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.

tag: score

Cues: Martinez/Refn, Memory Prosthetic, Summer Camp …

Plus: "Deviant Wear," ambient art, Sakamoto in the forest, and more

20130709-refn-thailand

â—¼ Martinez + Refn + Thailand: Perhaps not every sequel that relocates to Thailand is a disappointment. The score to Only God Forgives (screen shot above) by Cliff Martinez (film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn) is streaming in full at pitchfork.com. Martinez scored Refn’s previous movie, Drive. Working with Martinez are Gregory Tripi and Mac Quayle (who between them collaborated with him on such films as Contagion, Arbitrage, Spring Breakers, and Drive). There’s also Thai pop music, and two of the Martinez tracks are orchestral works performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. The movie is set in Bangkok and stars Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas. A less than promising report by Manohla Dargis (at nytimes.com) from the Cannes Film Festival notes the centrality of wallpaper to the movie: “There are a lot of opportunities to examine that wallpaper with its repeating pattern ”“ nonfigurative swirls with teethlike serrations suggestive of a dragon.” The description could apply to the pulsing, ambient Martinez score as well.

â—¼ Sound Design in Product Design: “This could sense the sound levels in the room, and then gradually nudge you to turn over a bit,”Drexel Design Futures Lab director and assistant professor Nicole Koltic tells cbslocal.com of a robotic mattress. Koltic is describing a work in an exhibit at the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery in West Philadelphia. The exhibit features projects by six master’s students in the Interior Architecture and Design program at Drexel. Also in the show is “Memory Prosthetic”by Sarah Moores:

“The memory prosthetic is a wearable device that records an audio track when there is a detectable physiological change in the wearer. This thesis speculates on how memories form through emotional connections to events and the integration of technology and biological responses to enhance our awareness of these connections. The design scenario consists of a wearable device that records events with the assistance of biofeedback and a listening pod, which plays back the audio to enhance meditative reflection on selected moments throughout the day.”

And “Deviant Wear”by Kim Brown:

“The pervasiveness of handheld computing has shifted how we experience and interact with our environment and filtered the physical world through a digital screen. This project explores strategies for encouraging ambulatory exploration of the urban landscape through experimental prototyping with environmental sensors, physical feedback and audio graffiti.”

More on the exhibit at drexel.edu. The show runs from July 5 through July 21, 2013.

â—¼ Ambient Art: Tim Griffin, executive director and chief curator of the Kitchen, curated the current show at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery. Titled “ambient,” the exhibit collates work by Liz Deschenes, Olafur Eliasson, Susan Goldman, Mary Heilmann, Nathan Hylden, Sherrie Levine, Tristan Perich, Seth Price, Nick Relph, Haim Steinbach, and Alex Waterman in an attempt to locate a parallel to Brian Eno’s initial sense of ambient music. A quote from the liner notes to Eno’s Discreet Music album serves as a touchstone for the exhibit. It runs from June 20 through July 26, 2013. To quote from part of the exhibit text:

“If ambient music emerged decades ago as an artistic mode revolving around dislocations and relaxations of authorship–and quasi-reversals of figure and landscape, foreground and background–perhaps this proposition may usefully be expanded today, in a manner pertaining not only to objects of art but contemporary ways of looking (and their tenuousness between artistic periods).”

â—¼ Listen About Listening: Seth S. Horowitz, author of The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind, is interviewed on kuow.org about how to be a better listener. Horowitz is the chief scientist at neuropop.com, a sonic consultancy. He has an account at soundcloud.com/universalsense.

â—¼ Flora Magic Orchestra: Ryuichi Sakamoto unveils his Forest Symphony at the elegant forestsymphony.ycam.jp website: “Ryuichi Sakamoto will produce music on the basis of bioelectric potential data gathered from trees around the world. In line with this potential data, environmental information of each tree’s distribution will be added and the tree’s link with the music will be presented visually under the visual direction of Shiro Takatani.” It’s part of the 10th anniversary of the Yamaguchi Center for Art and Media.

â—¼ Sound Art Summer Camp: If you’re in the Dallas, Texas, area and are (or have) a pre/teen, there’s a sound art summer camp. It runs from July 15-19, 1-4pm, and is for ages 10-18: “During this camp, students will learn to make a self-portrait by recording and combining the sounds of their daily lives.” More on the camp at oilandcotton.bigcartel.com. The series is run by Chaz Underriner, more from whom at chazunderriner.com. Found via the “moms” section of dmagazine.com.

Also tagged , , , , , / / Leave a comment ]

John Parish on Film Music (MP3)

An audio interview from Resonance FM

Resonance FM’s OST show — that’s original soundtrack — broadcast has posted an audio interview with John Parish, alumni of PJ Harvey’s activities, on the subject of his film score work, recently collected by the Thrill Jockey label, a project mentioned here back in early March. The music, much of which is sampled over the course of the interview, has touches of Angelo Badalamenti, Jon Brion, and Ennio Morricone, but also charts its own course, navigating the Scylla and Charybdis of instrumental pop and sound design (MP3). Parish talks about the instrumentation that helps him achieve his sounds, and the benefits of minimal recording settings in film music (“it becomes nothing because there’s everything there,”he says of over-stuffed Hollywood movie scores).

