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: video

Cues: Skywalker Sound Hunting, Persistent Memory App

Plus the next Cascella/Voegelin podcast, cypher music, more

Sound Hunting: Nathan Hurst of wired.com accompanies Benny Burtt, an assistant sound effects editor from Skywalker Sound, on a sound-hunting expedition:

“You guys ready?” says Burtt, then waits for the echoes to die. He fires the gun, with a pop and a spark.

The pistol gives off a “full frequency event” — that is, the sound covers the full range of audible frequencies, giving a complete impulse response. Back at Skywalker, the editors will use Altiverb to digitally remove the sound of the shot.

“Then we can run whatever sound we want through that program, and it’ll sound like we’re in here,” says Langfelder.

Each microphone they have, called mid-side mics, houses two units — a front facing element to capture the event, and a figure-eight shaped one that records stereo. Because the sounds reaching the side mic have bounced off the surroundings, they helps give a sense of ambient space, says Burtt. Together, they allow the sound engineers to adjust the width of the sound, making it project a sense of space. The microphones Skywalker brought all cost around $2,000 each, and, paired with $4,500, 24-bit recorders, capture sound at 192 kilohertz, around five to six times the quality of a CD.

The article is peculiar in the absence of a mention of Benny’s father, legendary sound designer Ben Burtt, but it does a great job of walking through the process of sourcing sounds, especially for something as expansive as recording the sonic essence of a particular place. Three sound examples are embedded in the article (wired.com).

Source Material: Judging by a photo used to promote the second, forthcoming episode (July 25) in Daniela Cascella and Salomé Voegelin‘s “voyages into listening and writing” podcast, Ora, it will include writings by HP Lovecraft and Pauline Oliveros, and music from the trio of Taku Sugimoto, Burkhard Stangl, and Christof Kurzmann, among other topics:

20130714-ora2

Persistent Memory: The iOS app Heard (apple.com) records continuously into a buffer, allowing you to retroactively determine you want to preserve something (image and information via addictivetips.com).

20130714-heard-ios

Data Floodlights: Footage of Ryoji Ikeda’s masterful “test pattern [nº5],” which was on display from June 8 through July 1 of this year at Carriageworks carriageworks.com.au in Sydney, Australia:

Flickr-tronica: The photo below of Brian Eno introduced me to the Flickr stream of Oz Villanueva, who is a prolific professional photographer of, among other things, live performances. Amid his massive trove are great shots of Markus Popp (aka Oval), Lisa Gerrard, Alva Noto, and Deadbeat

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Code Blog: Diary of a coding intern at bandcamp: bandcampintern.wordpress.com

Bambaataa Arch-live: The “live archiving” of Afrika Bambaataa’s record collection: blouinartinfo.com

Estranged Love: Matmos covers Bow Wow Wow covering the Strangeloves’ “I Want Candy,” rewriting it about NSA leaker Edward Snowden; streaming video at avclub.com.

Music for Cyphers: Computer-music event at Bletchley Park’s National Museum of Computing the last weekend of July: tnmoc.org.

Listening at MoMA: The webpage for the forthcoming Soundings: A Contemporary Score exhibit has gone live: moma.org; it runs from August 10 through November 3, 2013.

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Cues: 1,100 Tracks, DG Sublabel, Amon/Kronos

Plus: an iOS magazine, sounds of Coke bottles, more

Random Access: Jos Smolders, back in the golden age of the compact disc, 1994, released Music for CD Player, a collection of 99 short tracks intended for the listener to sequence. He’s now released a sequel in the form of an 1,100-track album, titled Music for FLAC Player. Yes, that is 1,100 tracks, the overwhelming majority of which are one second or less in length, and all but 30 or so of which are under 45 seconds:

Writes Smolders of the project:

The [Music for CD Player] disc contained 99 tracks. The original plan, however, was to have many more tracks. However CD Redbook protocol allowed a maximum number of 99 tracks, with a minimum length of 3 seconds. With the Internet as a platform these limitations are gone. The number of tracks for an online album are limitless and the length of the tracks can be near zero.

Recomposing DG: The esteemed classical label Deutsche Grammophon is launching a new label called Panorama (via classical-music.com). The first Panorama album will be from the highly collaborative Schiller (aka Christopher von Deylen). DG had previously released a series of genre-pushing “recomposed” albums including Max Richter’s reworking of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Matthew Herbert’s reworking of Mahler‘s 10th Symphony.

Amon v Kronos: “V838 Monocerotis” is the title of a new piece Kronos Quartet has commissioned from Amon Tobin as part of the ensemble’s 40th-anniversary celebration: amontobin.com, kronosquartet.org.

iOS Care: I Care if You Listen is a new iOS multimedia magazine about contemporary (i.e. classical) music. The initial issue features interviews with composers Clint Mansell and Arlene Sierra.

Sonic Footnotes: Ora, the occasional broadcast/podcast by Daniela Cascella and Salomé Voegelin about “listening and writing,” has followed up its debut episode with a reading list, featuring the hosts’ own books and titles by Gert Jonke, W.H Auden, and Clifford Geertz, among others.

Donut Hole: Jordan Ferguson is, like me, writing a book for the 33 1/3 series. Like me, he is focused on something that is fairly unusual for the series, in that both our books are about albums that have little in the way of words, let alone of lyrics. My book-in-progress is on Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Ferguson’s is about J Dilla’s Donuts. And like me, he submitted to an interview for the publisher’s website. But, being a smart guy, he did his as a video:

Also, Evie Nagy (formerly of Rolling Stone, now at Billboard) has been interviewed about her 33 1/3 book, which will focus on Devo’s Freedom of Choice.

Sounds of Brands: Coca-Cola employed Kurt Hugo Schneider to milk sounds of its cans and bottles to make music. From Adweek’s coverage: “The recording obviously has some studio bells and whistles layered on it, but Adweek was assured that Schneider is truly playing the Coke ‘instruments.'” In another sound-related entry in the Coke series, you’re invited to see how long you can listen to someone singing “ah.”

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Disquiet Junto Project 0075: 18-Second Vine Suite

The Assignment: Make a 3-part/18-second suite with the app Vine.

2013006-vineapp

Each Thursday at the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.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, June 6, 2013, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, June 10, as the deadline.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0075: 18-Second Vine Suite

This project is about the experimental use of a casual mobile app to compose, perform, and record music. This marks the 75th weekly Disquiet Junto project, and it is the second Junto project to focus on a mobile app. Last time the app was NodeBeat, for the 20th weekly project. This time it is Vine (available for free via the URL vine.co), which is available for many if not all Android and iOS devices. The hope is that if you do not have such a device you might borrow one from someone.

Vine allows users to create and share six-second loops of audio-video. The extent to which that audio and video can be manipulated is largely determined by the stop-motion-like start-and-stop system Vine employs; it allows you to pause the recording, adjust the camera, and then continue the recording process.

For this project, you will create three six-second Vine videos, for a total of 18 seconds, resulting in a Vine suite. Each movement will be based on a specified sound source and a specified approach to the stop-and-start edits.

Step 1: The audio-video source for the first movement is water running steadily from a faucet. Record the sound and image of the water and tap your device’s screen at a relatively slow, even pace, roughly 70 BPM. Feel free to have other sounds playing off camera, or to have items in the sink that might make noise as a result of the flow of water. Do this for the full six seconds. When you are done, you will have completed the first of your three Vine videos. Tag it as #vinejunto and #disquietjunto, along with any other tags you’d like, before posting.

Step 2: The second movement will be much more quickly paced. There are two audio-video sources, which you will alternate between, at roughly twice the pace of the video from Step 1. Start with an image of something that rotates and makes sound — a bicycle wheel may be your best bet — and alternate with an image of something static, like a picture of a face in a comic strip, while you make a low droning noise with your voice. Feel free to “prepare” the rotating object, as you see fit, in a manner that might influence the sound it makes. Do this back and forth until you have completed the six seconds. Tag it as #vinejunto and #disquietjunto, along with any other tags you’d like, before posting.

Step 3: The audio-video source for the third movement is whatever is going on outside a window. Divide the track up into six even sections. The first section should be a wide view out your window. The five subsequent sections should try to focus the center of the camera on one object. The sound is whatever happens to be going on outside your window, though you should avoid recording conversation. There should be no additional sounds beyond what is happening out the window. Tag it as #vinejunto and #disquietjunto, along with any other tags you’d like, before posting.

