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Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Monthly Archives: September 2015

When Music and Sound Conspire

A narrative-driven track from Conch

“Moreton” unfolds like a short segment from a wordless film. This is in part because the music in it consists largely of held chords on a synthesizer, just the sort of economical arrangement that merges with a film’s overall sound and insinuates itself into the action. And then there is that sound itself, which here presents a sequence of events: footsteps for an extended period, then what is almost certainly a gun being cocked and shot, and then a distant siren. Conch, to whom the piece is credited, says it’s the second track from a forthcoming album. Perhaps the full album with explain the mystery — or deepen it.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/srvll.

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What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt


A modest little doorbell stands apart from the substantial mess it seems to have been called upon to help manage. First there is the original doorway itself. The street address, 634, appears on the door, behind a firm gate. Clearly the gate was installed after the door, because it duplicates the now partially illegible address number. That echo may be the facade’s most memorable characteristic. But it isn’t the only echo here. Note as well how the gate was formed to have holes for the pre-existing window and mail slot. The gate has, in addition, a knocker. At some point that knocker must have been deemed insufficient to the task, and the doorbell was installed, another echo, though more practical than the address number’s repetition, and less literal than the window and mail-slot passthroughs. It says something about the sheer visual density of the entrance that a visitor is likely to click on the doorbell without having taken a full inventory of the years of accrual the doorway represents.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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Hard-Wired Bit of Clanging Industrial

That's "broke ears / nvr loud enuf" by Sayuna

Sayuna lists “broke ears / nvr loud enuf” with #ambientmuzak as its primary, and sole, tag on SoundCloud. The track is neither. An abrasive, hard-wired bit of clanging industrial, it pounds its way through. It is half production-line monotony, half tribal dance ecstacy. The high-pitched squeal that provides the closest the piece has to a riff brings to mind the intense whine at the heart of Aphex Twin’s “Ventolin,” which is high praise. It wavers like some external source — a bad connection, humid weather, a faulty socket — is causing the line to arc wildly.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/darkmatter. There’s little information on Sayuna at the account page. Where most people list their location, it simply reads “zone transient,” and the space for additional information is given over to a variety of other SoundCloud accounts and keyword searches.

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The Sound of Terroir / The Terroir of Sound

Via a new modular synthesizer unit called ERD (Earth Return Distortion)

erderd001-e1443047902363-640x333

Dirt is both filtered and filter. It is the thing we sift through to get to something more valuable, and it is the thing we use, as in the case of charcoal for example, to extract something else entirely. We sift dirt out or we use dirt to sift something out. Often sound is described as “dirty,” which means it is tarnished somehow, has an edge, is perceptibly and concertedly imperfect. That concept becomes literal with a new modular synthesizer unit called the ERD, which stands for Earth Return Distortion. As depicted above, it sends a signal into dirt, and then extracts the signal from the dirt.

The developer of the unit notes that sound has its own, as they say in the wine business, terroir: “Local electrical and atmospheric signals can condition and distort the earth signal. Two jack connections are also included, optionally switching out the local earth block in favour of routing through local earth piles and forest sites.” Discounts are offered in exchange for exotic soil: “Edgar Allen Poe earth from Baltimore, vampire earth from Transylvania or Whitby.”

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/martin_howse. More on the ERD unit at 1010.co.uk. Found via a post by Chris Sloan, where there is some discussion as to whether or not the module functions as described, and synthtopia.com. Here’s some additional coverage at voltagecontrollab.com.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0195: Chinasystem Soundsystem

Make music for a Caochangdi Village National Day party.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 7.49.01 PM

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at disquiet.com/junto, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate.

This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, September 24, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, September 28, 2015.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0195: Chinasystem Soundsystem
Make music for a Caochangdi Village National Day party.

Caochangdi is a Chinese village that is home to many artists, including Matt Hope and Naihan Li. In the afternoon and early evening of Thursday, October 1, which is National Day in China, there will be a party in Caochangdi utilizing the unique and sizable Laoban Soundsystem. Laoban is fully Creative Commons hardware, and was developed by Matt Hope. The Laoban Soundsystem crew has asked the Junto to create music for the party, which will run from 2pm to 7pm, that means our goal is 5 hours of music.

Please consider setting your track for downloadable, as streaming at the party may not function smoothly, because the Internet in China is heavily filtered, which means downloading of the track needs to happen before the event to insure proper playback.

Step 1: You are creating music for a long party and a big sound system. Keep this in mind. If possible, make a track that lasts about 10 to 15 minutes long.

Step 2: Create a track that moves through three stages:

The first stage should be brief and invoke sounds related to agriculture.

The second stage, the longest of the three stages, should invoke sounds related to artistic production and communal living. Slowly transition from the first stage to the second stage.

The third stage should begin abruptly and invoke rapid industrialization.

Step 3: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 4: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the early evening, New York City time, on Thursday, September 24, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, September 28, 2015.

Length: The length of your finished work should be, if possible, between 10 and 15 minutes. However, if you want to make it shorter, that is certainly fine. We’ll just play it on repeat.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this assignment, and be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0195-chinasoundsystem”in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

More on this 194th Disquiet Junto project (“Make music for a Caochangdi Village National Day party”) at:

https://disquiet.com/2015/09/24/disquiet0195-chinasoundsystem/

Many thanks to Fabricatorz for encouraging this 195th Disquiet Junto project:

http://fabricatorz.com/

The event will be at:

http://harks.gallery/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

https://disquiet.com/forums/

More on Caochangdi

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caochangdi

Image associated with this project from the schematics for the Laoban Soundsystem:

http://en.qi-hardware.com/wiki/Laoban_Soundsystem

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