February 13, 2014, is the official release date for my 33 1/3 book on Aphex Twin's 1994 album Selected Ambient Works Volume II, 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: science-fiction

This Week in Sound: SoundCloud, Replicants, Comedy, Surveillance

An occasional, lightly annotated clipping service

One-Track Mind: SoundCloud recently added a “repeat single track” function to its web player. This means that if you’re listening to something on SoundCloud you can click a button to have it repeat when it ends, rather than have the service automatically move on to another track. This is a very welcome turn of events. When it comes to audio streaming, we often don’t really hear something the first time we hear it, and often get lost in the continuity. The ability to repeat a single track in some ways having a chance to really pay attention through repetition.
http://disquiet.com/2014/12/01/soundcloud-single-track-repeat/

Replicant Soundscape: Speaking of listening on repeat, this following track has been online since August, but I only just learned of it via an io9.com post about a related subject. The account of “crysknife007″ on YouTube is filled with great “ambient geek sleep aids” such as the sound of the Starship Enterprise’s engines running for 24 hours straight. What follows is the sound of Rick Deckard’s apartment in Blade Runner playing for half a day, so you can imagine you’re a cyberpunk gumshoe when you’re really just sitting at home paying some bills. Though YouTube comments are rightly avoided, a useful follow-up to the track did note that this same sound was later used in Alien for the Nostromo’s medical bay.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7FhEpif1cA

Ambient Comedy: The BBC has produced a retrospective of Chris Morris (Blue Jam, Four Lions), the British satirist. I had very much hoped to interview Morris for my recent book on the Aphex Twin album Selected Ambient Works Volume II because he used music from the album in his radio and television sketches to especially haunting effect, but sadly he wasn’t available. The BBC retrospective is three hours long and, according to the BBC webpage, will be online for another four weeks:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04sp5pq

New Heights in Eavesdropping: A thorough overview of the U.S. government’s system “Automatic Speech recognition in Reverberant Environments,” aka ASpIRE, an advance speech-recognition tool.
http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2014/12/what-happens-when-spies-can-eavesdrop-any-conversation/100142/

This first appeared in the December 2, 2014, edition of the free Disquiet email newsletter: tinyletter.com/disquiet.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0152: Comet 67P Cover

The Assignment: Record your own cover version of the "song" sung/emitted by the comet Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

20141127-comet

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.

This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, November 27, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, December 1, 2014, as the SoundCloud deadline — though the encouraged optional video part of the assignment can wait a day or two longer, if necessary.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0152: Comet 67P Cover
The Assignment: Record your own cover version of the “song” sung/emitted by Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The mysterious song of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has been floated as a likely subject of a Disquiet Junto project since it first was announced by the European Space Agency. Thanks to everyone who suggested it, and I hope you find this approach to the material of interest.

Step 1: Record your own cover version of the “song” sung/emitted by the comet Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. You can hear the “original” here:

https://soundcloud.com/esaops/a-singing-comet

Step 2: Upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

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

Note: Per the track’s SoundCloud page: “To make the music audible to the human ear, the frequencies have been increased in this recording. This sonification of the RPC-Mag data was compiled by German composer Manuel Senfft (www.tagirijus.de). Read full details in ESA’s Rosetta blog: wp.me/p46DHN-Li.”

Length: Your finished work should be between roughly 1 and 3 minutes long.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, November 27, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, December 1, 2014, as the deadline.

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.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0152-comet67pcover” 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 152nd Disquiet Junto project — “Record your own cover version of the ‘song’ sung/emitted by the comet Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko” — at:

http://disquiet.com/2014/11/27/disquiet0152-comet67pcover/

Copyright Notice: Original Data Credit: ESA/Rosetta/RPC/RPC-MAG. Sonification: TU Braunschweig/IGEP/Manuel Senfft, CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/

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/

Credit for image associated with this project:

ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0.

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Writing Sound

Mira Grant wakes a woman from a coma

“His voice was no more or less compelling than the buzz of the machines around her.” That’s from Mira Grant’s novel Parasite (2014), describing the experience of a woman emerging from a coma. It continues: “None of his words meant anything to her, and so she dismissed them as unimportant stimuli in a world that was suddenly full of unimportant stimuli. … Then the other people in the room started making noise, as shrill and confused as the machines around her.” The sequel to Parasite, titled Symbiont, comes out later this month. I’m just behind in my reading.

This post first appeared in the Disquiet email newsletter: tinyletter.com/disquiet.

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Comet Eavesdropping

A comet is recorded, a koan is clarified, a marketing campaign is muted.

A familiar koan was updated this past week. “In space,” we were told long ago thanks to promotions for the movie Alien, “no one can hear you scream” — that is, we’ve now learned, until that scream has its frequencies boosted “by a factor of 10,000.” That’s how earthsky.org, among countless other news organizations, characterized the marvel that was the (literally) otherworldly sound of the (figurative) song captured from a comet by the Philae lander. Nothing is going to shut up the commenters on io9.com, who seem to wait eagerly for a moment to point out the absurdity of sounds in outer space scenes in movies and on television, but nor is the Philae incident the first audio collected from space. Back in 2013, as the Voyager space probe was leaving our solar system, two bursts of sound were collected and shared by NASA, sounds that we used in a Disquiet Junto project. One funny thing that happened last week was that just as the entire planet was celebrating the act of listening to sounds from space, the DVD and Blu-Ray of the film Gravity were released with a “Silent Space” alternate version that removes all the sound from the outer-space sequences. A welcome edit, if one slightly marred by unfortunate timing.

This post first appeared in the Disquiet email newsletter: tinyletter.com/disquiet.

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SOUND RESEARCH LOG: Is Voice the Uncanny Valley?

There may have been no better place than io9.com to keep track of Comic-Con, and this popped up in a summary of the Person of Interest panel. That’s the CBS series with an admirably long-game approach to narrative. It’s about an AI coming into sentience. That AI has become more of a character, and as the series enters season four it now is up against a competitive AI:

“Pressed for an answer about whether or not the AIs would get voices, Jonathan Nolan responded, ‘We’re working on the voice thing. But you may not like where it goes.’”

Full coverage at io9.com. It’s rarely advisable to read comments, but there are some strongly worded concerns in the resulting thread about lending voices to the AI, worth checking out if only as an expression of a point of view.

This entry cross-posted from the Disquiet linkblog project sound.tumblr.com.

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