New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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

Wandering in and About the Rain

Via Nomadic Ambience

Rain is something that can be thought of almost as an echo of itself. Like an extrovert who only exists when there is an audience to perform for, rain is not heard so much as it is heard in reaction to something: an umbrella, the ground, a window, or generally some other surface that it strikes. There is also the way rain combines with the sound of wind, and how cloud cover and other related factors can utterly alter the broader sonic environment: dulling edges, nurturing a sense of closed space, walling off further distant noises.

That’s a case made clear in this video from the always on the move Nomadic Ambience (834,000 subscribers on YouTube as of this writing), who wandered around Chicago on a rainy day and captured not just the rain as heard against the protective gear that keeps the camera lens dry, but also as it bounces off the sidewalk, and creates slick streets and shallow puddles that cars turn into sound sources as they pass by.

The video captures some thunderstorm noise, and various urban sounds, one highlight being a tour guide aboard a boat that passes under a bridge just as we, the viewer experiencing this all YouTube-vicariously, cross midway: “It’s a very well-designed building” goes the narration, before trailing off, absorbed by the whir of the rain.

Video originally posted at YouTube.

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Domestic Activity

Sound travel journal

▰ Ceiling fan whir + dishwasher racket + domestic HVAC drone = the lofi DJ Krush jam I didn’t know I’ve been looking for.

▰ It’s strange enough to be in the house you grew up in after this long, not just pandemic long, but life long. It’s stranger still for the old home to have, per chance, the same make of dishwasher you have in your current home. Thus, when the beep at the end of the cycle goes off, you have, briefly, no idea where you are.

▰ When a call comes, at least four lines ring out on two different floors, and the place is full, almost brazenly, with the once ubiquitous noise of the house phone. The last refuges of the landline are abundant with it.

▰ The one seemingly obvious thing this house alarm doesn’t do is tell you, upon entering, whether or not it is on (or, as the militaristic lingo goes: armed). A simple pair of opposed tones would more than suffice.

▰ It’s been a very long day, starting work in native New York time and ending in gone-native California time, all while you’ve been sitting still. You go for a walk in a suburban dark that swallows up much of the street lamps’ efforts. Waiting for the signal to change in your favor at an intersection, you glance up at a residence that predates the American Revolution. There is one light on, on the top floor. Through the partially closed shades you can see a violent single player shooter raging. The oncoming cars still have the right of way. The room briefly goes dark, and then the screen illuminates again. Even from a distance, you can tell some sort of character-review stage has been called up. There is no sound. The window is shut. The room goes dark again, and then the violence proceeds. And you continue your walk further into the night.

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Current Favorites: Cocolas, KMRU, Haas/Laswell

Heavy rotation, lightly annotated

A weekly(ish) answer to the question “What have you been listening to lately?” It’s lightly annotated because I don’t like re-posting material without providing some context. I hope to write more about some of these in the future, but didn’t want to delay sharing them. (I haven’t done one of these in a while, and should get back in the habit.)

▰ Madeleine Cocolas’s 17-minute “Nebulous”, a new release on the Superpang label, is a suite that moves from sonic cumulus to UFO drones to cinematic minimalism.

▰ KMRU’s “For Sure I Saw Him” is a standout track from As It Still Is, his recent set of ambient maximalism.

▰ A new collaboration between Alex Haas and Bill Laswell, the eight tracks of Incidents are dubby electronica with ghostly funk echoes.

Tag: / Leave a comment ] SFO -> JFK

From the past week

I do this manually each Saturday, collating most of the tweets I made the past week at, which I think of as my public notebook. Some tweets pop up in expanded form or otherwise on sooner. It’s personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud.

▰ At SFO, about to board a plane for the first time since March 2020. I’d track the travel-related sounds, but I’ve got some solid noise-cancelling headphones on, and I think I’m gonna stay inside my cozy sensory bubble. That’s a sonic story unto itself. Headed to NY to see family.

▰ Outside the JFK terminal, car after car pulls up, its driver speaking on a phone while looking to the curb. Each of us, traveling solo, knows a car with someone speaking behind glass will arrive for us. When it does, we nod goodbye to each other, having never actually said hello.

▰ What I learned when I returned from my weekend Twitter break is you can put work into expressing your thoughts and observations as tweets. Or you can just list a bunch of numbers, and then nearly 200 people will click the heart button, and many will reply and chat. So be it.

▰ I have a great Grendel sketch. I was at Comic-Con and Artists Alley was pretty packed, but Matt Wagner’s table had no one at it except him. He was just sitting there. I walked over and told him how much I liked his work and asked if he’d draw a sketch. Wagner said yes and for some reason he assumed I wanted him to draw Batman. I told him no, I wanted Grendel. He was somewhat surprised, happily so, and drew it for me. I love the picture, even though the memory always makes me a little sad.

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Revisiting Some Texture

Part of my ongoing live ambient performance playlist

Listen through the shimmer. Listen through the held tones, and the bell tones, and the swelling notes. Listen past the asynchronous patterning and the resulting chance chordal play. Listen instead for the frictives, the less sinuous textural elements, the way vinyl surface noise (or its approximate) moves across the stereo field. Listen for the clatter, and how it lends a sense of scale to the sonic space. Then listen to the more tonal material, and how the presence of the less inherently sedative elements bring out textures in the seemingly texture-less.

I don’t think I’ve re-upped a recording in a while, but I just love this piece, so having written about it back in April, I wanted to mention it again. This video is part of my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine live ambient performances. Video originally posted to YouTube by the talented Jae Ryan.

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