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.

Monthly Archives: September 2008

Quote of the Week: Gordon Conducts Vertigo

From a conversation in the latest issue of TATEetc., the magazine of the British museum (tate.org.uk/tateetc), between artist Douglas Gordon and curator David A. Ross. Also participating in the interview was video artist Peter Campus. Below Gordon and Ross are discussing Gordon’s piece “Feature Film” (1999), in which one hears the music to Vertigo, but sees on the screen only an image of a conductor following the score:

DOUGLAS GORDON When Artangel asked me to do a project about fifteen years ago, I was listening a lot to film scores. With such a score you have an image that goes along with it. I thought if I dislocated the score, how much of the original image would still “see”? So I filmed James Conlon conducting Bernard Hermann’s score Hitchcock’s Vertigo with the Orchestra National de Paris. The only thing you is Conlon conducting, and his gestures are, for me, as important as Jimmy Stewart or Kim Novak in the film. It became a game for me to see how people might remember Vertigo. There were those who swore they had seen a frame of Novak in my film, so I told some people that I had inter-cut it with some frames, and others that I hadn’t. So we will keep that mythology alive.

DAVID A ROSS Does the idea of the hidden action behind underscore the whole structure?

DOUGLAS GORDON Well, yes, the two layers of hidden stuff ”“ the first layer being that there really is an orchestra, so he looks like he’s acting, and then there is the film that you know, or at least your memory of it, that is “hidden”beneath the orchestra.

Here’s a screenshot of the Gordon film, courtesy of Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, via the Tate website:

Tags: , , , / Leave a comment ]

3 Solo Bass Exploration MP3s by Christian Weber

Released earlier this year on the Cut label (cut.fm), Christian Weber‘s Walcheturm Solo displays the bassist’s skills at using the inherent sonic properties of a given room as a partner in his performance. Six minutes of excerpts from the album are available from the label’s website (MP3, MP3, MP3). In each, Weber mixes the textures and techniques of European free improvisation (think scratching and plucking) along a more sonorous and almost song-paced progression than those techniques might suggest. Throughout he’s abetted by the echoing properties of the hall. The album was recorded by Jason Kahn on September 13, 2007, in the Zürich, Switzerland-located art space Walcheturm. I believe that’s that’s the same Kahn who was the subject of a Disquiet Downstream back in November 2005 (disquiet.com). More info on Weber at his website, christianweber.org.

Tags: , / Leave a comment ]

Freesound Field Recording Remix MP3s

Most music comes with some visualization, generally in the form of an album cover. The files at freesound.org come with waveform graphics, as shown below. The freesound.org site is a community for field-recording enthusiasts and, in the site’s dedicated “Remix! tree” section, the people who love to remix the publicly available source material. A recent case in point is this elegant waveform, which looks like the declining moments of a guest at your local ICU:

In fact, what’s shown above is a stereo recording of scratching, as posted on the site (freesound.org, MP3) back in March 2005 by a member who goes by Edgar.

True to the spirit of Freesound,  about a year later a member called tripta took Edgar’s sample and wove it into field recordings of an urban soundscape. The result looked and sounded (freesound.org, MP3) like this:

And just a week or so ago, yet another user, teamred, further munched up the further (freesound.org, MP3):

As teamred describes it, “i took nervous.wav and thickened it up in adobe by remixing it against itself and then took that result and ran it through audiomulch.” (Audiomulch is the name of a popular audio-synthesis and composition software package.)

Tags: , , , , / Leave a comment ]

Wobbly’s Massive Birdsong Megamix MP3

Back in May, San Francisco”“based musician Wobbly (aka Jon Leidecker) filled the gaps between acts at a concert headlined by krautrock legends Cluster with several DJ sets, two of which he has posted at his website, detritus.net/wobbly, for free download. (Also appearing on the Cluster bill were Tussle and White Rainbow.) Regulars of the Disquiet Downstream section will recollect an earlier Wobbly MP3 set, the “Thousand-Year Choir,” which stitched together century upon century of vocal music, from Hildegard von Bingen to Yoko Ono, with Morton Feldman and others in between (disquiet.com, June 30, 2006).

