Keeping track of the Scha/ef/f/ers of everyday sound can be confusing, at least in an International Spelling Bee sort of way.
There is R. Murray Schafer (one f, one e), the Canadian who gave us the concept of the soundscape. There is the late Pierre Schaeffer (two e’s, two f’s), of France, who helped give us musique concrÃ¨te. And there is England-born Janek Schaefer (two e’s, one f), of Canadian and Polish parents, who is the youngest of the three, and who specializes in sound art made from everyday noise.
A culmination of the latter’s efforts has made its way online in the form of foundsoundscape.com. It is a 24-hour streaming assemblage of field recordings. Those recordings were collected in 1,000 different places by 100 different artists. In turn, (Janek) Schaefer collated and layered the source audio, so at any point the service is playing three different feeds. Make that four feeds: in addition, there is a live mic in Schaefer’s own studio, and that gets added to the audio. The resulting stream is intended to complement your own place and time. It is less a listening experience than something to be filtered into daily life. The Foundsoundscape site bears the description “live collage of foundsound places to underscore your personal spaces” and the instruction “adjust your volume to background sound.” I ran it for half a day today, and wandered by my desk to occasionally hear chanting, water flowing, and mysterious rhythmic pulses. More often than not the audio was more texture than recognizable content, like a hint of fragrance coming through an open window. In this case, the “window” is an imaginary one, a fiction constructed painstakingly by Schaefer, a window of windows.
Several generations of sonic innovators contributed material, including Taylor Deupree, Brian Eno, Chihei Hatakeyama, Charlemagne Palestine, Stephen Vitiello, Chris Watson, and Mike Weis. (For something sprawling enough to accomodate 100 contributors, it seems a little bereft of female participants.) Here is the full list:
Janek Schaefer * Chris Watson * Brian Eno * Charlemagne Palestine * Phil Niblock * British Library Sound Archive * Richard Chartier * Stephen Vitiello * Douglas Benford * Graham Dunning * William Basinski * Gino Zardo * Marc Richter * Arno Peeters * Peter van Cooten * Mike Weis * Knut Aufermann * Mary Malecka * Paul Cox * Philip Blackburn * Stephan Mathieu * Philipp Ilinskiy * Susan Martin * Jake Muir * Chris Dooks * Darren McClure * Jeremy Young * Stuart Bannister * Robin Parmar * Yui Onodera * Frans de Waard * Ben Gwilliam * Craig Johnson * Stuart Craig * Luis Fernandes * David Slater * Hiroki Sasajima * Chris Deison * Paul Whitty * Bas Mantel * Justin Bennett * Scanner * Martin Franklin * John Kannenberg * Charlotte Heffernan * Martin A. Smith * Derek Holzer * Ben Horner * Nick Fells * Taylor Dupree * Peter Cusack * Nickolas Mohanna * Ian Baxter * Bobbie-Jane Gardner * Yan Yun * Tomotsugu Nakamura * Chihei Hatakeyama * Yannick Dauby * William Yates * Chris Koelle * Simon Fisher Turner * Rod Stasick * Jonathan Palmer * Gregory Kramer * Rob Dansby * Dave the Rave * Wouter Messchendorp * Robert Svantesson * Omer Eilam * Radboud Mens * Michael J. Schumacher * Danny Lavie * Christopher Bradbury * Stephen Packe * Kevin Wienke * Mark Lyken * Michael Jennings * Kerry Ware * John Grzinich * Marc Namblard * Radovan Scasascia * FOO|OFF * Jason Domers * Craig Goods * Vijay Sekhon * Jan van den Brink * Robin Russell * Ben Minto * Bibio * Yasuhiro Morinaga * John Wynne * Wayland Iverson * Matt Wright * Cedrick Eymenier * Tony Webster * Hanetration * Javier Ucelay Urech * Philip Jeck