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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Christopher Janney’s Reach – New York

From Leonard Bernstein to GangStarr’s DJ Premiere, New York musicians have struggled to translate the sounds of their beloved metropolis into song. Christopher Janney has reversed that formula with his public sound installation, currently on display at the NR subway platform at 34th Street in Manhattan. Titled Reach — New York, Janney’s work consists of a series of photo-electric cells which trigger a variety of sound cycles — raising pitches, bursts of digital bird song, touches of marimba and flute. The cells are situated a foot or so above average height, so you have to raise a hand or umbrella to set off the tones. Also, trains entering the station at 34th Street trigger a cell of their own. Ever the techie, Janney has a web site you can check out if you aren’t due for a trip to New York soon, or if you prefer cabs: janney.com.

Originally published in epulse 2.28, dated August 27, 1996

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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