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This Week in Sound

Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

This Week in Sound: “Extending the Musical Worlds of the Films”

A lightly annotated clipping service

A friend asked how I can tell when the newsletter is going well. I mentioned how cool it’d be if I had an issue where every recommended This Week in Sound item came from a reader. That, as it turns out, is this issue (which apparently came close to maxing out Substack’s allowed length). Thanks, folks!

These sound-studies highlights of the week originally appeared in the November 15, 2022, issue of the free Disquiet.com weekly email newsletter This Week in Sound: thisweekinsound.substack.com.

CLIMATE MEDIATION: More from Karen Bakker (mentioned here in recent weeks), supporting her recent book, The Sounds of Life: “Digital technology is so often associated with our alienation from nature, but I wanted to explore how digital technology could potentially reconnect us, instead, and offer measured hope in a time of environmental crisis.” (Thanks, Jason Richardson!)

MUFFLIATO!: I’m not a Potterite by any means, but I am certainly fascinated by the hold those stories have on people. An article (“‘A Magic Beyond All We Do Here’: Musical and Sonic Worldbuilding at Harry Potter Tourist Attractions”), by Daniel White, looks at four in-person spinoffs of the books (a concert series, a studio tour, the Universal Orlando tourist destination, and the Cursed Child theatrical play) for how they use “music and sound in distinct ways, drawing on or extending the musical worlds of the films, or creating worlds of their own.” It includes this interesting chart about different types of experiences — as I understand it, originally from The Experience Economy, by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore. (Thanks, Mike Rhode!)

CLOUD ATLAS: This project looks unlikely, at the moment, to get funded, but it’s an admirable attempt to translate the beauty, the presence, of clouds for those lacking sight. The creator hopes for funds to “build a working prototype of a handheld device called a cloud scanner which reads clouds and converts the signal into sound which is then converted to a haptic signals which can be felt.” (Thanks, Daniel Weir!)

CAPTION CRUNCH: “Television today is better read than watched,” writes Matt Schimkowitz: “Huge scores and explosive sound effects overpower dialogue, with mixers having their hands tied by streamer specs and artist demands. There is very little viewers can do to solve the problem except turn on the subtitles.(Thanks, Rich Pettus!)

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

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