Posts Tagged ‘sound’

New things I learned today

March 25, 2012

Three terms– anthrophony, biophony, geophony. If I give you the context (soundwalks, etc) I’m sure you’ll figure it out. Some other interesting ideas from today’s workshop leader Andrea Polli (by way of Barry Truax) relate to hearing exercises, pre-soundwalk:

1) Listen for the most distant sound.
2) Listen for the nearest sound.
3) Listen for the loudest sound.
4) Listen for the quietest sound.

These were interesting, and a bit more difficult to discern at times than I would have guessed. We also spoke about soundmarks, sound signals, and the keynote– all terms I am familiar with, but it is always nice to refresh and re-think.

 

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 8/23/08

August 23, 2008

I’ve been in a relatively low-key mood for this broadcast. DJ Mo has been helping me get the station ready for the arrival of her guest DJ friends– they’re covering Kids Kamp in the next time slot. As I announced earlier, I played from the John Cage material made available to me by the OgreOgress label; these are recordings from their upcoming release of Cage’s “Twenty-Six with Twenty-Nine,” “Twenty-Six with Twenty-Eight & Twenty-Nine,” and “Eighty”… I’ll be hosting the world premiere for “Twenty-Six with Twenty-Eight & Twenty-Nine [Eighty-Three]” next week. Obviously, this is a pretty big deal for “It’s Too Damn Early,” and I’m proud to be part of Cage history in some small way.

Otherwise, I’m just trying to do the good volunteer thing– sprucing up the station a bit, since I’m relatively sure some of Mo’s friends have never been here before. WDBX has to make a good impression, you know? Also, The Land Of has me flustered! I screwed up the artist/album title last time I played The Green Kingdom’s disc “Laminae,” switching them up… and I did it again! Let’s hope Google cache didn’t nab me. Either way, it’s a really good album, and the package printing is lovely. Some of the Sweet Action guys were fondling it earlier. Had to suggest they find their own copy, thank you!

Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores — The Perforated Veil
Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores — Queen of the Wires
Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores — Myra
Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores — Blue on White
Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores — The Radiator Hymn
The Green Kingdom — Late Summer
The Green Kingdom — A Hidden Stream (alternate)
The Green Kingdom — Fuji Apple
John Cage — Twenty-six
John Cage — Twenty-nine
Choi Joonyong — Hold (entire)
Robert Dow — Steel Blue
Robert Dow — Burnt Umber
Robert Dow — White Water (airflow)

What would you miss?

December 10, 2007

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about taking a vacation, just tossing around a variety of ideas with my family. In the front-runner position is taking a cruise; it’s pretty laid back, the weather is nice, and having a warm beach to fall asleep on sounds particularly nice.

An interesting sound-related thought occurred to me today, though– what would it sound like? Specifically, what sounds would be missing?

Original photography by DaveX

I realized that I am quite accustomed to paying attention to new sounds when I travel, but the opportunity to spend a significant portion of my life off land made me realize that there is a very real possibility some sounds I regularly hear will be entirely absent.My first thought was that probably wouldn’t hear cars. I’d be on the water, right? Still, I don’t always hear automobiles now. For some of my childhood, I grew up in a rural setting; the sound of a car was uncommon enough to be more cause for concern than to be any sort of normal background noise. Hearing a car usually meant someone was lost, or that family was returning home.

Clearly, the loss of automobile-related sounds wouldn’t be too interesting.

Any cruise ship will obviously be full of people, bringing with them all the associated sound-baggage. From what I understand, birds are well-represented, with pelicans doing their usual bit of beggary.

Wondering if I might find reprieve from an otherwise-omnipresent sound was such a compelling conceit that I was growing disappointed that I was unable to figure out what such a sound could be.

Finally, the answer occurred to me– insects! Unless I’m mistaken, there shouldn’t be a significant insect population on the open waters of the ocean. For at least a couple nights out to sea, the perpetual companionship of insect call will fade from my life.

In my experience, insect sounds are part of the “silence” John Cage experienced in his famous anechoic chamber. Whether I choose to recognize them or not, insects are always present. Scientific estimates of the sheer number of insects are staggering– with an estimate of eight quintillion (1018) individuals in existence at any given time! Surely, there can be no escape from their sound on land… and maybe not even on the ocean.

Regardless, it’s an interesting concept. In the places you’ve been, what sounds did you miss?

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 11/24/07

November 24, 2007

Update: This broadcast is now available for download. As always, I ask that you do not use this as a substitute for the actual recordings– instead, I encourage you to seek out the artists and labels linked throughout this commentary and playlist. Thanks for listening! –DaveX

I started today’s broadcast about 15 minutes early. With three hours of sleep, I’m actually feeling better than you’d think– of course, I did little yesterday except eat leftover tofurky and watch “The Office”…

I kicked everything off with Hong Chulki’s “Turntable” double 3″ set from Seoul-based label Balloon & Needle. I played from the “no cartridge” disc last week, so I aired the “with cartridge” disc this time around. I have a tremendous soft spot for experimental turntable work, and Chulki’s generous and straightforward recordings certainly fit the bill. Currently, I’m playing from “Hum and Rattle,” featuring more of Chulki’s turntable, as well as Choi Joonyong’s work with manipulated CD player.

Like Otomo Yoshihide‘s turntable recordings, these are both noisy without being “noise” recordings, and are seemingly quite interested in many of the smaller sounds able to be generated with such sources as well as the more obvious louder ones. As a side note, I’m also really impressed with the design of both releases– “Turntable” features a subtle set of triangles to help listeners match the otherwise-featureless discs to their respective sides; “Hum and Rattle” is displayed nicely in a bit of folding cardstock that cleverly grasps the disc on both sides.

How’s this for a cool release? Uton and Valerio Cosi! I’m playing from their Fire Museum Records release “Kaarmeenkaantopiiri,” which I have no hope of pronouncing correctly on-air. This disc isn’t nearly as mysterious as previous Uton recordings I have encountered, with a much stronger musical bond between the two musicians than I would have guessed. This ends up sounding quite a bit like a more dramatically-layered My Cat is an Alien, very cool!

Moving to the Last Visible Dog release “Hum Hum Hum” from Vapaa… the track “Varjoista,” so we’ll have some time to get into Keijo Virtanen and company’s mindset– not always the easiest thing to do on radio.

It’s been a while since I last played an Ernesto Diaz-Infante/Chris Forsyth collaboratition– “Wires and Wooden Boxes” is actually among the first I heard from either artist, so I’m happy to be able to play from this one, “(As Is Stated… Before Known)” on Pax Recordings and Evolving Ear. I’m planning to do some new reviews this coming week, so look for some more information about this disc in upcoming blog entries.

Also new this week from Pax is another album from The Abstractions! Truthfully, this is a split-label effort, with help from Edgetone Records as well… so it’s a real pastiche of Bay-area improvisers and sound artists– Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Rent Romus, Bob Marsh, Marjorie Sturm, Matt Davignon… you see where I’m going with this!

There’s a lot of left-wing political lyrics here, which sort of turns me off– not that I don’t agree that Bush is a complete moron, I just don’t like mixing politics and music… it’s like putting dirt in a grilled cheese or something. On the other hand, for those of you who don’t mind a bit more fearsome gnashing at the bit of straight society, (and dig strange flavorings of music) The Abstractions’ “Novo Navigatio” might be just the thing for you.

I ended up playing a lot more of Frank Rothkamm’s “LAX” disc than I thought I would have– this is a real infectious release, and I’ll definitely have more of it for you next week. Don’t be surprised if some Rothkamm makes its way into my “It’s Too Damn Startling!” contribution to tonight’s broadcast of WRVU-FM’s “~Ore Theatre Intangible”

“Hey! You got Rothkamm in my podcast!” Sorry, I had to do it.

