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: sound-art

One More Month of “Sonic Frame”

My sound installation at the San Jose Museum of Art

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The installation “Sonic Frame” that I developed for the San Jose Museum of Art will be exhibited for one more month from today. The exhibit runs from October 2, 2014, through February 22, 2015. I’ll be giving a little talk the early evening of February 19, 2015, at the museum as part of the latest edition of its Art Rage event series (details will surface at sjmusart.org).

“Sonic Frame” is a three-screen response to Josh Azzarella’s video “Untitled #8, 2004.” Each of the three screens has original pieces of music, 21 total, that are intended to serve as scores to the video. Each score changes the viewer’s experience of the video, which in its original form is entirely silent.

The scores are largely drawn from members of the Disquiet Junto community of weekly music projects (disquiet.com/junto), and were created by the following musicians: Taylor Deupree, Van Stiefel, Natalia Kamia, Naoyuki Sasanami, Carlos Russell, Mark Rushton, Paolo Mascolini (Sōzu), Stephen Vitiello, Steve Roden, ævol, Marcus Fischer, Julia Mazawa, the duo of Westy Reflector and Lee Rosevere, Ezekiel Kigbo (The Atlas Room), Steiner (Stijn Hüwels), Christina Vantzou, Scanner, Inlet (Cory K.), Jean Reiki, Marco Raaphorst, and Bad Trails.

There is a video in which I talk about the piece. The thorough summary is here: “How Sound Frames Vision.”

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Disquiet Junto Project 0159: Recipe Hyperlapse

The Assignment: See what music the steps of a favorite recipe yield.

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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 early evening, California time, on Thursday, January 15, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, January 19, 2015.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0159: Recipe Hyperlapse
The Assignment: See what music the steps of a favorite recipe yield.

The steps for this week’s project are as follows.

Step 1: Choose a favorite recipe.

Step 2: Note key moments in the recipe: the procurement of materials, the preparation of an ingredient, the turning on or off of a device, etc.

Step 3: Prepare the recipe, and when doing so record a sound representative of each of those key moments.

Step 4: Stitch the audio resulting from Step 3 into a single piece of audio, roughly a minute or two minutes in length.

Step 5: It’s not necessary, but consider adding tonal material to the results of step 4.

Step 6: Upload the finished 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: 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, January 19, 2015.

Length: The length of your finished work should be between one minute and two 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 “disquiet0159-kitchenhyperlapse” 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 159th Disquiet Junto project — “See what music the steps of a favorite recipe yield” — at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/01/15/disquiet0159-kitchenhyperlapse/

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 Andy Schultz used via Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/5QvQyc

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Where the Work Ends and the World Begins

Chris Wood explores the many signals of Brussels

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There is just enough noise that none of it stands out, and just few enough noises that the ears strain for distinctions. There are children playing, and a news report, and music from various genres and languages. There is a thick static that seems to want to become music; it hangs low, a sonorous drone, whining like a wounded animal hoping for just a little affection. Sirens pass, and the whole range of noises just keep going, stalwart despite their modest proportions, their simplicity, their everydayness. This is “Oscillating Cities” by Chris Wood. This is, in fact, “Oscillating Cities” heard amid the sounds of the city. Where the work ends and the world begins is unclear, and that may very well be part of Wood’s point.

In an explanatory post, Wood explains how the piece came to be: “Osciallating Cities is a dynamic sound environment built from local radio, field recordings and internet radio from distant locations retransmitted over FM. It was performed on the square at Comte de Flandres, Brussels in June 2014.” The work was made at the behest of iMAL, the Brussels-based interactive Media Art Laboratory, more on which at imal.org.

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The mix of source material isn’t the extent of Wood’s mediation. There are, he explains, various aspects of the employment of radio, which influence the quality of the signal, and some of the source audio is filtered through delays and other treatments. Still photographs and footage evidence the sculptural quality of the generic radios placed around the plaza. A video documenting a series of related works features a short interview with Wood (at timecode 5:29):

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/wordthecat. More from Chris Wood, who is based in England, at wordthecat.com and twitter.com/whirringcat.

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Video from My San Jose Museum of Art Installation

A short feature with all 10 interveners

The San Jose Museum of Art has uploaded this eight-minute video featuring the various folks who, like me, contributed works as “interveners” for its current Momentum exhibit, which celebrates the museum’s 45th anniversary. I talk in the video at 2:52 and 3:59.

My piece is “Sonic Frame,” a response in three screens to a video by Josh Azzarella. Each screen contains a unique set of seven different audio tracks composed to complement it, so each time the video plays anew it is accompanied by different sounds. Among the participating musicians are Taylor Deupree, Natalia Kamia, Julia Mazawa, Steve Roden, Naoyuki Sasanami, Christina Vantzou, Stephen Vitiello, and Scanner.

The Momentum exhibit runs from October 2, 2014, through February 22, 2015. More on the exhibit here (“How Sound Frames Vision”) and at sjmusart.org. Video hosted at youtube.com.

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This Week in Sound: Fahrenheit, Sonar Sabotage, Unsilent

An occasional clipping service

Audiobook Culture: The past weekend’s Sunday Book Review in the New York Times had an extensive section of audiobook coverage, including a review by Dave Itzkoff of Tim Robbins reading Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451. The conflict in Itzkoff’s piece seemed to be how the rise of the audiobook somehow is part of the gadget-ization of culture. And he credits Bradbury’s book for having posited the notion “that it was not a distant stretch from dismissing books as quaint and obsolete to banning them outright.” He writes, as well, “Fortunately, a few thousand years ago, we gave ourselves a sustainable and still reliable mechanism to provide shelter from these distractions, as well as the option to use it or not” — this “reliable mechanism” is, of course, the physical book. What he doesn’t mention in the review is how Bradbury’s book itself closes with an image of an even more ancient mechanism, in which people — not just people, but maintainers of culture — tell each other stories out loud. Full disclosure: I didn’t so much “read” Itzkoff’s review as listen to it via text-to-speech thanks to the function that is part of the New York Times’ Android app.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/23/books/review/fahrenheit-451-read-by-tim-robbins.html

Sonar Sabotage: The headline says it all: “Study Shows Bats Jam Each Other’s Sonar to Snatch the Best Prey” (via Robin Rimbaud, aka Scanner). Rishi Iyengar reports in Time magazine on research published in the journal Science that bats can block each other’s frequencies. Science’s Penny Sarchet likens it to “sonar sabotage.” It’s nature’s own EMP. The researchers are Aaron J. Corcoran and William E. Conner.
http://time.com/3571704/study-bats-jam-sonar-hunting/

Secular Robot Choirs: Unsilent Night is the annual secular caroling event, in which communal processions of boomboxes layer ambient scintillates provided by the composer Phil Kline. The schedule for the 2014 holiday season is now appearing online, including Manhattan on December 13, San Francisco also on December 13, and Toronto on December 19, with more dates to be added soon. I’ve walked the route in San Francisco, in the Mission, for many years, listening as Kline’s music fills narrow alleys and disperses into the street, as slight variations in playback create false echoes backward and forward in time. If it’s coming to your town, don’t miss it. If it isn’t, consider taking a trip.
http://unsilentnight.com/schedule.html

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

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