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

Larry Johnson Gets Vozme MP3 Religion

A week ago, I posted an MP3 I’d created in a matter of seconds at vozme.com, a free service that takes any text and transforms it into an audio file (disquiet.com). Shortly thereafter I received an email from Larry Johnson, who’d taken a small chunk of the Bible, fed it into vozme.com, funked it up in the freeware Audacity, and added a high-pitched background noise he’d nicked from freesound.iua.upf.edu. By a few days after that, Johnson had fine-tuned his first piece, added two more similarly constructed audio tracks, and released them at archive.org as the mini-EP Vozme Reads Religious Works.

“Genesis 3:19” (MP3) starts with a familiar phrase, before the sub”“Hal 9000 voice multiplies to become a robot choir, and then an ear-ringing noise (that’s the freesound.iua.upf.edu sample) pushes it over the edge. “Isaiah 57:20-21” (MP3) gets into the rhythm of the spoken word, looping the sound so that the phrases become a kind of motor. And “Job 10:15” (MP3) pushes the syllabic overlays to the limit, until they take on the attributes of a cushion of air. In each, especially the Isaiah and the Job, what’s remarkable is that the voices never sound like static samples that have been cut up after the fact; they sound like they’re transforming in real time.

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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  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

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