This Is the Static You Are Looking For

Peter Courtemanche is at play in stereoscopic fields of quiet noise.

The noises are slight and tenuous, frail and mobile. They slither around headspace, veering left and right as they sag and flourish, as they alternately whither, sputter, and, unexpectedly, rise. This is tinnitus as composition, everyday irritant as strange attractor. It’s three quarters of an hour of Peter Courtemanche, who works under the name Absolute Value of Noise and focuses his activities on field recordings of engineered noise, cataloging all manner of sonic fissures. It’s episode 72 of Jeff Kolar’s invaluable audio series, Radius. The accompanying text provides context:

Some of the motors are recorded from afar with his large bicycle wheel antenna (this is an antenna system that he uses in performances); some are recorded up close using smaller wheel antennas (1 foot) while some have coils wrapped around the motors themselves.

Click through (to as well for details on the various sound sources and recording scenarios, such as this diary entry:

(3) Number 25 Bus (August 2008 / May 2015): sitting at the back of the bus recording acceleration and deceleration. This is a diesel bus that runs past his house. The engine is at the back under the floor-boards. He imagines that the antenna is picking up the firing of the spark-plugs and whatever other electronic signals are flying about when the bus pulls away from the stop.

Originally posted at More from Courtemanche, who’s based in Vancouver, at

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