Step 4: Record the audio from the three videos and create one single 18-second track. Upload this to your SoundCloud.com account.

Deadline: Monday, June 10, 2013, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your track should have a duration of 18 seconds.

Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, 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: Include the term “disquiet0075-vinesuite” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: Please consider employing a license that allows for attributed, commerce-free remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track, be sure to include this information:

More on this 75th Disquiet Junto project, in which a three-part audio-video suite is created in the app Vine, at:

http://disquiet.com/2013/06/06/disquiet0075-vinesuite/

More on the Vine app at:

http://vine.co/

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

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

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Decanting Dirty Beaches’ Embalmed Spirit (MP3)

A rework by Heathered Pearls

Heathered Pearls was exactly the right remixer for the Dirty Beaches song “Casino Lisboa.” The original, off the new album Drifters/Love Is the Devil, is like some latter-day, slow-motion amalgam of the Cramps and Consolidated, a world-weary dirge vocal amid the clank of self-consciously routinized industrial rock. In the Heathered Pearls edit (referred to somewhat casually as “Heathered Pearls’ dead time rework”), it is as if the track is being revisited in the memory of its remixer. Slivers of the vocal repeat like a song can when caught in the gears of the lizard brain. It ekes out a sense of forward momentum, but really just gets caught in its own circuitous loop. The result loses none of the embalmed spirit of the original, if anything emphasizing it. It does lose some choice moments from the source material, including a brief excursion into a guitar solo that sounds more like the wind brushing a metal fence, but the trade off is worth it.

Here is the original “Casino Lisboa,” in the form of its mesmerizing video:

Remix originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/heathered-pearls. Heathered Pearls is Jakub Alexander. Dirty Beaches is Alex Zhang Hungtai. More from Hungtai/Beaches at dirtybeaches.blogspot.com.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0071: Wind Music

The Assignment: Create an original score to the trailer to Christine Knowlton's film about blind sailors.

Each Thursday at the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.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 week’s Disquiet Junto project is our first to employ video. It’s long been on my mind to do a video project, in which the participants would provide a score to pre-existing footage. I am sure this won’t be the last.

This assignment was made in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, May 9, 2013, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, May 13, as the deadline.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0071: Wind Music

This week’s project is straightforward. It is an exercise in scoring for video. The video is one minute and four seconds long. It is the trailer to a film now in development. The title of the film is Sense the Wind and the director is Christine Knowlton. The subject of the film is blind sailors. The fact that film is about people for whom hearing is especially important made it very attractive. The director is excited to hear, and see, what we come up with. As her @SenseTheWind Twitter feed states of the film: “Blind sailors race across open water, learning not to fear what they cannot see — on boats or on land.”

The source video is here. It has all the audio, but no music:

http://vimeo.com/65429113

Rules: The only restriction is that you should not employ any copyright-protected audio (i.e., source material), because the intent is for the director to select one of the tracks, potentially, to serve as the backing music for the trailer. And yes, you may certainly employ audio from the trailer as source material for your music.

Considerations: When working on this project, it is encouraged that you map out the trailer in advance of scoring, and take into consideration emotional/narrative beats, and the way its momentum builds.

Video Upload: If you have time, please also add your finished music to the trailer and upload the video to Vimeo (or another service of your choosing). Given the time involved, should you chose to upload the video, there is no firm deadline, though it would be nice if you could get it done by Wednesday, May 15, two days after the music is due.

Deadline: Monday, May 13, 2013, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your track will be equal to or less than the length of the trailer, which is four seconds over one minute.

Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, 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: Include the term “disquiet0071-windmusic” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: Please consider employing a license that allows for attributed, commerce-free remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track, be sure to include this information:

I give the director permission to use my music in the trailer for the film Sense the Wind for promotional purposes.

More on this 71st Disquiet Junto project, which involves creating a backing score for the trailer to the film Sense the Wind, about competitive blind sailing, directed by Christine Knowlton, at:

http://disquiet.com/2013/05/09/disquiet0071-windmusic/

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

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

More on the film at

http://www.sensethewind.com/

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