My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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

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News, essays, reviews, surveillance

What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt


The mystery of apartment 835 persists. One day this building was a modest, three-family dwelling. The next day a smudge had infected the neighborhood’s collective memory. To this day there is no consensus in the local community. The Old 35ers still gather once a month at a nearby cafe to debate the building’s comings and goings. The Voiders meet less regularly these days, only when some bit of 35er quasi-evidence requires a little actual effort to be refuted. The Voiders haven’t yet failed to rationalize every shadowy visitor, every piece of mail marked return to sender, every arrival of a public-utility vehicle. Neither have the 35ers failed to feed the Voiders’ sense of purpose. Tellingly to both sides, the building’s remaining residents haven’t pledged allegiance to either point of view. The bachelor dentist in 831 has kept mum, the Voiders presume, simply to preserve his business, unlike the tiki bar on the main drag that features a somber 835 flag on the roof and a Never Forget cocktail on the menu. The 35ers insist on a nefarious pact between the dentist and … well, there are splinter groups as to whether the landlord, the unidentified former tenant, or some other party entirely has scared 831 into silence. As for the ancient widow in 833, she speaks only a near extinct dialect from a remote region that neither China nor Russia have bothered to lay claim to. The Old 35ers and the Voiders agree on one thing: both groups focus their canonical teachings on the mysterious scribble next to the bottom button. The 35ers point to the consistency of the color with the other addresses. The Voiders early on brought in a paleolinguist from the city college to testify. She felt that the indent and shorter “x height,” among other Talmudic marginalia, firmly distinguished the markings from the other two. If anyone does still live in what was or wasn’t 835, they may very well have disconnected the button, as it’s the favorite dare among students at the neighborhood’s four elementary schools.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt


When the universe knows you’re giving a talk on doorbells tonight and wants to pitch some potential material.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt


An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
Tag: / Leave a comment ]

Sound Class: Extra Credit

Create a sound walk

I just gave an extra-credit assignment to the students in my sound class.

Maybe you wanna do it, too:

For my students the assignment is due by 10am on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, the last day of class.

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This Week in Sound: Plasma Waves + Cymatic Art +

+ listening posts + womb tunes +

A lightly annotated clipping service.

Ring Cycle: The second season of The Expanse, the Syfy channel’s excellent (stellar?) adaptation of the James S. A. Corey novels, may have come to a close last month, but NASA is here to fill the void. Not only has the Cassini spacecraft situated itself between Saturn and its rings, it has captured audio data of the particulates therein. As Rae Paoletta reports at gizmodo.com, the Radio and Plasma Wave Science (RPWS) instrument on Cassini (see recording above) picked up “the hits of hundreds of ring particles per second,” something of an apparent surprise to scientists back home on Earth.

Synaesthesia Loop: Over at nautil.us, Heather Sparks summarizes the cymatic art of Jeff Louviere and Vanessa Brown. They took pictures of what different notes look like (see above) when stimulating “ink-black water,” and then turned those images back into sound, using the software Photosounder.

Audiophile Update: The whole notion of what “home audio” means is experiencing a continuing shift of late, as listening becomes — for better and worse — as much a subject for gadgets as producing sound: Google Home, it’s listening-enabled tech hub, now supports multiple users, by recognizing their independent voices; Amazon, in a race with Google Home, has made its AI available to chatbot developers; and in case neither of those instances raise privacy concerns for you, a lawsuit alleges that Bose wireless headphones spy on their users.

Womb Tune: An artificial womb, currently being tested on lamb fetuses, is being considered for gestating humans. As Jessica Hamzelou writes at newscientist.com, the parent-oriented item would allow “parents to communicate sounds to the baby and to see it with a camera.””

Sound Material: The miracle substance graphene, the world’s reported strongest material, has numerous gee-whiz applications, ranging from desalinating sea water to cleaning up radioactive waste. It also has sonic potential, according to a paper (at nature.com) by M. S. Heath & D. W. Horsell. Check it out for details on thermoacoustics.

Noise Central: Three of the noisiest cities on the planet are in one country, India, according to a report in indiatimes.com. This coincided with the attempts to institute an annual “No-Horn Day” (thehindu.com).

This first appeared, in slightly different form, in the May 2, 2017, edition of the free Disquiet “This Week in Sound”email newsletter: tinyletter.com/disquiet.

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