Sound of Cinema - British Sci-Fi from the BFI Days of Fear and Wonder - BBC Radio 3 talks to film composer Stephen Price about The Shape of Things to Come, Alien, Gravity, and other science fiction soundtracks.
myNoise.net uses audio synthesis cleverness and the HTML 5 Web Audio API to give you a vast array of ambient soundscapes and background noises right in your (recent) browser. Each generator is highly customisable and users can share customisations with each other.
Walter Kitundu is an artist and MacArthur Fellow (previously). In this video, he gives a lecture at the San Francisco Exploratorium about his bespoke instruments and lighting experiments. At around 16 minutes in, he plays his digital revision of a kora.
Pyro Board. Or flammable sound waves and music. Danish Fysikshow demonstrates a 2-D Rubens' tube (wiki, demo).
The Nordic Society for Invention & Discovery has brought never-before-seen and totally exclusive technologies into the world, such as the Aaltopuck (an ice hockey puck modeled after Alvar Aalto's Savoy Vase), the Flower Shell (a shotgun shell that shoots seeds into the ground), the Wall of Sound (an 8000-watt iPod dock) and No More Woof (a device that wraps around your dog's head and translates his or her brain waves to computerized speech).
There are many, many random numbers involved in the score for the piece. Every time I ran the C-program, it produced a new "performance".... The one we chose had that conspicuous descending tone that everybody liked. It just happened to end up real loud in that version.James Moorer relates the rather unexpected manner in which he composed one of the one of the world's best known pieces of computer generated music: "Deep Note" from the THX trailer. [more inside]
The sound of silence - Research by Dr. Chia-Jung Tsay published in PNAS suggests that top musicians are judged as much for the visual aspects of their performances, as much as for the aural ones, regardless of the experience level of the listener or judge
Real-time MRI study of human beatboxing, with lots of videos. See what snares, kick drum effects, cymbals and more look and sound like as they happen inside the head. Here's a BBC radio segment on the project.
'It's probably easy today to dismiss Negativland's activities as trifle, banal or plain stupid. They probably wouldn't be too uncomfortable with that, as they rarely claimed to go beyond the softest platitudes of the entertainment biz. No Other Possibility (1989, 58 mins, .avi d/l link), their first video work, showcases the band at a career threshold, before their U2ploitation move and just after their Christianity hoax. It typically explores the debris of American pop culture, dealing with automobile fetishism, televised preaching, halloween traditions, Marlboro masculinity, soft drinks and MTV.' [more inside]
Two elements: tempo and volume. Researchers at the Sundance Research Facility have finally discovered how to turn sound into matter.
Nick Cave's Soundsuits: Calling up echoes of wild beasts, Carnival dancers, maskers and shamans, the "soundsuits" made of a wild diversity of materials by visual artist and dancer Nick Cave have life beyond the gallery. They're designed to be used in performances and 'invasions,' creating a sense of mystery, playfulness and joyful moments of community.
A wall with large buttons that trigger voices, mellotron-style; An Indonesian gamelan xylophone orchestra played with a arcade game-like control panel; A leslie speaker that amplifies whatever a stethoscope touches. These are just a few of the instruments built into a unique New Orleans musical architecture installation called Dithyrambalina, or simply, The Music Box. [more inside]
A gamma-ray burst, the most energetic explosions in the universe, converted to music. What does the universe look like at high energies? Thanks to the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT), we can extend our sense of sight to "see" the universe in gamma rays. But humans not only have a sense of sight, we also have a sense of sound. If we could listen to the high-energy universe, what would we hear? What does the universe sound like?
NPR: "Folklorist Alan Lomax spent his career documenting folk music traditions from around the world." Now, nearly ten years after his death, thousands of the songs and interviews he recorded are available for free online, many for the first time. "It's part of what Lomax envisioned for [his] collection — long before the age of the Internet." (Mr. Lomax, Previously on MeFi) [more inside]
78 78s - In Search Of Lost Time - is a streaming mix of beautiful 78s from around the world, collected and curated by Ian Nagoski. "I started sifting through boxes of junky old 78s that no one else wanted about 15 years ago, and almost right away, I made a rule: Anything that wasn't in English, buy it." [more inside]
Years by Bartholomäus Traubek: a record player that plays slices of wood.
In their 25 year career San Fransisco-based Kronos Quartet might be most famous for creating the go-to dramatic movie trailer music but they've recently courted controversy with their latest album, 9/11, with Steve Reich (NPR First Listen). The album is another in a long line of collaborations with composers such as Phillip Glass, Terry Riley, and Pēteris Vasks. And like any good instrumental ensemble, they've covered Hendrix, Sigur Ros, and Tom Waits. Oh, and they've been on Sesame Street. [more inside]
What is up with Noises? A fascinating explanation of why we hear sounds and music the way we do. It's a long video, but it's worth it!
The Soundworks Collection gives a behind-the-scenes look into the work of talented sound teams working on feature films, soundtrack scoring, and video games with a compilation of exclusive interviews, awards shows / event panel coverage and sound stage / studio room videos. Vimeo Channel. YouTube Channel. [more inside]
The bizarre musical instruments behind classic scifi movie sounds. Includes the Waterphone, Theremin and Blaster Beam.
Theta Music Trainer — Train your ear with fun music games. Sharpen your sense of pitch and tone. Unlock the hidden patterns in music. Strengthen your music theory skills.
This man really likes eating hamburgers. So much so that the hamburgers felt they had to stage an uprising. Or Olympic games. It all becomes a little confusing. (Music video for Rotten Sound's "Hollow")
Earlier this year, the BBC's Arena produced and aired an excellent documentary on Brian Eno entitled "Another Green World" containing "a series of conversations on science, art, systems analysis, producing and cybernetics". [more inside]
The Books is a collaboration between musicians and found sound archivers Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong. If you're not familiar with their music, allow me to recommend giving their newest album, The Way Out a listen over at NPR (where you can no longer stream the album in its entirety, but individual tracks are still available for your listening pleasure). Two videos are already available—the summer camp hit A Cold Freezin' Night and We Bought The Flood, which was 'directed' by archival image researcher Rich Remsberg. Since The Way Out's release Nick has been proceeding track by track through the album, explaining and annotating the techniques, instruments, and ideas used on each song—and resulting in a collage of thoughts as powerful and varied as The Books' collage of sound. [more inside]
Acousmata is a unique music blog devoted to "idiosyncratic research in electronic and experimental music, sound and acoustics, mysticism and technology" with special focus on the early history of electronic music.
"Tone-Quester" is generally a musician (more than likely a guitarist) who purchases/modifies amps/pedals/cabinets in search of a certain sound. They fiercely pride themselves on being able to distinquish the differences between pickups, tube amps vs. transistor amps. With this in mind, Wolfe McCloud, a pickup designer, decided to challenge My Les Paul forum members. [more inside]
Andreas Bick's blog post about "dispersion of sound waves in ice sheets" made the rounds a few days ago. Now he has taken the opportunity "to draw the attention to some other very interesting webpages concerning the sound of ice".
Jaap Blonk, Namesake of the blonkorgan, performer, sound poet. AaaaaAAAøøøøøøøøøAEEEeeeiiiIIIIIiiiüüüüüüüüüüieeeeooooOUUUUUooooooo. [more inside]
Luigi Russolo was a futurist painter, experimental composer, and instrument builder. In his 1913 manifesto "The Art of Noises" he declaimed the death of traditional Western music and foresaw the dawning of a new music based on the grinding, screeching, moaning, crackling and buzzing of mechanical instruments. He and his assistant Ugo Piatti built the Intonarumori to bring these new sounds - "the palpitation of valves, the coming and going of pistons, the howl of mechanical saws, the jolting of a tram on its rails, the cracking of whips, the flapping of curtains and flags" - to life. Listen to them, then and now.
Moon Music: moonbell generates sounds based on lunar topography. (via) [more inside]
[musicnewsfilter]: European copies of Dinosaur Jr.'s new album Farm have been recalled after duplication software "doubled the sound layers, resulting in a 3 dB increase in the overall sound volume." [more inside]
Last year we discussed a recently discovered 10-second audio recording from 1860 that was thought to be the oldest known recorded human voice, a girl or woman singing the 18th century French folk song “Au Clair de la Lune”. Turns out, it was being played too fast - slow it down and it's the voice of the inventor himself. As well, a number of other recordings have been found, pushing back the oldest recording to 1857. Hear it all on NPR (5-min). [more inside]
Seattle-based German artist Trimpin makes sculptural musical instruments. He was profiled in a mini-documentary by Washington public TV station KBTC a couple of years ago. Here are videos of some other works of art he's created, Fire Organ, Liquid Percussion, Cello, Sensors and Record Players, Contraption at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, MIDI-controlled Player Piano and Sheng High. Kyle Gann wrote an essay by that placed Trimpin in the tradition of John Cage, Harry Partch and other avant-garde American musical inventors. The audio of a nearly hour and a half long 1990 interview with Trimpin by Charles Amirkhanian can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Another, more light-hearted interview in connection to his show at this year's SXSW, where a documentary about him premiered (trailer).
Western musical intervals are derived from speech tendencies, according to Duke scientists. Specifically, "most of the 12 chromatic scale intervals correspond to peaks of relative power in the normalized spectrum of human vocalizations." A somewhat more layperson-friendly summary of the study is here. [more inside]
"Next-generation loudspeakers could be as thin as paper, as clear as glass, and as stretchable as rubber." Making sound from heat and vice versa is nothing new, but a flat loudspeaker sure would be cool, provided nothing goes wrong. [previously.]
Walter Kitundu is one of this year's MacArthur Fellows, a musician and artist who invents and builds new instruments from turntables, strings and the interactions of the elements. His recent invention, the Ocean Edge Device, uses the flow of the rushing tides to provide energy for on-board accordion and turntable instrumentation.
SoundJunction is all about music. You can take music apart and find out how it works, create music yourself, find out how other people make music and how they perform it, you can learn about musical instruments and voices, and look at the backgrounds of different musical styles. Over 40 musicians talk on film about their experiences. [more inside]
Researchers Play Tune Recorded Before Edison
The history of the Phonoautograph. A technology in which you can still buy stock.
The history of the Phonoautograph. A technology in which you can still buy stock.
Elisha Gray could have been known to us as the inventor of the telephone. Instead, he goes down in history as the accidental creator of one of the first electronic musical instruments, the "Musical Telegraph." There are many other examples of early electronic instruments, including: the Teleharmonium, the Audion Piano, the Optophonic Piano, the Trautonium, the Ondes Martenot, the Rhythmicon, the Theremin Cello and the better-known Aetherphone (aka Theremin) to name a few. MetaFilter discussed odd music previously.
Ron Murphy cut records, but not just any records. Responsible for cutting the actual vinyl master plates of much of the now revered Detroit Techno including Jeff Mills, Carl Craig, Underground Resistance's seminal Knights of the Jaguar, and much more - he demonstrated impeccable craftsmanship and skill in both mastering records for sound and aesthetics at company known as Sound Enterprises source link AKA National Sound Corporation. Schooled in Motown, dubplates and jukeboxes, he is the bespoke-crafted, analog link between the digital future and analog past that is the roots of Techno music and modern techno DJ culture. [more inside]
Edward Samuel's Illustrated History of Copyright A fascinating illustrated historical tour, looking at how different technologies have shaped how we think about copyright and intellectual property.
What do you call capturing sound the way the human head hears it, that is, three-dimensionally? Nope, not stereo. Binaural recording. Holophonics. Dummy head (no, not you) recording. [more inside]
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