This Week in Sound: Ring Out in Muffled Tones

A lightly annotated clipping service

These sound-studies highlights of the week originally appeared in the September 12, 2022, issue of the free weekly email newsletter This Week in Sound: And check out the bonus U.K. edition of QE3 items.

There’s a new feature of Toronto’s public transportation: “music inspired by the city’s buses and streetcars — songs that respond, in real time, to the routes they travel.” The app, named A More Beautiful Journey, was developed by Joseph Shabason (Destroyer, The War on Drugs, Diana), Dan Werb (Woodhands), and Amy Gottung (executive director of Toronto’s Long Winter Music and Arts Festival). Almost 30 artists produced material for the app. ➔

“[A] team of MIT researchers has developed an artificial intelligence model that can detect Parkinson’s from reading a person’s nocturnal breathing patterns. The AI model in combination with a new device can discern the severity of someone’s Parkinson’s disease and track the progression of disease over time.” ➔

The musician James Blake’s new release is a “collaboration with the A.I.-powered app Endel, as part of its selection of real-time, personalized sonic environments.” ➔

Phillips, which long ago hired Scanner to make music for an alarm clock that simulates the light of sunrise, has made “a bookshelf speaker with LED lighting on the back that integrates with Philips’ Ambilight TVs to create an ambient light experience around your content.” ➔

NPR shares audio of the “quietest place on Earth,” Haleakalā National Park on the Hawaiian island of Maui. One hopes this doesn’t radically increase tourism. ➔

Spotify is said to be introducing an audiobook feature. The company purchased the audiobook firm Findaway late last year. A few thoughts: (1) It’d be nice if audiobook apps let us also play music while we’re reading, and maybe Spotify can sort this out and even normalize it. (2) These could be new productions, as a means to distinguish its properties from those of other companies. (3) It could lead to a viable threat to Amazon-owned Audible’s strong grip on the audiobook industry. (4) Given the time commitment required for audiobooks, it could lead to a substantial reduction by existing Spotify users of the amount of music they listen to. ➔

This looks sorta like an April Fool’s joke, but a special VR mic is designed to bring higher-resolution mouth sounds to the purported metaverse: “Inside the mutalk is a microphone and Bluetooth hardware which picks up the user’s voice and transmits it wirelessly to other devices like a smartphone or a gaming console. What differentiates it from other wireless microphones is that the mutalk traps and contains all of the sounds coming out of the user’s mouth, or at least most of them, as it’s promised to reduce the intensity of high-frequency sounds (voices) by about 30-decibels.” ➔,

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