I also played a long selection from Gianluca Becuzzi and Fabio Orsi’s “Wildflowers Under the Sofa,” which is available through Last Visible Dog Records. This is a really enjoyable disc– a great blend of the drone and avant-garde elements LVD is known for.

Hong Chulki — With Cartridge 1
Hong Chulki — With Cartridge 2
Hong Chulki, Choi Joonyong — hr
Hong Chulki, Choi Joonyong — ua
Uton, Valerio Cosi — Silmaympyrakolmio
Vapaa — Varjoista
Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Chris Forsyth — The Sun is Shining
Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Chris Forsyth — How Little Observed… Half a Mile Distant
Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Chris Forsyth — Tomorrow
Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Chris Forsyth — Some Years Since (The Moon, Supposing It To Be Uninhabited)
The Abstractions — Lament the Fallen
The Abstractions — Take Off Leave Now Never Come Back
The Abstractions — Christian Bush
The Abstractions — Take Yourself Seriously
Frank Rothkamm — Temporarily Unavailable OR Descent into LAX
Frank Rothkamm — Los Angeles OR LATV
Frank Rothkamm — Beehive OR Focal Point of Masonic Meditation
Frank Rothkamm — Digital Signal Processor OR Earthquake
Frank Rothkamm — Still Random OR Burial of Music
Frank Rothkamm — Digital Feedback OR Highland
Gianluca Becuzzi, Fabio Orsi — No Flower
Gianluca Becuzzi, Fabio Orsi — Last Flower

Expectations

November 11, 2007

It’s funny how time sneaks up on us. Here I am, badgered with every conceivable variation of people’s endless fascination with it being 11/11 today, and I almost failed to realize that in just over three days it will be STARTLING MONIKER’s one-year anniversary.

Duuuude.

Yeah, I know. I can hardly believe I’ve managed to stick with this for a year either. Like many of my projects, STARTLING MONIKER exists in the kind of push-pull relationship– usually caught between guilt and duty; but every so often, ambition and resignation.

Before I properly began writing this blog, I had the vague idea that I would enjoy sharing some of the sound-related ideas that seem to pop in my head each day. At the time I had been thinking a lot about my formative listening experiences, both recorded and natural. In my mental picture of the blog, I envisioned me writing mainly about these topics.

As all creative projects are wont to do, though, STARTLING MONIKER took on its own life– less a personal diary of sound musings, and more of a tightly-integrated facet of my radio broadcasts and my own musical work. I was surprised to see this happening, and am still surprised that many of the stories I fully expected to share within the first week of writing are still untold.Why I continue to hold these back, I cannot fully understand.

I’m fairly sure that one good reason is simply that such stories are difficult to tell. The vaporous nature of memory leaves too many gaps, especially in the area of sound. I know what it felt like to hear The Dixie Cups’ version of “Iko Iko;” with its alien lyric, oddly moaned “oh-oh” backgrounds, primitive percussion, and handclaps. What I can’t seem to describe is how it made me feel– confused, excited, swept up in something impenetrable?

My listening habits were equally strange. “Iko Iko” was in heavy rotation alongside the radio edit of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” following my instant obsession with this song after hearing it on local radio one evening in the family car. I remember my dad calling my grandfather, who was by then a long-time record collector, to inquire about the name of the band who did this song. Of course, I soon learned an 18-minute version existed, though I wouldn’t own a copy of this unwieldy beast until high school.

You kids growing up with p2p have it SO easy.

For me, exposure to music arrived piecemeal, and often without context. To my elementary-school mind, The Surfaris’ “Wipeout” existed in the same time frame as Young MC’s “Bust-a-Move,” a tape I once borrowed from a friend, now deceased. My naivety about the origins and histories of these songs (and others) worked to my advantage– the unexamined connections, proto-mashups, and mental associations have led to all sorts of neat conclusions– and indirectly, to my enjoyment of experimental and difficult music.

It’s expectation and assumption that keeps us from greater ideas, and new paths, whether we’re blogging or listening to music. Hopefully, there will be a lot more wonderfully unexpected things to come in our next trip around the sun! –DaveX


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