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.

tag: video

Buddha Machine Variations No. 40 (MBP BMV VCV)

A series of focused experiments

Been a while. This is a new entry in the occasional Buddha Machine Variations series. The previous one was about 10 months ago. This was a test run of something I’ve never done before: recording video straight off my laptop (a MacBook Pro), bypassing the microphone in favor of the internal sound. Oddly, such a routing isn’t an immediate option within macOS Monterey, so I had to use a third-party tool, in this case Loopback from Rogue Amoeba. Recorded in QuickTime. Edited in iMovie. Cover image in InDesign. The source audio is one of the tracks from the original Buddha Machine, created by the duo FM3. It’s been looped and processed in VCV Rack (this is the Pro edition, but there’s probably nothing going on in this patch you couldn’t do in the free edition, except a few of the modules may have had a fee associated with them). In any case, this was more a proof of concept, or of several concepts: (1) could the routing work, and (2) would this all happen without the new laptop’s fan turning on. In both cases: yes!

Video originally posted at There’s also a video playlist of the Buddha Machine Variations.

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Tool Provenance

A video by Non Verbal Poetry

You’ll come for the “paint can kora-harp,” a makeshift version of the ancient West African string instrument, and you’ll stay for the way its pizzicato emanations — as if from dusty, aged, still tightly wound piano wire — are squelched and refracted, tweaked and echoed, by less self-evident electronic means. This is the work of Non Verbal Poetry (aka Edinburgh, Scotland-based Fen Warder), who recorded the piece by using a delay looper to process the live performance. Like the homemade string instrument, the piece of software (titled Otis, running on a device called Norns) is a hand-coded tool based on preexisting source material, in this case the Cocoquantus, a device created by Peter Blasser.

Video originally posted on YouTube.

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Current Favorites: Score, Drone, Cover

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.

▰ The score to a short film, Jim of Earth, composed by Coma Calling, aka Kyle Cramb of Wichita, Kansas. Some richly suggestive atmospheres, full of tension and narrative.

▰ Three tracks by mora-tau, aka Takenori Iwasaki of Utsunomiya, Japan, comprise the album Memorial. The key track is the opening one, “Into Secret,” an 18-minute drone with varying textures.

▰ A synthesizer cover of Aphex Twin’s “Avril 14th” by Perplex On (based in Munich, Germany), with a musicbox-like quality to it:

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The Chimes of Edith Finch

At the start of the game

I hung out in front of the house for about 10 minutes, trying to figure out how to get in because my key didn’t work. I couldn’t get over the fence on either side of the building, I was beginning to feel a little ill, and I would have been at my wit’s end except for three things.

First, it was absolutely beautiful out in the woods, in a way I found relaxing, even though my pressing concern was to get inside the house. Second, the wind chimes around to the left of the garage melded nicely with the rural background sonic ambience. Third, this wasn’t happening in real life.

I was actually in my living room, laying on my back with my phone suspended between my two hands. I was playing a video game called Edith Finch. With my right thumb I was changing my viewpoint. With my left thumb I was moving around, or more to the point moving the in-game character around, within the forest setting of the game’s story, having already hiked in from the main road while what appeared to be a young female narrator provided some combination of memoir and exposition. This movement was what caused my sense of illness. First-person motion in video games messes with my head and my stomach. Two of my favorite games, Portal 2 and Mirror’s Edge, can send me to the couch for hours of recovery time if I play for too long, by which I mean as little as 20 minutes.

I don’t play games intensely. I’m like the guy on the European tour bus who never goes into any of the historical tour stops and instead just buys a pastry at each stop and wanders around the neighborhood. Thus, games that engage in wandering, even storytelling with fixed narrative guardrails in place, are particularly up my alley, games such as the first-person adventure that is Edith Finch.

It’s early going, and we’ll see how far I get, but I did capture this short bit of video of the wind chimes. I spent a considerable amount of time observing the chimes once I noticed them as I made my up the driveway. They came into view before they emitted any recognizable sound. This game, like all games, has that pixel-gradiated versioning of reality, where you can either be within or beyond earshot in an on-off sort of way. One step forward, they come alive. One step back, you’re just enough distanced that the system registers them as inert, out of range. They got louder as you approached, and circulated in a semi-randomness that was quite realistic, all the more so how the ersatz melody played amid the insect noise and occasional birdsong of the broader realm.

Shortly thereafter I found my way (spoiler?) into the garage, wondering if there would be some interior room tone to contrast with the outdoor sound design. Instead, a movie-like melodic cue was waiting for me. More to come, as I wander around.

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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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