[audio:https://ia801703.us.archive.org/23/items/OST13thApril2013JohnParish_201304/OST13thApril2013JohnParish.mp3|titles=“Resonance FM Interview (April 2013)”|artists=John Parish]

Track originally posted for free download at resonancefm.com.

Also tagged , , / / Leave a comment ]

Cues: Oliveros Listens, MoMA Limelight, Arup Acoustics

Plus: Amon Tobin ISAM pre-show stream, new CC netlabel, movie trailers, more

â—¼ Bill Forman interviews deep-listening legend Pauline Oliveros at csindy.com:

Q: I’m wondering what advice you might have for people who think of more experimental music as, you know, quote-unquote difficult. What sorts of things should they be listening for, in order to better appreciate it?

A: Well, I think the best thing to do would be to get something that disturbs them, and play it over and over again, until they’re no longer disturbed.

Q: You’re not gonna get many people to do that.

A: Well, you know, it’s up to them. But the experience is worth it. Because you find out quick that the more familiar something becomes, the more interested you are.

â—¼ New York’s MoMa is doing a big sound art show later this year. “Soundings: A Contemporary Score” will run from August 10 through November 3, per nytimes.com. The show’s curator, Barbara London, made a comment in the New York Times piece — “Sound has come into the limelight”— that is either synaesthetically coy or, more likely, a prime example of how sound continues to labor in the, shall we say, shadow of the visual.

â—¼ The following conversation appears in a flashback between the title character in the CBS TV series The Good Wife (Julianna Margulies‘ Alicia Florrick) and her deceased client, Matthew Ashbaugh, played by John Noble, who played Walter Bishop on Fringe. Like Bishop, Noble’s Good Wife character has an emotional and obsessive association with recorded sound. He carries with him little speakers that play back the same Bach piece over and over:

Florrick: “You travel with your own soundtrack?”

Noble: “Yes. Don’t you?”

The episode was titled “Death of a Client” and first aired March 24, 2013.

â—¼ The global engineering consultancy Arup has launched arupconnect.com, a website-as-magazine about its endeavors. Arup has a large acoustic practice, with a particular emphasis on performance spaces. In a post from late last year, Anne Guthrie, who works in the New York office, explores the idea of “acoustics for musicians,” which is predicated on the observation that much work by acousticians focused on the needs of the audience, at the expense of the needs of the performer: “Today, acoustic technology is faster and more complex, allowing us to recreate the entire experience of playing in multiple halls in a single room. In Arup’s SoundLab, several acousticians — including Iain Laird in Scotland and Terence Caulkins, Kathleen Stetson, and me in New York — have been working to develop a system where musicians can come into the lab and play in any hall or room in real time.”

â—¼ Amon Tobin has posted an example of the nearly hour-long audio that the recent shows on his ISAM tour have been playing before the curtain rises. It’s streaming-only, over at soundcloud.com/amon-tobin. Found via amontobin.com/news. In a note, Tobin explains that Jamie Harley (“long time friend and collaborator in sound”) has been mixing this music live:

â—¼ C. Reider has launched a new netlabel, focused on supporting work that employs a Creative Commons license allowing for derivative works. Great URL, too: deriv.cc.

â—¼ Over at newyorker.com, Ian Crouch explores the “dunnhhh” sound that is in so many movie trailers these days. Correspondence on Twitter between critic Geeta Dayal and Echo Nest’s Brian Whitman rightly questioned some of Crouch’s language, in particular the phrase “accursed bass drone.” One thing Crouch doesn’t mention is how sound in the Prometheus trailer linked the film back to the original trailer for Alien.

â—¼ The One Hello World project by Jared Brickman, whose hour-long ambient piano work served as the basis for the 65th Disquiet Junto project, has been awarded a 2013 Webby for “net art.” This is the One Hello World project’s summary: “Leave me a voicemail and I’ll write music behind your narrative. Call it a soundtrack to your thoughts.”

â—¼ The great io9.com website has posted crazy images from the Japanese album of the Lost in Space soundtrack and, separately, asks, “Why do so many electric things hum?”

â—¼ Also via i09.com, this is (streaming-only, no download) an “auditory representation of the Big Bang” by physicist John Cramer, who “produced the audio by mapping sound frequencies to the changes detected over time in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation”:

â—¼ SoundCloud had a pretty funny April Fools joke in the form of “the dropometer” (blog.soundcloud.com):

20130414-dropometer

â—¼ If you use SoundCloud and have an about.me page, they now play together well. Unfortunately, for the time being, if you also have a blog whose feed you want to include, as I do at about.me/marc.weidenbaum, then you have to choose between that and a SoundCloud embed.

â—¼ And this is pretty nifty. The official help page on soundcloud.com about the Groups functionality uses the Disquiet Junto as a visual. (Thanks to Guy Birkin for letting me know.)

