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Monthly Archives: April 2013

John Parish on Film Music (MP3)

An audio interview from Resonance FM

Resonance FM’s OST show — that’s original soundtrack — broadcast has posted an audio interview with John Parish, alumni of PJ Harvey’s activities, on the subject of his film score work, recently collected by the Thrill Jockey label, a project mentioned here back in early March. The music, much of which is sampled over the course of the interview, has touches of Angelo Badalamenti, Jon Brion, and Ennio Morricone, but also charts its own course, navigating the Scylla and Charybdis of instrumental pop and sound design (MP3). Parish talks about the instrumentation that helps him achieve his sounds, and the benefits of minimal recording settings in film music (“it becomes nothing because there’s everything there,”he says of over-stuffed Hollywood movie scores).

[audio:https://ia801703.us.archive.org/23/items/OST13thApril2013JohnParish_201304/OST13thApril2013JohnParish.mp3|titles=“Resonance FM Interview (April 2013)”|artists=John Parish]

Track originally posted for free download at resonancefm.com.

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Yes, There Is Virginia Noise (MP3)

A performance by Elian from this past Friday night

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Michael Duane Ferrell records and performs as Elian, and he recently posted a nearly half hour live performance from the three-day RVA (Richmond, Virginia) Noise Festival. It’s a work of low-level dissonance, rather than the heavy thunder often mis-associated with the term “noise.”There are small fractures in the ether, acid dripping on frayed wires, distant drones slowly coming into sonic view. Toward the end, accrued chatter swells into something vaguely chaotic, but the effect has less to do with any particular drama at that moment and more with the relative contrast to what preceded it.

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/elian-1. More from Elian/Ferrell at elianmusic.wordpress.com. His set was recorded on Friday, April 28. It took place at Sound of Music Studios, more on which at soundofmusicrva.com.

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Create Metronomic Music

RadioLab tackles the mystery of an early tech adopter circa 1815 named Beethoven

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A few months ago, back in mid-February, the RadioLab show took up the subject of Ludwig van Beethoven’s engagement, late in his life, with a then new gadget — think of it as the iPod of its day, perhaps the modular synth of the early 1800s. The gadget was the metronome, developed by Johann Nepomuk Mäzel. Now, Beethoven was not foretelling György Ligeti’s “Poème symphonique,” his symphony for 100 metronomes, but he was working with the tool toward his own ends — retrofitting his early works, adding to them metronome-derived time signatures that were faster than musicians then, and now, would play. Speaking in the podcast are, among others, Alan Pierson, Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic.


There are interesting parallels between the metronome and the way, a century or so later, the player piano would intrigue both Conlon Nancarrow and Igor Stravinsky, the former with his complex, post-human endeavors, and the latter’s interest in using the machine to adhere to his strictist intents.

Track originally posted for free download at radiolab.org. Photo via flickr.com.

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Cues: Turner Query, InstaJam, Sound Videos

Plus: Phil Kline on Brian Eno, orchestral stasis, voice overacting, and more

â—¼ Shorted Shortlist: The shortlist for this year’s Turner Prize has been announced. The artists are Laure Prouvost, Tino Sehgal, David Shrigley, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. A writeup at blouinartinfo.com refers to Sehgal as a “first” for the Turner (“the first time an artist producing no object is included”), but I wonder if Susan Philipsz, who won for a sound-based work in 2010, doesn’t count in that regard. Charlotte Higgins, among others, noted this back in December 2010; Higgins wrote of Philipsz, at guardian.co.uk, that she “is the first person in the history of the award to have created nothing you can see or touch.”Then again, perhaps what the Blouin story, by Coline Milliard, is getting at is that even though ephemeral, the Philipsz piece in question — Lowlands, which involved multiple versions of the same 16th-century Scottish song — was still a self-contained work, unlike with Sehgal, whose “objectless practice involves events performed by participants.” For the record, I’m not remotely focused on art horse races — in “art competition” in general — but I am interested in how art horse races shape and illuminate things, like institutional conceptions of the role of sound in art.

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â—¼ What Sound Looks Like: That’s a visualization of the song of a humpback whale up top, below left crickets chirping and below right a Northern Cardinal. These are the work of Mark Fischer, who combined his interests in computer programming and marine acoustics. More at his website, aguasonic.com (via dailymail.co.uk, via io9.com).

â—¼ App Developments: You can now connect your instagram.com account to your thisismyjam account, and “use any Instagram photo as your jam image,” according to an email announcement from the latter service late last week.

