These sound-studies highlights of the week are lightly adapted from the April 25, 2022, issue of the free Disquiet.com weekly email newsletter This Week in Sound (tinyletter.com/disquiet).
As always, if you find sonic news of interest, please share it with me, and (except with the most widespread of news items) I’ll credit you should I mention it here.
▰ A story about the bullying of a cheerleader through the use of deep fakes expands into a cautionary discussion about voice privacy, ranging from cloned voices confirming million-dollar transfers, to the radio host’s voice being used to say read the script automatically. ➔ wbur.org
▰ A 19-year study with 31,387 yields concerns about the correlation of noise pollution and mental health: “The study provides strong evidence of a negative mental health effect of perceived residential noise, and the results have implications for healthy home design and urban planning.” The research was undertaken in Australia. ➔ ajpmonline.org
▰ We’re generally programmed, thanks to evolution, to be inured to the noises we ourselves produce, but Sennheiser apparently thinks it has one-upped Mother Nature with its new wireless earbuds: “the open ear adapters will help reduce distracting bodily noises such as footsteps or your heartbeat while still allowing you to hear the ambient sound of your surroundings.” ➔ whathifi.com
▰ “The device is constantly listening to the sound of your voice, aiming to make you aware of ‘uuh’ fill words.” This is a gadget called “Mind the ‘Uuh,'” developed by by Benedikt Groß, Maik Groß and Thibault Durand. ➔ creativeapplications.net
▰ The world’s first “bioplastic” vinyl record format has been introduced. ➔ clashmusic.com (via Nathan Moody)
▰ A voice actor known for her screams (in Free Guy, Paranormal Activity, and Scream) on the less-than-inherently-safe nature of the gig: “We are like stunt people, doing the hard stuff that could be damaging to an actor’s voice or is out of their range.” ➔ theguardian.com (via Saga Söderback)
▰ Religious leaders in India aren’t the only ones being hit by noise compliance crackdowns. In Noida, 17 DJs were addressed by police action. The regulations date to 1986: “The Act has defined ambient acceptable noise levels, silence zones, restrictions on the use of loudspeakers, horns, sound-emitting construction equipment, and bursting of crackers.” ➔ indianexpress.com
▰ Sound Studies Review: An International Peer-Reviewed Music Journal is a new academic journal, edited by Mark A. Pottinger and Luca Lévi Sala of Manhattan College, and due to be published twice each year. “The main mission of the journal is to publish critical and engaging work at the intersection between musicology, music theory, audio technology, acoustical research, and media studies.” ➔ manhattan.edu
▰ How about a script for an open source music machine that “does one thing — emitting a tone with a pitch that represents the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere”? ➔ duncangeere.com
▰ “Privacy advocates say voice prints collected by smart home tools like Alexa and Google Nest could be used in police investigations with impunity unless biometric identifiers can be governed in at least the same way as other forms of evidence.” An update from Ireland. ➔ biometricupdate.com
▰ Google’s Android mobile OS has been removing apps that record phone calls, focused on apps that use the accessibility settings as a work-around. ➔ gizmodo.com
▰ And since you’ve made it this far in a lengthy issue, your reward is an index of 1,200 sound effects from Don Martin’s Mad Magazine comics, ranging from “AAAGH! EEEEEOOOW ACK! UGH UGH MMP AGH! AEEK!” (“Removal of a Deep Rooted Tooth”) through “SPLAZOOSH” (“Woman Pouring Water on Fire”) through “ZZZZZZZZZZZ” (“Three Girls Sleeping”). In a Hilobrow.com article on the archive, Peggy Nelson investigates and praises its “early internet” construction. ➔ madcoversite.com, hilobrow.com (Thanks, Peggy!)