Also tagged , , , , , , , , / / Comment: 1 ]

Cues: Jozef Van Wissem Per Rosanne Cash, Mike Patton Scores Derek Cianfrance

Plus: Celluloid heroes, Hearts of Space, Warren Ellis, more

â—¼ Part two of the two-part history of Celluloid Records is now streaming online, via strut-records.com:

â—¼ Mike Patton’s score to The Place Beyond the Pines is streaming in full at pitchfork.com. The film stars Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, and Bradley Cooper, and was directed by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine). There’s also an interview a the site. In addition to 12 original cues from Patton, the film features by Arvo Pärt and Ennio Morricone, among others.

â—¼ The soft launch of music critic Michael Azzerad’s new website, The Talkhouse (at thetalkhouse.com), included Laurie Anderson on Animal Collective and Vijay Iyer on Flying Lotus. Rosanne Cash describes Jim Jarmusch and Jozef Van Wissem’s The Mystery of Heaven as sounding “like Ennio Morricone and Brian Eno got in a fight while writing the music for a spaghetti western.” According to press materials, “The Talkhouse will feature one piece on one album written by one musician each day, five days a week. On weekends, the site will feature a long-form music feature piece written by artists across many genres: film, comedy, literature, etc.” Azerrad is the author of Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 and Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana. The site is still listed as being in beta.

â—¼ In his occasional email newsletter, Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, Red, Gun Machine) talked a bit about the excellent Spektrmodule podcast (“ambient, sleepy and haunted musics,” in his description) that he concatenates. The latest episode, number 17, includes music by Pausal and Paul Hillier’s Theatre of Voices.

â—¼ There’s a three-day ambient-music convention/conference, titled AMBIcon, to be held from May 3 – 5 in San Rafael, California. It is taking place to note several milestones for the Hearts of Space, which began in 1973 at KPFA-FM in Berkeley and celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The show began national syndication in 1983, and earlier this had its 1,000th broadcast. There will be eight surround-sound performances by Hans Christian, Stephan Micus, Jeff Pearce, Robert Rich, Steve Roach, Michael Stearns, Stellamara, and Tim Story, a Q&A session moderated by Stephen Hill (the series’ host and co-founder), and a presentation by Mark Prendergast, author of the book The Ambient Century. More details at hos.com.

â—¼ There were 19 tracks produced for the 64th Disquiet Junto project, which ended last night at 11:59 pm. The project involved the theme of “composing from memory.” … Also, I finally put together a set of the 25 extant tracks from the 14th Junto project, which involved sonic versions of the comic that served as the starting point for Matt Madden’s Oulipo/Oubapa comic, 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style.

Also tagged , , , , , , / / Leave a comment ]

Stems: Listening to Carruth, Mansell, and The New Republic

Plus: Matmos' toolset, sound design tips, the culture of rhythm, Sherlock's scanner ...

¶ Primer Directive: The complete score of Shane Carruth’s film Upstream Color is streaming for free, 15 tracks in total. Extended stretches of the film are devoid of dialog, and the natural sound and music, along with the visuals, are left to do the storytelling. As Jascha Hoffman tweeted shortly after seeing the film at its Sundance debut, “Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color : plot // William Basinski’s tape loops : song form.”

¶ Stoked About Stoker: “At the beginning of Stoker, India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) tells us she can hear things more clearly than most people, a talent that is quickly apparent seeing as every noise and sound in India’s life is amplified.” That’s from the opening of Allison Loring’s appreciation of the sound design and score of the new Park Chan-Wook film, with music by Clint Mansell as well as a song from Emily Wells and a new piano piece by Philip Glass — at filmschoolrejects.com.

¶ URL Earmarks: This is pretty intriguing. The recent redesign of the website of The New Republic (newrepublic.com) includes a button that will read out loud the text on the page. Like buttons for Twitter and Facebook, for email and “save to PDF,” this is almost certainly going to be a UI/UX norm. So far, however, per this screenshot, it seems largely to be “coming soon”:

201302-newrepub

¶ In Brief: “Lost within the act of listening, I give attention to that which is often ignored: the high-pitched silence of a winter day; the whir of a movie projector displaying a silent film; the cavernous echo inside a museum. ” That’s from the latest post at the blog Phonomnesis, by John Kannenberg, sound artist and founder of the Stasisfield netlabel. ¶ Ethan Hein has posted a six-slide presentation about the extent to which rhythm is a cultural construct. That he is a new father is clearly an impetus for his exploration: slideshare.net. ¶ “Too loud? Sorry. I went downstairs to get some cereal. Didn’t want to miss anything. The city has excellent scanner apps but, um, there’s nothing like the tactility of the original devices, all those dials and buttons.” That’s Sherlock Holmes, as played by Jonny Lee Miller, in episode six (“Flight Risk”) of the first season of Elementary. The scene is on youtube.com:

20130224-sholmeselementary

¶ Many thanks to Peggy Nelson of hilobrow.com for having highlighted the Disquiet Junto’s end-of-2012 audio journal project. ¶ A tour of Matmos’ studio at xlr8r.com. ¶ List (at indiewire.com) of tips from top-rank sound designers has broad applications. Among the tips: “Decide if sound or music should do the heavy lifting in every scene” and “Too many sonic elements can be confusing.”

Also tagged , , , , , / / Leave a comment ]