Posts in Category: sound

Music Monday

Archives: June 11, 2012 | Berkeley, CA

I was lucky enough to hear – no, wander around in – a performance of John Luther Adams‘ Inuksuit. The piece is written for 9 to 99 players, and like many of Adams’ works, was composed to be performed and experienced spatially. Players spread out across the performance area, the music itself is additive/reductive, and the listener gets to make a choice: do I sit, do I wander, or both?

I choose to wander. This choice, in addition to the very aleatoric nature of the music means no two performances could ever be alike, and recording is – even more than usual – a poor substitute for performance.

To get a better idea, here’s a short video. The audio I recorded has been edited for presentation. And the fife playing out front was an anttendee passing time before the performance, it is not part of the work. Inuksuit starts at roughly 40 seconds with the sounds of rubbing stones and other materials.

Music Monday

My wife, wondering why I stuck an audio recorder in her face.

I don’t remember what the original purpose of this audio was but I wanted it to have some life.

I stumbled upon this old track while looking for something else. It’s a drone with some metal sparkle bits.

San Francisco Siren

Every Tuesday at noon San Francisco’s emergency sirens are tested. I captured this audio from my old rooftop in the Outer Sunset.

Sitting in front of a fire, beneath an open pavillion in the rain. It’s hard to tell what’s the crackle of fire and the patter of rain. Both are so nice I had to capture some audio.

A 5 mile walk across San Francisco. Condensed and curated.

Tracking the International Space Station from a roof in San Francisco


Traveling over 17,500mph the International Space Station (ISS) completes 15.4 orbits per day. NASA’s “Spot the Station” will alert you via email or text when the ISS will fly over your head. With your feet planted firmly on the ground, you can easily see the ISS stream across the sky, over 200 miles above. It’s amazing and inspiring and humbling all at the same time. Give it a shot. To see what the 6 ISS astronauts see, check out this live camera feed.

This piece explores my first viewing.

The sound design/music elements were created from a combination of original composition, audio captured by NASA onboard a shuttle launch, and an excerpt from “Lux aeterna” by the magnificent Polish composer Pawel Szymanski.

 

Famous Songs >> Fast Forward.

I’ve been having fun with the fast forward button on my CD player. Using classic songs that are recognizable, interesting textures can be created without losing the identity of the original.

Famous Songs >> Fast Forward.

I’ve been having fun with the fast forward button on my CD player. Using classic songs that are recognizable, interesting textures can be created without losing the identity of the original.

Famous Songs >> Fast Forward.

I’ve been having fun with the fast forward button on my CD player. Using classic songs that are recognizable, interesting textures can be created without losing the identity of the original. Enjoy, lots more to come.

Famous Songs >> Fast Forward.

I’ve been having fun with the fast forward button on my CD player. Using classic songs that are recognizable, interesting textures can be created without losing the identity of the original. Enjoy, lots more to come.

Aleatoric

The Hilliard Ensemble performing Perotin’s polyphony while an immense backhoe with steel tracks rumbles down the street.

NPR: How It Sounds

NPR

A little while back I discovered this NPR segmet, #howitsounds, that attempts to share a snapshot with sound instead of text or image. As I’m often making ambient sound recordings at home I thought it would be fun to put something together. I did, NPR published it, here you go.

Screen grab from original post above, audio file below.

In retrospect, what happened next was entirely predictable. Hundreds of people took to the comment boards to bemoan my existence. Some were kind, some were mean but at least clever, most just dull. “Trust fund brat, closeted gay, probably listens to bands no one has ever heard of, winner of the ‘most punchable face’ award,” et al. An obvious misunderstanding of the #howitsounds project and a xenophobic cultural anger permeated the comments. Since I’m a stable person I don’t seek validation or advice from strangers on the Internet. Also, something about sticks and stones and rubber and glue.

As so many things are, this became an interesting exercise in identity and self-worth. Unintentionally, the venomous commenters have only made me appreciate my fortune more. As David Foster Wallace taught me, “I am certain I am not the center of the universe,” even when the comment boards think I am.

Here’s the story for visual learners, click to embiggen:

Infographic