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. • 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.

Reactive Flight of the RJDJ Hummingbird (MP3)

This past Sunday afternoon, the hummingbirds were swarming in the backyard — beautiful little antic flying machines that they are. From a distance, they resembled large, stoic insects, and the sound they emitted was less than birdlike. I took a moment to note this at “Not only are hummingbirds loud, they click like Geiger counters.” And shortly thereafter, two replies in quick succession arrived from

qDot @disquiet I actually managed to get a very nice recording of hummingbirds by duct-taping my iphone to a feeder, heh: # qDot @disquiet And it came out in @rjdj sounding like #

This qDot is computer engineer, musician, and experimenter Kyle Machulis, who was writing to report on one of his experiments. As the annotation to his YouTube video explains,

“Duct-taped my iPhone to a hummingbird feeder, since they’re fairly shy and wouldn’t come close while I was hanging around by the feeders. War insues.”

Machulis had used his iPhone to record the sounds and sights (screenshot above) of the hummingbirds. But that was not enough. He then fed the audio through RJDJ, a popular application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that serves as a programming environment for the creation of all manner of audio-games and sound-toys. One such toy is Eargasm (see, which its creator, Damian Stewart, likens to science fiction (“Smooth harmonic voices right out of the Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy”) but that might also bring to mind the vocal processing in a song by Underworld. Eargasm takes sound and flings it back in a swirl of hazy, short loops that speed up as they get quieter, all atop its own inherent sound bed of ambient-pop tones — a process that is quite effective with those hummingbirds, their chatter-like clicks providing some grit to the soft background music (MP3):

[audio:|titles=”Stuck to the hummingbird feeder”|artists=qDot]

Original RJDJ entry at Video at More on qDot at

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website 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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