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: voice

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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Disquiet Junto Project 0158: Syllable Gumbo

The Assignment: Go from noise to signal with words.

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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.

Tracks will be added to this playlist as the project proceeds:

This assignment was made in the early evening, California time, on Thursday, January 8, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, January 12, 2015.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0158: Syllable Gumbo
The Assignment: Go from noise to signal with words.

Quite often Disquiet Junto projects actively avoid the human voice. This week’s project engages directly with the voice, and with language.

Step 1: Select the least important story on the front page of your local newspaper or the home page of your local newspaper’s website.

Step 2: Select the first or first two sentences of that story. Combined the resulting text should have between roughly 15 and 25 words.

Step 3: Record yourself, or someone else, reading the text aloud. You can use text-to-speech, though it is by no means required.

Step 4: Break the recording from step 3 into tiny parts.

Step 5: Produce an original piece of music in which the randomized “noise” of those tiny parts heard out of order slowly, over the course of one or two minutes, comes to form the full original statement.

Step 6: Add tonal and rhythmic material to the results of step 5.

Step 7: Upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 8: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, January 12, 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 “disquiet0158-syllablegumbo” 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 158th Disquiet Junto project — “Go from noise to signal with words” — at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/01/08/disquiet0158-syllablegumbo/

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 Beanbag Amerika used via Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/uvuHK

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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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“Silent Night,” Noise Edition

An extrapolation and reworking of the carol by Forelight

There is something inherently electronic about the holidays. The most glitched-out, gentle static sounds like the distant hum of a wandering band of carolers, like the whir of electricity demanded by a block of houses full of lit-up trees, like a year expending its last bit of energy before being wound back up for the next dozen months. This is the sound of “silent-silent.night” by Forelight, the halo of the holidays, the first half of its 12 minutes a haze of digital glisten, followed by a short sequence of what seems to be modified everyday sound, all carillon and traffic, followed by an extended, reverberant reworking of the classic carol from which the piece takes its name.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/forelight.

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SOUND RESEARCH LOG: The “Metallic Accent” of the Vocoder

The New Yorker posted a short, 11-minute mini-documentary about the Vocoder. Laurie Anderson praises its corporate aesthetic. Frank Gentges discusses its military history. Dave Tompkins talks about Bell Labs technical innovations (noting its “metallic accent”), among other things. There’s music from Kraftwerk, Afrika Bambaataa, and Newcleus, whose Cozmo D is interviewed; somewhat dispirated, he says with a half shrug, “Some of the dopest shit we have came out of military technology.”

The documentary is the second in the newyorker.com‘s Object of Interest series.

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

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