â—¼ Unsilent Eno: “[H]aving invented the future, shouldn’t he be allowed to live in it?” — that’s composer Phil Kline (Unsilent Night) on Brian Eno returning time and again to particular themes and concepts (wqxr.org). … Speaking of whom, Eno’s latest installation is at the Montefiore Hospital in Hove, England (via longnow.org). This will, no doubt, lead to Eno’s Syndrome, a pathology suffered by those who seek treatment at Montefiore Hospital to take in his installation.

â—¼ Past Isn’t Past Dept.: The further ahead we progress, the deeper into the past we can delve. Technology continues to let us listen to things that were, until recent years, unlistenable, such as a recording of Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone: ibtimes.com:


â—¼ Live Film Sound: “The film has drifted into obscurity for one simple reason. … ‘The sound doesn’t exist.'” — that’s from Susan King’s piece in The Los Angles Times about the resuscitation of The Donovan Affair, a 1929 Frank Capra film (“the first all-talking motion picture he directed for Columbia Pictures”). There’s now a live theatrical version of the film, with actors and musicians and others providing audio to the projected movie. How did they get the script? There was a copy in the archives of the New York State Board of Film Censors — “but it was only 60% to 70% accurate.”

â—¼ Voice Overacting: “It’s going really well but you don’t have to add your own sound effects” — that’s fight-training advice given to actress Hayley Atwell, who plays Peggy Carter in the recent Captain America films, at metro.co.uk (via io9.com).

â—¼ Sounds of Brands: “Live Music and a Canned Patron” — that’s the title of Ben Sisario‘s piece in The New York Times about the Red Bull Music Academy (nytimes.com). The academy began in 1998, 11 years after Red Bull was founded. The event in New York this year includes work by Brian Eno, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto, and Giorgio Moroder, among many others. Flying Lotus is an alumni; he participated in 2006, when the event took place in Melbourne — that’s the year of his debut album (1983, titled for the year of his birth). Red Bull is an essential case study in this class on sound in the media landscape I’ve been teaching.

â—¼ Sound Designers: There is a deep well of sound-design mini-documentaries about film over at soundworkscollection.com. Below is an eight-minute overview of the sound and music in the David Fincher version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, with commentary from composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, sound re-recording mixer Michael Semanick, and re-recording mixer, sound designer, and supervising sound editor Ren Klyce (thanks for the link, Max La Rivière-Hedrick of futurepruf.com). The discussion at one point focuses on an especially fine moment in the film, when the droning of a floor cleaner in a nearly deserted office building melds with the movie’s score:


â—¼ Orchestral Stasis: What follows are the fourth and fifth movements from the world-premiere performance of Markus Reuter’s “Todmorden 513,” a beautiful example of orchestral stasis. It was recorded at the King Center Concert Hall in Denver, Colorado, on April 18, 2013 (cinematographer and sound recorder Scott “Gusty” Christensen, music director/conductor Thomas A. Blomster):


â—¼ Interface Agnostic: “Be skeptical of the name and GUI of all your plugins.” — Excellent advice, both practical and metaphorical, from Brandon Drury in his column “I’m A Sound Designer: Game Changer #8” at recordingreview.com.

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The Sonic Tourist (MP3)

Old Clone takes us on a tour of Chicago, ears only.

In due time, aural snapshots will match their camera equivalent in frequency, in commonplaceness. The microphone embedded in so many devices — most notably cell phones, but also tablets, laptops, gaming devices — will be used casually, as well as expertly, to capture a moment by an ordinary tourist, or student, or business traveler. We’ll share these with friends and relatives, and thanks to the means by which tools such as Flickr, Instagram, Twitter, and, of course, SoundCloud have trained us, we’ll share them with strangers as well. These aural snapshots will be routine expressions of everyday mundanity and they will pay welcome witness to majestic documentary wonder.

And, of course, for some this future is already an accepted habit, or at least a habit in the making. Old Clone, a U.S.-based musician, recently posted this following montage of a trip to Chicago. It consists of 10 clips (“made on a little portable recorder”) stitched into a singular whole. In part that whole is simply a matter of it being one single track, a sequence with beginning and middle and end, but Old Clone also augmented the original material (“Stretched and bent, but mostly just shuffled around”), retaining its real-world-ness, but in turn providing a singular patina to the overall undertaking:

Old Clone credits an experiment by Robert Rizzi of Kolding, Denmark, with inspiring him. This appears to be the Rizzi track being referred to:

Old Clone track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/oldclone. Rizzi track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/rizzi.

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