almost certainly, the implementation of mundane visual damage will begin.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt


What fireworks look like, after the fact. Lunar New Year celebrations here in San Francisco have their share of noise, from bursts of fireworks at random moments day and night, to the loud drumming of Chinese New Year dragons. The dragons, actually small crews of men and women in a lengthy collective outfit, bring wishes of good fortune to neighborhood businesses, and provide teachable performances about diversity at elementary schools. The fireworks sound is itself generic, a modest martial ratatatat that suggests a confined gun battle. What marks the fireworks culturally is the detritus, the red paper strewn on sidewalks a visual echo of the annual clamor.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt


There are nine buttons at the front gate of this multi-unit building. All but two are unidentified. Of the sole two with addresses labeled, one displays the unit information three times (look on the underside), perhaps for emphasis, perhaps to make up for the way you can convince yourself you accidentally wrote a four when you meant to write a nine, the top bit of connective typographical tissue ambiguous in regard to its solidity. The buttons here come in two sets, one of four, the other of five. Presumably the five came first, as they are built into the gate’s metal structure. They’re organized in a manner that may correlate with the layout of the building, or they are defaulting to some semblance of symmetry. The set of four is plastic, set atop wood, which is then bolted on: plastic on wood on metal, a Ponzi scheme of relative material strength. Whether there is overlap between the two sets of buttons is unclear. A call to the locksmith’s latest phone number (note evidence of at least two earlier ones) might yield answers. When I shot this photo a woman was stepping out of an adjacent doorway. “What are you doing?” she asked me. “I take pictures of doorbells,” I said. Her tone shifted in an instant from accusatory to bemused: “Oh, that’s a first.”

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt


The doorbell to the San Francisco campus of the California College of the Arts, where I gave my doorbell talk toward the end of last year, by which I mean 2016. Both times I’ve given the talk so far, I’ve started with the doorbell of the place where the talk is taking place. I like the idea that each time the talk will include the doorbells of all the places where I’ve given the talk previously.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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