This time out, Wobbly took as his theme, as he describes it, “music that modelled or sampled birdsong or insect calls, from the 50’s to present day,” which traces from the Barrons (composers of the Forbidden Planet soundtrack), through David Tudor, on to Wendy Carlos, up through Florian Hecker and Christina Kubisch and beyond (“Pastoral,” MP3). Thoughtfully, he’s also provided not only a set list, but one with detailed time codes, so listeners can follow along — or birdwatch, as it were:

  • 00:00 – jim fassett – symphony of the birds (explanatory comments)
  • 00:08 – louis & bebe barron – a shangri-la in the desert garden with cuddly tiger
  • 01:20 – jim fassett – symphony of the birds (first movement)
  • 04:21 – francois bayle – trois reves d’oiseau / triste
  • 06:25 – pierre henry – le voyage / divinités irritées
  • 07:29 – leo kupper – automatisms sonores
  • 09:26 – eliane radigue – epsilon = a = b = a + b
  • 10:02 – karlheinz stockhausen – marsh ducks quack the marsellaise
  • 11:22 – delia derbyshire – birdsong
  • 12:40 – david tudor – rainforest IV (berlin)
  • 15:11 – oskar sala – cathy’s party / swifts in brenner’s house
  • 16:43 – ralph lundsten – fader var (prayer I)
  • 18:33 – tod dockstader / david lee myers – pond (crepitata)
  • 23:11 – luc ferrari – presque rien no. 2
  • 26:30 – hildegard westerkamp – cricket voice
  • 30:49 – wendy carlos – sonic seasonings (summer)
  • 35:46 – bernard parmegiani – capture ephémère
  • 38:29 – blevin blectum – david and justine, 47th and san leandro
  • 40:10 – conrad schnitzler – electric garden
  • 43:14 – péter eötvös – cricket music
  • 45:16 – jacques lejeune – blanche neige (solitude > golop final)
  • 50:52 – florian hecker – stocha acid zlook
  • 51:50 – christina kubisch – night flights (the cat’s dream)
  • 53:32 – thomas dimuzio / david lee myers – uncertain symmetry
  • 57:00 – jean-claude risset – sud
It being a small world, the Kubisch track was a previous Downstream entry (disquiet.com, November 11, 2007).

Complementing the massive birdsong megamix was a Wobbly set consisting of work by Cluster’s contemporaries (“Sky Plus,” MP3):

  • vladimir martynov / yuriy bogdanov – why aske you?
  • harald grosskopf – emphasis
  • bernard parmegiani – capture ephemere
  • michael rother – KM10
  • asmus tietchens – die elektrische horde
  • günter schickert – überfallig (puls)
  • monoton – dancing and singing
  • tyndall – unterwegs
  • vladimir martynov / yuriy bogdanov – spring etude
  • vangelis – at chew’s lab
  • david tudor – sliding pitches in the rainforest in the field
  • francois bayle – trois reves d’oiseau / zen
  • conrad schnitzler – ballet statique
Just as an aside, I was in attendance at that Sunday evening Cluster concert, and it was a tremendous experience to get to see those two gentlemen work their veering-on-romantic synthesizers for a crowd many of whom never thought they’d have the opportunity to experience such a thing. Thus it was all the more unfortunate, if not surprising, that so many people in the crowd persisted in talking through the Cluster set, including members of at least one of the opening bands. Dax Pierson (of the band Subtle) happened to be situated in the crowd in front of me at the start of the Cluster performance, and after a short while he spun his wheelchair around, mouthed the words “Too much talking,” and headed toward the door.

Tags: , , / Leave a comment ]

Kenneth Kirschner CD / Disquiet.com Liner Notes

The new, two-CD set from New York City-based composer Kenneth Kirschner is due out in mid-November on the 12k record label, run by Taylor Deupree. Titled Filaments & Voids, the album collects four pieces (three on the first CD, one on the second CD) marked by silence, several of them consisting of precisely constructed sound objects that are heard in sequence, framed by quietude.

I’ve long been an admirer of Kirschner and his work, and I’m pleased to report that I wrote the liner notes for the release. It was an honor to have been asked to participate.

Visit the label at 12k.com and Kirschner at kennethkirschner.com. In addition, I interviewed the composer for an article (“Music for Shuffling”) that appeared on Disquiet.com on October 6, 2005.

/ Leave a comment ]