These sound-studies highlights of the week originally appeared in the August 22, 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.
▰ Check out this sonification of privacy invasions. Writes Bert Hubert, “I made a very very simple tool that makes some noise every time your computer sends data to Google.” Check out Hubert’s demo on the official Dutch government jobs site. ➔ twitter.com/bert_hu_bert (via Acoustic Mirror)
▰ “The company actually put an exhaust on the vehicle, even though it doesn’t need one and the only thing it emits is sound,” writes Mariella Moon. The company is Dodge and the vehicle is a two-door electric update of the Charger — the legacy name now unintentionally ironic. The propulsion system is appropriately called the Banshee. ➔ engadget.com (Thanks, George Kelly!)
▰ “Figuring out what peace and quiet actually does for our mental and physical health is the ambition of a group of neuroscientists and health professionals who are beginning to unravel the benefits,” writes Kayt Sukel. “By getting to grips with their research, I discover that a little silence may be vital to offset the detrimental effects of our noisy world. But just how much quiet do I need, and where should I get it?” ➔ newscientist.com
▰ The New Yorker Radio Hour follows up John Seabrook’s recent article on the sound of cars by taking the Mustang Mach E for a “test listen” and interviewing Connor Moore, a musician who worked on the Mach E, among other cars. ➔ wnycstudios.org (Thanks, Rich Pettus!)
▰ Andrew King, director of the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience at the University of Oxford, explains to writer Alison Nastasi how the “Shepherd tone” functions: “’The lowest and highest frequencies are barely audible and the middle ones are louder.’ he says. As the quieter, similar sounds at the beginnings and ends of the scale fade into each other, all we really perceive is the smooth sequence of sounds in between, which ‘produces the illusion of an endlessly rising [or falling] pitch.’” ➔ popsci.com
▰ A battle over voice AI technology has Google federal lawsuits against Sonos. ➔ reuters.com
▰ Kathryn VanArendonk praises the vocal soundscape of the TV series Industry: “There are voices everywhere, picking up phones and whispering into them with the desperate urgency of someone who can feel the entire world on the brink of a collapse. There’s a roller-coaster-like feeling of everyone’s fortunes rising and falling, not in concert but in close proximity; the noise never stops, and the fluidity with which characters move in and out of various languages further underlines the global, borderless, unceasing feeling of chaos Industry creates for its characters. Even when their vocabulary sounds like money-flavored white noise, the stakes are always apparent in the vocal performances, when the pitch starts to get shaky and the words start to come faster and faster.” ➔ vulture.com
▰ Three titles are out this year from The University of Chicago’s new Studies in Game Sound series: Nostalgia and Videogame Music: A Primer of Case Studies, Theories and Analyses for the Player-Academic by Can Askoy; The Music of Nobuo Uematsu in the “Final Fantasy” Series by Richard Antone; and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time by Tim Summers. ➔ uchicago.edu