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.

Train Train, 2:32 Long (MP3)

When does a field recording of sound constitute a performance? Perhaps when the field — that is, perhaps when the environment in which the sound itself occurred — serves a role that might be likened to that of a traditional instrument. Phillip Wilkerson posted a recent recording of just such an instance, that of a train circling the base of Stone Mountain in Georgia (MP3). As he notes in his brief description of that train, “You can actually hear the train’s bell echoing off the mountain at about the 1:06 minute mark.”

[audio:http://philwilkerson.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/aug-6-2010-stone-mtn.mp3|titles=”Stone Mountain GA”|artists=Phillip wilkerson]

Long before that echoing effect, the train comes into (aural) view. At 26 seconds into the recording, following a welter of level-setting ambient noise, a whistle announces the train’s arrival. In retrospect, perhaps we’ve been hearing the train all along, a more ambiguous sound of rail chatter that only comes into focus with the train’s whistle. Whatever comprised the earlier stage, from that point forward (“forward” being the operative term when talking railroads), the train is the recording: not just the occasional whistle, but the rail rumba itself, and the train’s bell that eventually sets to clanking like a metronome. The extended denouement, just downtempo bell pulse and field noise, is one of the track’s distinguishing features, such a slim sound signifying so much vehicular energy being expended.

The echo that Wilkerson points out is the track’s other most remarkable moment. The echo is a brief part of the overall recording, but the repeats quickly bring to mind Steve Reich’s pulse-based counterpoint in a manner that is deeply pleasing, perhaps all the more so due to the lack of authorial intention.

Original post at philwilkerson.wordpress.com. Wilkerson identifies the train as the EMD FP7 diesel locomotive (picture above from wikipedia.org). The below photo shows Stone Mountain, and was taken by Wilkerson — photography to complement his phonography.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Comments: 2 ]

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, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
    • January 6, 2023: This day marked the 11th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    • April 16, 2022: I participated in an online "talk show" by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier).
    • March 11, 2022: I hosted a panel discussion between Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and James Bradbury in San Francisco as part of the Algorithmic Art Assembly (aaassembly.org) at Gray Area (grayarea.org).
    • December 28, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    • January 6, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • December 13, 2021: This day marked the 25th (!) anniversary of the start of 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.)

  • 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

  • 0555 / A Simple Timer / The Assignment: Simplify by a factor of 5.
    0554 / Cage Chord / The Assignment: Riff on a chord by John Cage.
    0553 / Break That Cycle / The Assignment: Record in a steady tempo but break it on occasion.
    0552 / The Radio in My Life / The Assignment: Record music in response to a John Cage and Morton Feldman conversation.
    0551 / The Bends / The Assignment: Get less strict about something you're strict about.

  • Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 555 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts