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1 TERABYTE MP3 HARSH NOISE 233 x DVD
August 2, 2012 10:51 PM   Subscribe

1 TERABYTE MP3 HARSH NOISE 233 x DVD

Details:
  • Disks: 233
  • Each contains: 4,294,967,200 bytes
  • Each time: 73:33:55
Total running time: 711 days, 14 hours — or, 1 year, 346 days, 14 hours

"The piece was made using DVDs, each of which can hold a MP3 file of about 4 gigabytes. MP3 format was chosen not only for its length and ubiquity but as a result of experimenting with wave files (PCM data on CD) which have an upper limit of 4GB. Furthermore the MP3 format has structural advantages for creating large files from segments. Each of the 233 DVDs contains a single MP3 file made by custom software which creates a file using a “database” of mp3 samples – selecting and making random segments to create each file for subsequent burning to DVD. The source of the “Database” is from processed harsh noise sample modules using effects as shown in the schematic." - JLIAT (aka James Whitehead)

More experimental art: Source: Found by way of Terre Thaemlitz and his pursuit to make The World's Longest Album in History.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (60 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Once years ago I lived on a farm in the picturesque Yarra Valley. On Friday afternoons it was our custom to leave the farm for the weekends to "go large" in Melbourne for the weekend. We used to put a CD on and pack the car etc to nice loud music, then we'd leave the CD playing while we drove out of the farm gate. One long weekend, Queens birthday or some such we did this and arrived back at the farm on Tuesday afternoon. I jumped out of the car at the gate to open the gate and heard this odd noise - DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DADA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA. Odd. As we drove up the drive it became apparent that the CD we'd left on had become stuck - sometime around 4:30PM on Friday, and had been playing extremely loud DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA all weekend. I'm not sure id the neighbours thought it was art.
posted by mattoxic at 11:12 PM on August 2, 2012 [15 favorites]


I think he's confused about the 4GB thing. I don't think there's a limit on how big wav or mp3 files can be, but there is a 4GB limit on files in FAT32. Also on DVDs there's a file size limit, obviously. 4GB mp3s are longer in playing length than 4GB wavs because mp3s are compressed.
posted by iotic at 11:14 PM on August 2, 2012


Also the reasoning behind the "all possible silences" thing is shonky. Seems he's recording all possible DC levels to disk. That's not silence though - there'd be an audible click at the beginning and end. If not its because software is stripping the DC offset and so they're all the same silence.
posted by iotic at 11:20 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


There must be some meaning encoded in the strange process. Switching from Java to .NET to take advantage of file streaming makes no sense. Java will stream files nicely. Burning 233 DVDs also does not make sense if the artist actually cared about the duration of the project. Cheap 1TB hard drives were very available in 2011. And the final statement about a bunch of givens implying an axiom is... kind of missing the point of what an axiom is.

I'm not saying JLIAT is full of shit, just that the meaning might be in the shit.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:24 PM on August 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


(incidentally, WAV files are limited to 4GB)
posted by b1tr0t at 11:26 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah. I see the new Skrillex is out.
posted by LordSludge at 11:38 PM on August 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


b1tr0t: I'm not saying JLIAT is full of shit, just that the meaning might be in the shit.

Limits seem to be profound, as well as trivial. Profound both philosophically and physically, limits to knowledge and limits to its reliability …. Limits of time and space…limits to understanding, and knowledge of things in themselves, limits to communication. The more pedantic limits, of society and the law, and the limits of praxis. The speculative theo/philosophical metaphysics of limits (ontologies) and the ontic limits of actuality and human finitude.

To be fair, we should wait for Deepak Chopra's take on this. There may even be quantum mechanical implications.
posted by fredludd at 11:46 PM on August 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


Get a shortwave, point your antenna at Jupiter. That album's been running a few billion years.

Anti-music? Screw him and his ilk.
posted by Twang at 11:50 PM on August 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm curious: who would listen to this?

Although, I await the Einstrezende Neubauten dance mix.

And then when someone puts a donk on it.
posted by Mezentian at 12:17 AM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seriously what is the point? No one will listen to enough of the composition to understand the whole. Some art has no appeal.
posted by pdxpogo at 12:36 AM on August 3, 2012


Metafilter: 1 TERABYTE MP3 HARSH NOISE
posted by Skeptic at 12:38 AM on August 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


No one will listen to enough of the composition to understand the whole.

I've heard a rumour that hidden somewhere between discs 125 and 179 is a really sweet cover of "Somebody that I used to know."
posted by Jimbob at 12:53 AM on August 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


I doubt even he has listened to much of it, and I'm not very impressed with his website or his technical arguments (eg the all possible silences). I would like to hear some of this 'harsh noise'; I'm listening to some chaotically cascading resonant filters at the moment and will probably keep playing with it for another hour at least. It's rather irritating that he doesn't offer the slightest taste of how it sounds or varies (if at all) on his webpage.

But looking at his code for Blythe (in the background link in the FPP) it's trivial, uninteresting; the kind of stuff you find around page 35 of a book that promises to teach you programming in a week. Neither that, nor his stated toolchain for the 1 Terabyte mp3, impress me a lot.
I like as an artist presenting distributors, manufacturers and curators with such problems. I’ve worked with Barry Essen @ Arika, an organisation which promotes “New Musics”, I’m hoping he is up to the task of dealing with this “monster”.
I'm rather annoyed by this argument, and my annoyance is tinged with some envy. Like quite a few modern artists, I feel that his real skill is in marketing himself as an artist and that the work is somewhat secondary, perhaps deliberately so. I would quite like to know how to find an audience (ideally a paying one that could help to support occasional gear purchase) for my strange art sounds and do things like installations etc., but my impression is that that's about 100x easier if you've gone to art school and built a lot of social contacts.

Still, interesting concepts so it succeeds on that level I guess.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:31 AM on August 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Seriously what is the point? No one will listen to enough of the composition to understand the whole.

I know two people who've listened to the Merzbox (Merzbow's 50 CD career survey) in its entirety, and I'm pretty sure the reviewer for The Wire listened to it in one sitting. I bet some nutter will at least attempt to get through this from start to finish.

Not that it really matters - it's presumably better thought about than listened to, to sort of quote Kenneth Goldsmith.
posted by jack_mo at 1:40 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Typical jliat "high concept" pointlessness. And no, jliat doesn't really have an "audience," unless you count subscribers to the (always lame, now nearly insufferable) Vital Weekly email newsletter, in which you can find such "review" gems as:
do have a problem with sound art as glue in that it isn’t that different from Mozart, and it would be foolish of me to express such thoughts as not only is it dangerous to upset groups, unlike zoo animals where one is protected by cages
and
steel
fences, furthermore it offers the terrible prospect of being rejected by neo-liberals who think the arts like sport for all is good for the individual and so good for society, no different to how the Taliban regard the Koran then? That’s me in deep shit, animal dung I guess…Not that I’m accusing anyone of anything or have I visited a zoo in decades or will I do so, I sense the dread of going to a music concert or art gallery, the Saatchi Gallery is like a zoo, is a zoo

and
From further garbled messages this tape is neither the same each copy being different, and non of for sale. Anti capitalism. You send a tape you might get a copy, you send money you’ll probably get abuse. Vile Plumage is a surprisingly clearer recording though the mire and grime of CPVol1 makes this an unfair
comparison, more detritus sound and use of echoes over incoherency. Obviously not HN or HNW but lacking any clear signal which in this case is directed at a critique of socio-political ideologies of the contemporary. It shares the null communication but here its motivated, not as propaganda though, more a psychosis as audiological response to the disease of existence.
(original formatting)

Dude's incapable of coherent thought--unless, of course, it leads to facile self-promotion.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:19 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Those reviews are well weapon.
posted by howfar at 2:23 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow that's hard to read.

I feel like there should be some meaning or content there but it's like my brain keeps trying to grasp it and finds there's nothing there.

Words as fairy floss.
posted by deadwax at 2:33 AM on August 3, 2012


I'm a fan of noise/power electronics/etc but I lost a lot of interest when HNW started getting popular. HNW = Harsh Noise Walls, characterized by a "wall" of distorted static, there is no possible way to tell one HNW act from another simply by listening because they are literally all the same. Which is what this guy does, and his schtick with all the fakey mathematical crap characterizes the problem with this scene: the music itself does not matter in any way, it's all about the process and often the gimmickry of the performer (which unfortunately in noise includes a lot of trashy violent/fascist/etc. "shock value" crap)
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:04 AM on August 3, 2012


Also I suspect the reason for HNW's popularity is that you can literally become a HNW act by thinking of a name and gimmick for yourself, downloading Audacity, clicking "Generate White Noise" then "Bass Boost", and uploading the result somewhere on the Internet. It's really that easy.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:07 AM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also the reasoning behind the "all possible silences" thing is shonky. Seems he's recording all possible DC levels to disk. That's not silence though - there'd be an audible click at the beginning and end. If not its because software is stripping the DC offset and so they're all the same silence.

Also speaker-damaging if it's not offset or lowpass filtered. You really don't want to feed DC to your speakers for 45 days. Unless you just love the concept so much that you make an art installation out of it and ruining the speakers is part of the art.



the music itself does not matter in any way, it's all about the process and often the gimmickry of the performer

Pure entropy is the most boring thing possible. Music needs repetition of some kind, and variation of some kind. Even Merzbow I mostly find dull and tiring. I tend to prefer powernoise/rhythmic noise, because they're doing something with it. Or the kind of drone that has enough variation in texture to be worth listening closely to.

Take that white noise, cut it into sound grains and repeat them rapidly in some way, and vary how the repetition works, and suddenly it's maybe got something. Or modulate the amplitude by something interesting. Or filter it, make it resonate something else, play it through a room and record it again with a mic attached to a ceiling fan blade... do something.
posted by Foosnark at 3:50 AM on August 3, 2012


i could have made a longer audio file with an even more incoherent rant.

but i didnt.
posted by flyinghamster at 3:51 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


also it should be noted that a trillion bytes is less than a terabyte
posted by flyinghamster at 3:52 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Take that white noise, cut it into sound grains and repeat them rapidly in some way, and vary how the repetition works, and suddenly it's maybe got something. Or modulate the amplitude by something interesting. Or filter it, make it resonate something else, play it through a room and record it again with a mic attached to a ceiling fan blade... do something.

But then it would be MUSIC, see, and this is ANTI MUSIC! (actually, no--it's even worse than music, it's "art")
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:09 AM on August 3, 2012


Foosnark: "Music needs repetition of some kind, and variation of some kind. Even Merzbow I mostly find dull and tiring."

If you can't hear the repitition and variation in Merzbow, you haven't listened to enough Merzbow yet.
posted by idiopath at 4:13 AM on August 3, 2012


As someone who loves conceptual art and experimental music, including noise music, this sounds like the essence of tedium.

I'm betting (with my next act) that there will be some sort of return to "songs" with "structure" and "content". Heck, the last song in the show is actually designed to get people to be humming it as they leave.

But I almost don't care. I don't want to make content-free music that isn't designed to be listened to.

If you are thinking of purchasing this, might I politely suggest instead some classics of the long-form:

Alvin Lucier, "Music on a Long Thin Wire"
Steve Reich, "Drumming"
Philip Glass, "Einstein on the Beach"
Stockhausen, "Hymnen"

or seeing a performance of Cage's 4'33", which, all scoffing by the booboisie aside, is a Great Work - I've seen it performed several times and it's always been a highlight of the evening, I would say it has sounded different and interesting each time.

Typical performance - the song starts and first you get to hear the room's ventilation - in a large concert hall you never hear it in "quiet ventilation mode" because the moment the music is over they turn the ventilation up; then you hear rustling programs as people try to figure out what's going on; then you hear very quiet whispers as people explain it to their seat mates; then you start to hear coughs.

It was a performance of this piece that turned me on to the idea that there are two dramatically different coughs - the rare "real cough" that stems from organic issues and the common "I'm bored" cough. In 2012, this isn't only well-known, you can actually run a program that is able to count the different coughs.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:17 AM on August 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


But regarding the artist in question, "infinite war" sounds like breebles (bitrate induced artifacts which expose individual frequency bins in the frequency domain representation - they make a tinkling breeble breeble sound) more than guns. And like the auto-generated text, very tedious.
posted by idiopath at 4:25 AM on August 3, 2012


Someone should remix this album into a single one second song.
posted by orme at 4:46 AM on August 3, 2012


I played 10 seconds before I ran away, a new record!
posted by jscott at 4:50 AM on August 3, 2012


RZZZZZ!


"Good night, boys and girls. Thank you for coming to our concert."
posted by Herodios at 5:34 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


typical metafilter - people comment on something without listening to it all the way through
posted by pyramid termite at 5:41 AM on August 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


I played 10 seconds before I ran away, a new record!

We can halve that with some Nikki Minaj!
posted by Mezentian at 5:46 AM on August 3, 2012


Who'll be the first to rip this and post it on usenet?
posted by moonmilk at 5:57 AM on August 3, 2012


I'm pretty sure there's already terabytes of white noise on Usenet.
posted by kmz at 6:05 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


who would listen to this?

How many of us listened to all of this?
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 6:45 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's got a good beat and you can dance to it.
posted by pashdown at 6:54 AM on August 3, 2012


Metafilter:It's even worse than music, it's "art".
posted by 445supermag at 7:03 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


This guy should drop these small-bore concepts and learn to think big.

Here are excerpts from Anthony Braxton's liner notes for Composition 82, For Four Orchestras. (I wish I could reproduce the diagrams that serve as both title and score):
Composition 82 is the first completed work in a series of ten compositions that will involve the use of multiple-orchestralism and the dynamics of spacial [sic] activity. . . . hopefully this work will be viewed as a positive contribution to transitional multi-orchestralism--as we move to the next cycle.

My involvement with this medium will especially become clear after the entire series . . . [is] completed. For I view all of [these pieces as parts of] one creative statement.

Series A
  1. Composition #82 for four orchestras (completed in 1978)
  2. [Composition] for four orchestras and tape (to be completed 1979)
  3. [Composition] for six orchestras (1979)
  4. [Composition] for ten orchestras at different spacial locations (sic) but connected by television (1982)
  5. [Composition] for one hundred orchestras in four different cities connected by satellites and television systems. (1985)
Series B
  1. [Composition for orchestras on] three planets (to be completed 1988)
  2. [Composition for orchestras on] five planets (1990)
  3. [Composition for orchestras] between star systems (1995)
  4. [Composition for orchestras] between galaxies (2000)
  5. [Composition for orchestras] between ? (after 2000)
Plus there are twenty other series of additional creative routes in this group of works as well. . . .

posted by Herodios at 7:12 AM on August 3, 2012


I think his art actually accomplished something, we are all actively discussing it and how it made us feel about the composition as a whole, without having actually heard it. Whether it's the process that it took to make it or the artist's description, it evoked a whole range of emotions.
posted by synthetik at 7:24 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think his art actually accomplished something, we are all actively discussing it and how it made us feel about the composition as a whole, without having actually heard it. Whether it's the process that it took to make it or the artist's description, it evoked a whole range of emotions.

As with the cinema shootings in Colorado, but that doesn't make James Holmes an artist.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:30 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Shit, I can't even get past one side of my vinyl copy of Metal Machine Music.

Wait, I got another one: check it out, there are two posts on the front page about turning masturbation into an art.
posted by nanojath at 7:31 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Awwww man I had been meaning to do something like this for years now, but I never found a programming interface had the easy DSP of something like Max/MSP, but with the file handling ease of something like Perl.
I still might get around to it if I find the proper candidate.
posted by Theta States at 7:31 AM on August 3, 2012


But I find the challenging Thaemlitz's "longest album" claim to be a bit suspect.
Hey everyone, I recorded a 250-DVD long cover of John Cage's 4'33. Take that, JLIAT. You can even buy it already, as 5 spindles, at any computer store.

Or maybe this all highlights the idiocy silliness of claims like this? I could easily generate extremely long mp3s, post them up online, and call them the 5 year-long art album.
At least the Bull of Heaven people put a touch more effort in to the sound.

Also:
Awwww man I had been meaning to do something like this for years now

I mean similar, but using multiple prerecorded noise sources.
posted by Theta States at 7:40 AM on August 3, 2012


Ahhh I see on his page he's also had the idea to use other noise mp3s to create a constant computer-controller stream. He's calling his Massive Harsh Noise Works. Then I definitely need to release that before he does.
But really, it's not too different than opening 2 winamp players, setting them on shuffle and repeat, and dragging your noise collection in to each.
posted by Theta States at 7:47 AM on August 3, 2012


Oh wow wow wow:
Exegesis (part!):
Limits seem to be profound, as well as trivial. Profound both philosophically and physically, limits to knowledge and limits to its reliability …. Limits of time and space…limits to understanding, and knowledge of things in themselves, limits to communication. The more pedantic limits, of society and the law, and the limits of praxis. The speculative theo/philosophical metaphysics of limits (ontologies) and the ontic limits of actuality and human finitude.
That is why when I make noise I just say: "I LIKE SOUND. MMMM SOUND GOOD."
What tragic wankery.
posted by Theta States at 7:56 AM on August 3, 2012


if you really want to experience something like this work of art, you could just get a job at a factory for 5 years - and here's the special part - you don't have to buy it, they pay YOU!!
posted by pyramid termite at 8:21 AM on August 3, 2012


Reading the interview, it really rubs me the wrong way. I agree with everyone above who said his main skill as an artist is just promotion.

When asked to describe himself: Some people describe Whitehead as the composer who has taken the concept of anti-music the furthest.
...has brought out about a hundred extremely radical productions
and: is seriously posing what might seem to be the unanswerable questions of music
Lest he be taken for a joke, know that he is serious.

Here I met with John Cage (on a visit to London)
He says he MET John Cage once! Wow!

And my final snarky uggh:
My work relates very much to a genre in music called noise, specifically Harsh Noise and Harsh Noise Wall. Philosophically there is a current movement known amongst other titles as Speculative Realism. The speculation is about breaking free of “human” centred thinking. So you get things like ‘what will the universe be like in a trillion years time’, what does that do to ‘our’ thoughts about reality..? And there’s that number again!
posted by Theta States at 9:03 AM on August 3, 2012


I'm glad I'm working alone in my basement so nobody can hear me repeatedly saying "I LIKE SOUND. MMMM SOUND GOOD" in my caveman voice.

you could just get a job at a factory for 5 years

Just out of college, and needing to raise money for an apartment (didn't organize my post-graduate life very well), I did industrial temp in a plastics factory for a while that had this giant paintshaker sort of machine that agitated 50 gallon drums of recycled plastic (thermoplastic scrap and rejects that had been pelletized in a grinder) and it made this most beautiful noise, this sort of dual-tone burr that oscillated up and down over a period of several seconds, I would actually find excuses to go back there and listen to it for a minute. I didn't have any capacity to record it though I suspect it would have been hard to capture. It is also possible I'd just gone a little crazy from months of pulling injection molded disposable sample vials 8 hours a stretch on second shift...
posted by nanojath at 9:13 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


As with the cinema shootings in Colorado, but that doesn't make James Holmes an artist.

