New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • Disquiet.com F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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

Quotes of the Week: SoundCloud’s Exemplary Comments System

To close out the week of SoundCloud.com-focused coverage, it’s useful to take a look at the conversations that occur within the web community of music-makers and -appreciators. Not the website’s forums, mind you, though those are informative. No, each track posted to SoundCloud allows for individuals to comment at any place along the given track’s timeline, matching comments to horizontal coordinates on the track’s waveform. It looks something like this:

Most of these comments, of course, are thank-yous — as when, above, watsonsound (aka Frank Rose: soundcloud.com/watsonsound) at the 39-second point in “11 15 09m” by map~map (aka Marcus Fischer: soundcloud.com/mapmap) takes the opportunity to say, simply, “beautiful.”

Or when an unspecified member of the 2eq Records label (soundcloud.com/2eqrecords), at the 2:18 point of a track titled “Lapidarium” by Michael Banabila (soundcloud.com/michel-banabila), record his impression: “very nice.”

But that’s just the beginning. The timeline comments in SoundCloud also allow for conversations between musicians and listeners, which yield explanations of how the tracks were constructed. Take this back’n’forth between Mark Harris (soundcloud.com/mark-harris) and musician Stephen Vitiello, at the 4:06 spot of Vitiello’s track “Dolly Acending”, which Vitiello had described as “A long track, based on a remix of a live recording of Dolly Parton singing Stairway to Heaven made in 2004-2005″:

Harris: is this all from a dolly parton singing?? – amazing! Vitiello: it is but stretched and stretched and processed some more. Thanks for asking! Harris: what did you use BTW SoundHack?? Vitiello: As I remember, it was a combination of Soundhack, Pro Tools and Live

Here’s the Vitiello track in question. Though for some reason the comments aren’t appearing in the widget here, they do at the track’s page on soundcloud.com:

SoundCloud is not a closed system; as evidence suggests, the tool allows for somewhat fluid communication with content systems outside its architecture. For example, there’s a track titled “Kitchen Song of Storms” in the collection of Sarah Brown (aka esbie, at soundcloud.com/esbie), and the annotation she attached to it was fairly basic (“I was humming this in the kitchen the other day”). But meanwhile over at her blog, esbie.blogspot.com, she’d commented at length about its production process. Brian Biggs (of soundcloud.com/dance-robot-dance) took up the subject of esbie’s reflections within the SoundCloud interface, six seconds into the piece’s brief, 33-second length: “Responding from your blog post, no no no it’s the way it should be. A click track or Ableton would have taken the funny funky away. Glad you left it alone.”

And, using the comments for another purpose entirely, for episode three of his “Signal Drift” series (at soundcloud.com/the-land-of) of mixtapes, The Land Of (aka Justin Hardison) used the comments tool as a way to note when the song changes to a new track. See the rat-a-tat-tat series of icons along the comments field here:

As always, I’m at soundcloud.com/disquiet.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tag: / Comments: 3 ]

2 Comments

  1. Julian Lewis
    [ Posted December 6, 2009, at 10:13 am ]

    Variation on The Land Of: value of timed comments especially noticeable when people respond to/query/make suggestions on mixes – also remixes of individual tracks.

    Good example is the interplay around this remix of Philip Sherburne’s: http://soundcloud.com/psherburne/the-basics-of-being-at-home-in-a-noisy-place

  2. Marc Weidenbaum
    [ Posted December 6, 2009, at 10:21 am ]

    Thanks, Julian — that is a cool example, the Sherburne mix. I realize there’s likely a breaking point at which comment-overload might set in. But right now I have confidence in the SoundCloud crew. They really seem to have this service’s software upgrading at a good pace.

One Trackback

  • […] video for sharing and commenting. This isn’t a typical TV-viewing habit, but the way that Soundcloud are popularising this kind of in-audio-stream commenting is a promising trend. Could the same be […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*

Subscribe without commenting

  • 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

  • Field Notes

    News, essays, surveillance

  • Interviews

    Conversations with musicians/artists/coders

  • Studio Journal

    Video, audio, patch notes

  • Projects

    Select collaborations and commissions

  • Subscribe



  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
    December 28, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    July 28, 2021: This day marked the 500th consecutive weekly project in the Disquiet Junto music community.
    There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
    A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at oup.com.)

  • Ongoing
    The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.

  • 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).

  • disquiet junto

  • Background
    Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.

    Recent Projects

  • 0512 / The Sequel / The Assignment: Record a piece of music that follows up a preexisting piece of music.
    0511 / Freeze Tag / The Assignment: Consider freezing (and thawing) as a metaphor for music production.
    0510 / Cold Turkey / The Assignment: Record one last track with a piece of music equipment before passing it on.
    0509 / The Long Detail / The Assignment: Create a piece of music with moments from a preexisting track.
    0508 / Germane Shepard / The Assignment: Use the Shepard tone to create a piece of music.

    Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 512 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts