Sunday, 18 December 2011

Interesting Articles on Sound

Why we love sounds of the city jungle - Hitting the right notes is more effective than noise reduction in making life less stressful

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Public Information

Frederick Charles Judd (1914-1992)

Inventor, proselytiser of early British electronic music.

Practical Electronica: A Trailer from Public Information on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Patience (After Sebald) - Grant Gee

Patience (After Sebald)
is a multi-layered film essay on landscape, art, history, life and loss by the acclaimed documentary film-maker Grant Gee. It is an exploration of the work and influence of German writer WG Sebald (1944 – 2001), told via a long walk through coastal East Anglia tracking his most famous book The Rings of Saturn. The book mixed history, travelogue, memoir, meditation, fiction and images to explore the personal, public and often overlooked histories of Suffolk.

Sebald has profoundly influenced some of today's leading writers, thinkers and artists. Some of these – interviewed for the film include Adam Philips, Robert Macfarlane, Rick Moody and Tacita Dean.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Hildegard Westerkamp’s 'Kits Beach Soundwalk'

Kits beach soundwalk an aural meditation

A walk on Kits Beach will never be the same after you listen to Hildegard Westerkamp’s “Kits Beach Soundwalk.” You may have often paused to admire a pretty seashell or a dreamy cloud formation, but when was the last time you stopped to listen to the barnacles?

Westerkamp is a sound composer; she records ambient noises and edits them to produce original works. One of the sounds highlighted in her Kits Beach piece is the clicking made when water recedes from a barnacle-covered rock. We’ve all it; few have noticed it.

“Once you record, your ear shifts tremendously,” Westerkamp explains.

“Just as looking through a camera you see the world differently, when you begin to record you hear the world differently.”

Westerkamp began working with ambient sound through Vancouver Soundscape, a recording project undertaken in 1973 by a group of SFU composers and academics, and led by composer R. Murray Schafer.

Follow this fantastic link to inspire you to get away from the computer and go on soundwalk of your own today

Soundscape Vancouver Documentary

Soundscape Documentary feat.Vancouver B.C
thanks Vancouver and all it sounds.
Andres Santana

Monday, 24 October 2011

Sonorous City - London Soundscape Project

Sonorous City is an immersive surround-sound installation exploring the relationship between the soundscape and our perception of the urban environment. A series of soundwalks stemming from the River Thames form the basis of the work, which reveals an experience of London lead by the ear.

Sonorous City is the result of a 2 year (part-time) MA research project in Digital Arts.

Steve Barsottii

Steve Barsottiis a Seattle based improviser, sound artist, instrument inventor and educator. His work explores notions of reduced listening through close examinations of easily bypassed sonic details; sounds that can only be heard through contact microphones and amplification or the sonic qualities of materials and objects found in everyday life. He invites the listener to forgo an attempt at literal connections with the sounds and to focus on the sounds in and of themselves. Steve is chair of the Pacific Northwest Society for Acoustic Ecology.

Sound in the City

University of Warwick Professor Paul Jennings is leading a team researching how sound affects the perception of environments, which people have generally seen as full of unwanted noise. Professor Jennings suggests that the right sound has many positive aspects and should be considered in the design of urban soundscapes and buildings such as hospitals.

Friday, 21 October 2011

A Silent Swaying Breath

A while ago I submitted a small sample of a recording which I had made with my hydrophone on holiday in St. Ives. Audio gourmet were proposing that anyone could donate a sound which they would then use to create an album which would be compiled in order to help those people whose livelihoods were effected by the riots which occured accross the UK several months ago. I think me sample of the air pockets in the sand, which occur when the tide is at it's highest, feature on the track titled 'Dust, Illuminated', however it is rather hard to tell as there seems to have been quite a lot of post production. Well, here is a link to the album which would be great if you wanted to donate some money to the cause whilst also obtaining a tantalizing collection of strange and ephemeral sounds.

SoundFjord, Audio Gourmet's Harry Towell (Spheruleus) and Bartosz Dziadosz (Pleq) have come together to curate an album created "by the people, for the people", to raise funds for those that has beenaffected by the recent unrest that ravaged cities across the country.

The album, a statement and monument to collaboration and community, brings together works selected from short unedited recordings gleaned from artists, musicians and the general public across the globe.

Spheruleus and Pleq sensitively weave together an eclectic selection of field recordings, samples, spoken word pieces and instrumentation, creating momentous emotional landscapes for the listener, delicate, tender moments and most of all, a yearning tumult of haunting quietude: a silent, swaying breath.

All profits raised by sales of this album go towards assisting thosethat have lost their homes and livelihoods and to provideopportunities for philanthropy, creative expression and collaboration within local community projects.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Athanasius Kircher SJ - 'Musurgia Universalis', 1650.

Online at the University of Strasbourg

"Kircher's best-remembered work is also his second largest. Musurgia Universalis is an exhaustive compendium of musical knowledge at the transition point between sacred renaissance polyphony and secular Baroque music. Much of Musurgia is dedicated to a survey of contemporary music, including the first published mention of the baroque 'doctrine of the affections' in which music is ideally analogous to human emotions. Many surviving compositions by Frescobaldi, Froberger and other baroque masters are due to Kircher's extensive transcriptions and reproductions of scores in Musurgia. Kircher speculates on the music of early cultures and reproduces a melody he claimed to have seen on a manuscript in Sicily dating back to ancient Greece, making it (if authentic) the oldest surviving example of musical notation. A large part of the book is devoted to the history of instrumentation, including the anatomy of voice and hearing, and an extensive theory on acoustics entitled 'Magia Phonocamptica, sive de Echo', in which he described sound as 'the ape of light'.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Dan Knight - Sound Sculpture

The Trust made its latest award to Dan Knight in 2010. It takes us into a new area for the Trust – a mixture of craft and performance. This is partly what attracted us to Dan’s proposal. Dan wanted to build a bottle-organ and give a public charity performance with a newly commissioned piece. What also attracted us were the proposal’s simplicity, modesty and clarity of purpose. Dan describes his work as

“…. sculpture that transforms energy to create movement, sound and light and my work can often be manipulated by a viewer. I am also interested in waste and detritus and giving things a new life.”

He built his first organ 11 years ago and experimented with different versions then

I had the idea to make a big version that has every note that can be got from a bottle and I had the vision to make it like a small room that you can go inside and be surrounded by the sound.”

Monday, 3 October 2011

Glasgow Speakers Corner

Glasgow's first ever "Speaker's Corner" will launch on the 10th of July, and every Sunday thereafter, located at the fountain (near the Skate Park) in Kelvin grove Park in the West End of Glasgow; between the times of 12pm - 4pm.

A Speakers’ Corner is an area where open-air speaking, debate and discussion are allowed. Members of the public can stand up and make a speech on any subject as long as it is considered lawful - this is the same right to free speech which applies to everyone in Britain. The one in the north-east corner of Hyde Park, next to Marble Arch in the centre of London, is more than 150-years-old and is renowned throughout the world. Throughout history orators to frequent Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner included revolutionaries Karl Marx, George Orwell and trade union leader Ben Tillett. Other cities in Britain are now known to have their own Speakers’ Corners including Leeds, at Victoria Gardens in front of the Leeds City Art Gallery, and in Nottingham at the Old Market Square. But no UK cities have been as successful as London in their quest to create an open-air speech area for the public. The debate spots also exist in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, and in Sydney, Australia. Glasgow has never had its own Speakers’ Corners but organisers hope it will capture the imagination of the city.

Our aim is to promote public debate and active citizenship, which is essential to rebuilding trust and participation in Britain’s civil society and developing vibrant civil institutions. The Glasgow’s speaker’s corner should become an influential and long lasting aspect of Glasgow.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Alchemists of Sound

The BBC's Radiophonic Workshop was set up in 1958, born out of a desire to create 'new kinds of sounds'. Alchemists of Sound looks at this creative group from its inception, through its golden age when it was supplying music and effects for cult classics like Doctor Who, Blake's Seven and Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, and charts its fading away in 1995 when, due to budget cuts, it was no longer able to survive.

For the full documentary click here...

There are interviews with composers from the Workshop, as well as musicians and writers who have been inspired by the output. Great archive footage of the Workshop and its machinery is accompanied by excerpts of the, now cult, TV programmes that featured these sounds.

NoiseGard – This is how it works

The NoiseGard™ technology developed by Sennheiser is used in many cockpits all over the world. It is based on the principle that unwanted low-frequency noise can be eliminated by adding phase-inverted anti-noise. Fot this, small microphones (usually in the ear cups) pick up the ambient noise. The NoiseGard™ electronics then generate an identical signal – but phase-inverted by 180°. Thus the two noise signal waves cancel each other out to a very large extend, and music can be enjoyed to the full.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Oramics to Electronica: Revealing Histories of Electronic Music

Today I went with a friend to visit the Science musuem which has an evolving exhibition detailing the history and development of electronic music. I had previously heard of Delia Derbyshire who had worked at the BBC radiophonic workshop which was created in 1958 and enjoyed a very successful 30 years or producing stange new sounds which were most notably used in Dr. Who. However this was the first time I had heard of Daphne Oram and found the display to be quite exhilirating.

Electronic music is everywhere, from the television that we watch to the music we listen to in clubs and even the ringtones on our mobile phones. But who created these electronic sounds? And how did electronic music develop?

The Oramics Machine is a revolutionary music synthesiser that was created in the 1960s by Daphne Oram. Daphne had a strong passion for sound and electronics, and she created a visionary machine that could transform drawings into sound.

Long thought lost, the machine was recently recovered and added to the Science Museum’s collections in co-operation with Goldsmiths, University of London.

You can see rare archive footage and try out an interactive version of the Oramics Machine in the gallery.

Watch an excerpt from Oramics: Atlantis Anew, a film about the Oramics Machine from The Wire's Website:

Oramics: Atlantis Anew from The Wire Magazine on Vimeo.

Saturday, 10 September 2011


Sottovoce, now in its 4th year, is a London-based, multi-venue festival showcasing groundbreaking acts producing challenging, experimental music. Sottovoce aims to expose the experimental musical genre to new audiences whilst maintaining the familiar crowd interested in new forms of presentation.

This year the festival will be based at The Nave for Saturday and Sunday, where the festival will present 8 acts per day in two different spaces: a main resonant hall for loud acts and a church hall for acoustic sets.

Invisible Architectures

Newcastle upon Tyne, 9th – 11th September, 2011.A micro-festival exploring the invisible yet influential substrates of urban existence.


Invisible Architectures is a micro-festival exploring the invisible yet influential substrates of urban existence.

Artists, architects and writers lead guided tours & workshops that expose layers of the city that otherwise remain imperceptible, making up what we habitually refer to and perceive as background noise, ambiences or atmospheres.

Within the apparent banality of the everyday lies beauty, horror and imperceptible dynamics that influence and inform the spaces we occupy, as well as our experiences of them. Guided tours of the subtle, subliminal and subtarranean expose invisible layers of the city, drawing into the foreground that which otherwise lingers in the background. The sounds, smells, textures and electromagnetic intensity of the urban environment often pass by unnoticed; through pedestrian exploration of the uncanny underside of Newcastle upon Tyne, these layers of the city are brought to the surface.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Mamori Sound Project

6th Annual Workshop/Residency for sound artists & composers at Mamori Lake (Amazon, Brazil)/ October 2011/ 2 weeks

Mamori Sound Project is an independent residency/workshop that has been carried out in the Brazilian Amazon since 2005 by a small non-profit organization, integrated by sound artist Francisco López and the cultural association Mamori ArtLab, based in Spain and Brazil. Mamori Sound Project supports the local community at Mamori Lake (Amazonas state, Brazil) by providing jobs every year for a significant number of people in this community.

The Mamori Sound Project is a 2-week workshop/residency for professional and semi-professional sound artists and composers with previous experience in the area of sound experimentation and field recordings. It takes place at Mamori Lake, in the middle of the Brazilian Amazon, and involves theoretical/discussion presentations, field work and studio work. The workshop/residency has a special focus on creative approaches to the work with field recordings, through an extensive exploration of natural sound environments. It does not have a technical character but is instead conceived and directed towards the development and realization of a collective project of sonic creation with the interaction of all participant artists/composers. The activities of the workshop/residency include: Introductory theoretical/discussion presentation sessions on field recordings and sound creation, with a historical/philosophical perspective.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Musician's Costume

For an extensive view of many more of these fantastic etchings please visit the website Costumes grotesques et métiers de Nicolas de Larmessin

The Sound Collector

Wildlife sound recording - a personal view from Alan Burbidge
Taken from the Wildlife Sound Recording Society homepage

Sunday, 14 August 2011

David Byrne: How architecture helped music evolve

As his career grew, David Byrne went from playing CBGB to Carnegie Hall. He asks: Does the venue make the music? From outdoor drumming to Wagnerian operas to arena rock, he explores how context has pushed musical innovation.

MoKS Centre for Art and Social Practice

MoKS - Center for Art and Social Practice, is a non-profit artist-run project space in Estonia situated in the rural community of Mooste. We are located 40km southeast of Tartu and 20km west of the Russian border. With its diverse approach and open atmosphere, MoKS holds a unique position within the Estonian and greater European cultural context.

The MoKS "guest studio" was opened in 2001 as an organization dedicated to local and international cooperation in the fields of arts and environmental research in the rural context of post-soviet Estonia. Apart from managing the residency program our activities range from hosting an international arts symposium to educational workshops for artists and the local youth.

The MoKS studios are located in the newly renovated space of the manor house of the old Mooste farming estate. With its broad scope and focused environment, MoKS is the only project of its kind in Estonia.

Recent articles of interest

A Few quick links to some articles I have been looking at recently:

Instructions on how to build a Cheap Senstitive Hydrophone from the Bioacoustics & Sonar department of Loughborough University.

Get better sound from Piezo mics and pick-ups

Good contact mic for sound design

Noise & Capitalism

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Homemade Rotary Speaker

"This produces a sound a little like a Leslie speaker as used on Hammond Organs but in this case the whole speaker itself turns. I designed and built it myself and it cost me nothing!"

Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Pendulum, the Pit and Hope

The Pendulum, the Pit and Hope (Czech: Kyvadlo, jáma a naděje) is a 1983 Czechoslovak animated short film directed by Jan Svankmajer, adapted from Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Pit and the Pendulum'

Slip Rings

These lines can carry signals or many amps of power, depending on the details of implementation.

The ability to interact with motors, lighting and sensors on rotating structures opens up a lot of possibilities.

Although excellent slip rings are available commercially, (left) they may not fit well into your design. And, as with any exotic component, be ready for shocking prices and long delays.

Slip ring assembly for naval missile launcher (above)

The 2 key elements of a slip ring assembly are a ring and a "brush" (actually, 2 or more brushes are typically employed per ring). The ring rotates with respect to the brush which rides on the ring with a slight amount of downward force. Both the ring and the brush must, of course, be electrical conductors. And, the ring and brush must not destroy each other as they live a long life of sliding contact.

DIY Slip ring project using ball bearings, by Stephen Schultz

"A slip ring (in electrical engineering terms) is a method of making an electrical connection through a rotating assembly." (source:

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Ai WeiWei - Never Sorry

AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY is the first feature-length film about the internationally renowned Chinese artist and activist, Ai Weiwei. In recent years, Ai has garnered international attention as much for his ambitious artwork as his political provocations. AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY examines this complex intersection of artistic practice and social activism as seen through the life and art of China’s preeminent contemporary artist.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry TEASER from Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry on Vimeo.

From 2008 to 2010, Beijing-based journalist and filmmaker Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to Ai Weiwei. Klayman documented Ai’s artistic process in preparation for major museum exhibitions, his intimate exchanges with family members and his increasingly public clashes with the Chinese government. Klayman’s detailed portrait of the artist provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures.ei

The Great White Silence

An eerie filmed record of Captain Scott’s tragic journey to the South Pole, The Great White Silence (Herbert Ponting, 1924) was rightly acclaimed as a highlight of last year’s London Film Festival. The print had been restored to great effect: allowing us to see the vivid tints of the original film, and the Archive Gala screening featured a performance of Simon Fisher Turner’s intriguing minimalist score, which incorporated the Elysian Quartet, “found sounds”, and a haunting vocal from Alexander L’Estrange.

His part-improvised score includes some pre-recorded elements and Simon Fisher Turner has gone to great lengths to include relevant ‘found sounds’. The first was a gift from a friend, Chris Watson, who made a recording of the ambient silence in Scott’s cabin in the Antarctic. Fisher Turner has also recorded the striking of the Terra Nova ship’s bell at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge. He has even managed to track down the expedition’s original gramophone to play some of the records which were played by members of the expedition.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Burma VJ

Anders Østergaard's documentary, from the True Stories strand, captures the bravery of the young Burmese video journalists who, though risking torture and life in jail, live the essence of journalism as they insist on keeping up the flow of news from their closed country.

Armed with small handycams, the Burma VJs stop at nothing to make their reportages; their material is smuggled out of the country and broadcast back into Burma via satellite and offered as free usage for international media.

The whole world has witnessed single event clips made by the VJs, but for the very first time, their individual images have been put together with Østergaard's sparingly-used reconstruction to tell a riveting story which offers a unique insight into high-risk journalism and dissidence in a police state, while at the same time providing a thorough documentation of the historical and dramatic days of September 2007, when the Buddhist monks started marching.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Score For A Hole In The Ground

If you go down to King's Wood in Challock, be sure of a big surprise. A 7-metre tall steel horn, to be precise, in the style of an old-fashioned gramophone. The structure blends in with the surrounding beech trees, so follow your ears to find it.

The ancient, 1500 acre woodland has been chosen as the ideal site for the award winning musical sculpture.

Conceptual artist Jem Finer's latest installation is Score For A Hole in the Ground, which Jem describes as a "hybrid water instrument". A large dew pond supplies running water to an underground pit, which houses steel discs and blades of different shapes, sizes and thicknesses. As the water from the pond, or rainwater, fall onto the steel instruments, sounds are formed. The horn acts as an amplifier, but visitors can also put bamboo poles to the surface of the pit and listen that way.

The piece was the first ever winner of the PRS Foundation New Music Award but is taking the art world by storm.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Lavinia greenlaw, Audio Obscura

Lavinia greenlaw is a prize-winning poet and novelist who also writes radio drama and libretti. Recent books include a memoir, The Importance of Music to Girls, and her fourth poetry collection,The Casual Perfect, which will be published by Faber in September 2011.

Located in Manchester’s Piccadilly Station, a place where everyday dramas are constantly acted out, Audio Obscura is an aural version of the camera obscura: a framed and heightened reflection of the passing world.

Audio Obscura - trailer from Artangel on Vimeo.

In Audio Obscura, you will enter into the crowd to take part in an exploration of the overheard. What did she mean? Did he really say that? Does she realise what she is saying? You might wish you hadn’t listened or you might want to know more. You will look for stories and you might even find them.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

People of the coral triangle

James Morgan of the WWF travels to the coral triangle – a 1.6bn acre stretch in south-east Asia that is the most biodiverse marine ecosystem in the world.

There he finds the Balau Laut, one of the last nomadic marine communities in the world, having their way of life threatened. This and depleting fish stocks is driving them to destructive fishing techniques, such as using dynamite and cyanide, maiming and killing Bajau fishermen and taking the world's epicentre of coral diversity to the point of almost irreversible damage

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Fraoch Heather Ale

Whilst cycling around, I couldn't help but noticing all the fantastic smells which are in the air at the moment. I have noticed that there are a lot of Dandellion's in flower and many nettles which got me quite excited about the prospect of home-brewing using some of these locally sourced ingredients. I have just been down to Morissons to buy some nice ales and there is one in particular which stands out, the Williams Bros which is quite a fantastic brew indeed, which apparently dates as far back as 2000BC. These following videos have inspired me to go out to the highlands and do some hand-picking of my own, I should be quite busy over the next several weeks.

Interview with Williams Bros.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Learns how to Make Heather Ale

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Pedal Powered Grain Mill

There is an artist in residence oppurtunity which is being offered by the Woodlands Community Trust and the criteria are that the artist uses the back alleys around woodlands in such a way as to engage the local community.

Now, for those of you who have ever been scouting out for a bit or furniture or pc then you will know that these back alleys are generally just a bit of a dumping ground really and all this rubbish tends to get mixed up with all the mud which gathers here.
SO, all in all they are what you might conisder to be a difficult place to do anything
with, they are not particularly nice places to spend much time and tend to have a funny smell about them.

I have been considering ideas for these spaces and was thinking along the lines of cooking, having remembered the Dalston Mill which was set up as part of Barbican's Radical Nature series of exhibitions and events. This was organised by a bunch of architects who set up a company called EXYZT in their year out and have never turned back (continued their education) since as they are so busy getting commission to make fantastic projects rather than imagining them on a drawing board.

Their idea was to recreate a small-scale version of Agnes Denes Wheatfield - A Confrontation, Battery Park Landfill, downtown Manhattan, 2 acres of wheat planted & harvested, summer 1982

They then managed to build a wind powered mill which powered a small electrical stone grinder into which they could put all the wheat which they had gathered. Making their own flour they brought the community together to make pizza and bread, for free. To view some images of the project, here is a link to a slideshow of Flickr images (alternatively click on one of the links above).

Taking this as my inspiration I would like to propose a mobile table and benches, which will be mounted on the frame of a trailer, upon which people will be able to make dough to bake their own pizza and bread. I will be importing a Country Living Grain Mill which I intend to connect up to an exercise bike, as demonstrated in the video below.

This can be installed in the back of the van which will be used to move the table so that the back doors can be opened up and the flour can be delivered directly onto the table so that people can make their dough instantly!

Richard (SEA4) has very kindly offered to donate his pizza oven with which we will be able to make fantastic pizzas, as we discovered last year.

The deadline for applications is this friday so wish me luck and I am very excited about the implications of this project, both short and long term. Although this may seem to be quite different to my usual practice (sound art) I am equally interested in this aspect of community work and wouldn't want to be labelled a sound artist. There are also various aspects of this work which relate to my public art project last year in which I installed a stile over the gate at the Kelvingrove Bandstand as a passive protest installation about the neglect of such an important historical and social space.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Best Pizza Dough Ever Recipe

101 Cookbooks

"I can make a mean pizza, but it took me a while to learn how. Maybe I should rephrase that - I can make a mean pizza, but it took me a while to find the right teacher. For a long time I didn't really know where to look for guidance - I just knew I wanted pizza the way I'd enjoyed it in Rome and Naples."

Check out the recipe for Peter Reinhart's Napoletana Pizza Dough Recipe

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Susan Philipz

Lowlands Away
Winner of Turner Prize 2010

F. T. Marinetti, "The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism" (1909)

Read by Charles Bernstein as part of the Futurism and the New Manifesto program, February 20, 2009

On the one hundredth anniversary of the publication of the Founding and Manifesto of Futurism, poets Charles Bernstein, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Joshua Mehigan, and Alicia Stallings recite historical works, as well as their own contemporary manifestos, in the public space of the Museum's Garden Lobby. This program is a collaboration with Poetry magazine.

Palestinian collective memory and national identity

"The articles in Palestinian collective memory and national identity analyze the evolution and cultivation of modern Palestinian collective memory and its role in shaping Palestinian national identity from its inception in the 1920s to the 2006 Palestinian elections. While collective memory is central for any group feeling, it is particularly important for the Palestinians as a semi-diasporic people who are still engaged in the struggle for statehood." -- Book cover.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Ubuweb Goodies

Whilst doing research for this essay I keep coming upon more and more amazing links which is really hindering my progress but it all just looks so good!

From time to time there's some excellent stuff turning up on Ubuweb. This "discussion" is an attempt to gather some of these.
- Feel free to chip in.

Bring Da Noise: A Brief Survey of Sound Art

By Kenneth Goldsmith
Published: March 1, 2004

Over the past few years, sound art has been more visible in America. The Whitney has been including it in its Biennials and it even had its own section in their "The American Century" retrospective a few years ago. As a matter of fact all over the country, it's not too unusual to walk into a museum, art gallery, or university-sponsored exhibition space and hear nothing but sound. Websites like my own UbuWeb, the San Francisco-based Other Minds, and numerous independent sites of American composers are sprouting up, offering dozens of hours worth of sound art MP3s for free. Once relegated to specialty shops like Printed Matter, Inc. even record stores seem to be carrying these sort of discs. If you're interested in sound art, a trip to Other Music in New York City or to the new airplane-hanger sized Amoeba in Los Angeles will prove fruitful, with offerings from everyone from Vito Acconci to Mike Kelley cramming the racks.

read more here...

Saturday, 16 April 2011


LTM Recordings

Our CD anthologies Futurism & Dada Reviewed and Voices of Dada feature historic archive spoken word recordings by key Dada artists as well as a small number of more recent recordings, and are widely acknowledged as definitive. The Festival Dada Paris CD features unique recordings of music perfomed at key Dada events in Paris between 1920 and 1923. All CDs are mastered and packaged to a high standard, with booklets containing archive images and detailed historical notes.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Alex Ross:The Rest Is Noise

Audio Guide

Here you can listen to brief excerpts of some of the works discussed in The Rest is Noise. There are also embedded videos, images, and links to archives, stories, and sound files elsewhere on the Internet.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

René Clair - Entr'acte (1924)

In 1924, a film named Entr'acte premiered as entr'acte for the Ballets Suédois production Relâche at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. Relâche is based on a book and with settings by Francis Picabia, produced by Rolf de Maré, and with choreography by Jean Borlin. This short film was directed by René Clair with the music for both the ballet and the film composed by Erik Satie (the last music he composed). For this production, the dadaists collaborating on the project had invented a new flavor of dada or surrealism: instantanéisme. The complete film takes about 20 minutes using such techniques as watching people run in slow motion, watching things happen in reverse, looking at a ballet dancer from underneath, watching an egg over a fountain of water get shot and instantly become a bird and watching people disappear. The cast included cameo appearances of Francis Picabia, Erik Satie, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. The conductor of the orchestra at the premiere was Roger Désormière.

René Clair - Entr'acte (1924)

Saturday, 2 April 2011

The Trucker's Hitch

The most awesome knot on the planet!

Have you ever tried to tie something down for transporting, but just couldn't get the lines tight and/or during transport the lines would continually loosen? Then this is the knot for you! I learned this knot back in the 70s when specialty car racks and ratchet straps were rare or unheard of. I initially used it to tie a canoe on a car rack, both attaching to the rack as well as the lines to the bow and stern of the canoe. Even with all the new gizmos available today, this knot still shines because all you need is a rope and ropes don't hum in the wind like straps.

How to Tie a Trucker's Hitch Knot —

Animated Knots by Grog: Slight variation on the two examples given above.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Trip to Brussels

Large trumpet

Avenue du Roi Koningslaan close Gare Du Midi facing in the direction of a busy junction near . Apparently this trumpet is meant for listening and not so effective at projecting a sound, which I would agree with as the hum of the traffic is condensed into a the small cavity of the mouthpiece through which you listen on the platform.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Samuel Beckett (1906 - 1989)

Not I
15' 06"
Starring and Introduced by Billie Whitelaw

Not I takes place in a pitch black space illuminated only by a single beam of light. This light illuminates an actress's mouth. The mouth utters a monologue of fragmented, jumbled sentences which gradually coelesces into a narrative about a woman who has suffered an unpleasant experience. The title comes from the character's repeated insistence that the events she describes did not happen to her.

The stage directions also call for a character called 'the Auditor' who wears a black robe and can be dimly seen at the back of the stage, occasionally raising its hands in a gesture of impatience. When Beckett came to be involved in staging the play, he found that he was unable to place the Auditor in a stage position that pleased him, and consequently allowed the character to be omitted from those productions. However, he did not decide to cut the character from the published script, and whether or not the character is used in production seems to be at the discretion of individual producers. As he wrote to two American directors in 1986: "He is very difficult to stage (light--position) and may well be of more harm than good. For me the play needs him but I can do without him. I have never seen him function effectively."

A similar artist Steve McCaffrey has been experimenting in a very similar field since the 70's. To view my other post on him click here...

Thursday, 17 March 2011


Some records will please you, others will disturb or mystify you. And then some rare specimens will extend your conception of life. Michael Prime's L-fields is of the latter category. The source material on L-fields consists of bioelectrical recordings of hallucinogenic plants. Yep. Prime records the fluctuations of the electric guitar field of a plant, fluctuations that trigger an oscillator. Prime later compresses, overlays, and integrates sounds from the surrounding environment to the signal and voilà: through a work aesthetically close to electroacoustics, the listener is invited to hear a plant live its life!

Listen to an extract here: Contour of a Forgotten Landscape

Janna Levin: The sound the universe makes

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


A geophone converts seismic energy inputs (or vibrations) into electrical voltage which can be accurately measured. The term geophone derives from the Greek word “geo” meaning “earth” and “phōnē” meaning “sound”. A geophone is a passive device requiring no additional power which converts seismic energy (ground displacement) into an electrical signal producing an output voltage which is proportional to the geophone velocity.

The instrument is based on the principal of a spring mounted coil which moves within a magnetic field. The geophone’s coil remains stationary due to its inertia and the case moves in relation generating a voltage as the coil windings move through the magnetic field. Compared to active (powered) sensors a geophone offers the advantage of extreme low noise having only Brownian motion noise. The bandwidth of a geophone is generally defined from its natural frequency to the spurious frequencies which are unwanted parasitic resonances present in all geophones and caused by the sideward motion of the coil.

Soundbug turns flat surface into speakers

It may be more famous for making typewriters, but Olympia has just revealed what some observers are calling one of the sexiest gadgets of this year's CeBit: a small device that can turn pretty much any flat surface into a soundboard.