If you sees no difference between random noise being generated and a mass murder, I really don't know what to say.
posted by synthetik at 9:19 AM on August 3, 2012


Also on DVDs there's a file size limit, obviously.

I assume you're referring to the 4 GB limit imposed by the ISO9660 filesystem. That's irrelevant if you use the UDF filesystem instead, which has a limit of 16 EB. There's also none of that nonsense about filenames containing only one dot and no spaces, etc.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:52 AM on August 3, 2012


it should be noted that a trillion bytes is less than a terabyte

Since the standardization of the binary SI prefixes, that's no longer true. A trillion bytes is, however, less than a tebibyte.
posted by flabdablet at 10:00 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Artistic Parallel: I'm going to find my neighborhood's sewer arterial and redirect it into an olympic sized pool. Strangely worded blog post with picture will follow when complete along with astonishing calculations of volume and weight.
posted by hellslinger at 10:02 AM on August 3, 2012


But it already goes to an olympic sized pool, surely?
posted by flabdablet at 10:26 AM on August 3, 2012


Metafilter: terabytes of white noise
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:55 AM on August 3, 2012


Metafilter: all the same silence.
posted by herbplarfegan at 2:01 PM on August 3, 2012


Wow, "All possible silences (65536)" seems like FLAC's chance to shine. And then, a condensed, second-and-a-half clip of every possible volume level.
posted by Pronoiac at 6:20 PM on August 3, 2012


Wow, "All possible silences (65536)" seems like FLAC's chance to shine. And then, a condensed, second-and-a-half clip of every possible volume level.
Not really. Most audio interfaces will filter out DC offsets, so all you will get is a sequence clicks of increasing (or decreasing) volume. If you happen to have a DC coupled interface then you just risk damage to your speakers. The damage may be interesting, but do be careful.

Want to hear every possible volume level? Listen to something fade in. Done.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:17 PM on August 3, 2012


I know two people who've listened to the Merzbox (Merzbow's 50 CD career survey) in its entirety, and I'm pretty sure the reviewer for The Wire listened to it in one sitting. I bet some nutter will at least attempt to get through this from start to finish.

As much as I usually roll my eyes at this kind of stuff, a local radio station played the whole thing once and I found myself sucked in.

I’m still having trouble figuring out what the subject of this post is on about, or what it is exactly he’s done. Maybe if there were an English version of the site. I’m fairly certain it’s silly though.
posted by bongo_x at 11:29 PM on August 4, 2012


This has given me an excellent idea, which I'm going to go off and implement.

....

but shan't spoil the surprise by telling you.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:20 AM on August 5, 2012


My first askme question: Longest Sound File?

At the time I made that post I was thinking of creating a looping ambient sound file. Something that was days long. Then create a list of random silent mp3 files. Then put in spoken work pieces in that same playlist.

So I'd have one continuous stream that would be random feeling, but really wouldn't be. I have a lot of ideas I don't have time to implement.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:32 AM on August 5, 2012


Look, I'm not saying this is terribly useful. Fading in or out may or may not hit each and every volume level. And it's about as useful as spelling out the alphabet. Anyway. It's time for fun with compression! In megabytes (well, technically mebibytes):
33   each of 4 original zip files 
29.9 a tar.gz of the wave files, from 1 original zip file
15   a zip of FLAC instead of wave files, from one original zip file
 3.4 a zip of all of the original zip files
 1.5 a tar.gz.gz of the wave files, from 1 original zip file
Compression does strange things with low-entropy files. Usually, repeating the same compression causes a minimal size reduction, or a slight increase. Here, repeating a gzip or zip gave an order of magnitude reduction.

I'm letting bzip2 & 7zip chew on the files, to see how well they handle this special case.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:17 PM on August 5, 2012


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