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.

Sunset Before the Sunset

In advance of the 524th Disquiet Junto project

The neighborhood went full on Ralph McQuarrie mode this evening. I’m not usually one to post sunset photos, but this one is quite appealing to me, and it seemed fitting, since tomorrow’s Disquiet Junto project will also involve a sunset.

Tag: / Leave a comment ]

This Week in Sound: Fake Birds, Fake Radio, Early Chimes

A lightly annotated clipping service

These sound-studies highlights of the week are lightly adapted from the January 10, 2022, issue of the free weekly email newsletter This Week in Sound (

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.

This New York Times story by Anthony Ham about the rediscovery of the Australian ghost bird includes the tantalizing statement that the person who did so has been charging in the past with having “faked audio recordings of the birds.” And people thought the big concern about deepfakes was in politics.

Great piece by Louis Chude-Sokei, a professor of English at Boston University, on using your ears when you travel: “I’ve been in cities and towns in Africa where a brutal, deafening din seemed to have no impact on the residents at all and in seaside locales in the Caribbean where the lull of water made people endlessly irritated.”
(Via Rob Walker’s Art of Noticing email newsletter)

“At a crucial moment during 2020’s racial justice protests, Seattle police exchanged a detailed series of fake radio transmissions about a nonexistent group of menacing right-wing extremists,” reports Daniel Beekman.
(Via subtopes)

The Ring line of residential products now has a sensor that can alert you if it recognizes the sound of breaking glass. Cue the Nick Lowe.

“Much ‘early chime development’was done in California.” The chimes refered to in this piece by Tessa McLean are doorbells. She’s quoting expert Tim Wetzel on the subject of longbells. “I think there is sort of a zen to ringing the doorbell and hearing a nice door chime on the inside,” says Robert Dobrin, founder of the company ElectraChime, “because it bridges the inside with the outside and invites the visitor into your home.”
(Thanks, Lowell Goss!)

KQED has sonification of the data of snowfall in California’s Donner Pass for the past half century:
(Thanks, Mara Wildfeuer!)

The company Eargo has made a name for itself with hearing aids that are barely visible. Now, writes J. Trew, they’re getting more sophisticated: “the company claims its proprietary algorithm can automatically sense your surroundings and the hearing aids will automatically optimize themselves to give you the best settings for it.”

“You’ll also no longer be able to change your Speaker Group volume using your phone’s physical volume button.” Such is one of the results of a ruling in favor of Sonos in a patent lawsuit against Google, per Lauren Goode: “The lawsuit is especially fraught considering that Sonos and Google are still partners in technology: Sonos’ newer smart speakers can be controlled by Google’s voice assistant, something Sonos was compelled to integrate after it found itself years behind in developing its own AI-powered voice assistant.”

“Our improved understanding of underwater sounds on coral reefs might help scientists keep track of how these ecosystems are faring,” writes Iain Barber, Deputy Dean, School of Animal, Rural & Environmental Sciences, Nottingham Trent University.

“The Cradle 1.0 listening blocker prevents your smartphone from hearing your conversations and those annoying times it accidentally activates when it’s not supposed to. Whether it’s on your nightstand, your desk at work, or in the living room while watching TV, rest assured your smartphone won’t hear a thing.”

The Clubhouse app (first on iOS, then Android) now works in browsers. Filipe Espósito thinks this may be too little, too late: “While this is definitely important in helping the platform become more popular, it may be too late for Clubhouse as it has been losing ground to competitors like Twitter Spaces – which has been available on iOS, Android, and the web for a while now.”

A new, pandemic-era mask can protect you and “amplify your voice by 60 decibels up to one meter away,” writes I. Bonifacic. The mask comes from the company Razer, most associated with video game equipment, as the mask’s design shows.

Tag: / Leave a comment ]

The GitHub in My Life

A piece I wrote for the January 2022 issue of The Wire

This piece appeared in the January 2022 issue of The Wire as part of its look back at 2021:

One of my favorite records of the year was released by a company that makes guitar pedals. Several other favorites collected samples (atmospheres, beats) whose intended audience was musicians, though those samples are eminently listenable on their own. Many of my 2021 favorites included heartfelt thanks to the hardware and software developers whose engineering was part of the musicians’ creative process. Sometimes those expressions were merely admirative; often they revealed working relationships.

In all such cases, the releases were meaningfully proximate to the practitioners’ own working lives, minimizing any reliance on record label mediation. Throughout 2021, conversations between participants flourished not just on formal social media (Twitter, Facebook), but in niche safe harbors using platforms like Discord, Discourse, and Slack. (Much as the aged email newsletter had its revival, so too has the BBS.)

In a given week you might spy Lloyd Cole on asking for iOS app advice, or Robin Rimbaud on YouTube answering a comment about technique, or the Who’s Pete Townshend singing the praises of a virtual synth’s engineer on Instagram. GitHub, long the shared virtual workspace of coders, provides a window on collaborations both within and between projects thanks to pull requests that evidence input from users. Listening in on these conversations, and sometimes participating, has been one of the year’s great pleasures.

Tags: , / Leave a comment ]

Sound Ledger¹ (Privacy, Insulation, Birds)

Audio culture by the numbers

1262: The specific California Assembly bill (AB-1262) addressing privacy in regard to voice recognition

6.2: The value, in billions of U.S. dollars, estimated for the global building acoustic insulation market by 2028

35: The percent decrease in number of species of birds sighted at the Okhla Sanctuary in India, due in part to noise pollution

▰ ▰ ▰

¹Footnotes: Privacy: Insulation: Birds:

Originally published in the January 10, 2022, edition of the This Week in Sound email newsletter (

Tags: , / Leave a comment ]

Weekly Beats 2022

"Three Clock Problem"

I’m gonna give the Weekly Beats series ( another go this year. It’s a great online community, one where people post their tracks and comment on each other’s. Unlike with the Disquiet Junto and other communities, there is no required compositional prompt, though folks do propose such things in the WB forums.

My first Weekly Beats recording of the year, “Three Clock Problem,” is a simple drone (yeah, yeah, arguably beat-less) I put together in VCV Rack 2. A series of quantized pitches are sent through a reverb that has a wide array of controls. Rather than one consistent clock, there are three clocks, one at a time, that are triggering the quantizing, including whether or not it’s even running. Due to the reverb’s generous spaciousness, there’s never a gap. It’s quite simple. The foundation of this originated from a patch by Omri Cohen. Recorded in Audio Hijack from the system sounds, with the fade out introduced in Audition.

Tag: / Leave a comment ]