Hi, I'm Instant Billy Mays! You may remember me from such front-page posts as Instant Rimshot and Sad Trombone. Well, if you liked them, then you're gonna love what we have for you tonight! Does your joke need a little humor enhancement? Try Instant Ed McMahon for all your sidekick needs! Did your joke go over like a lead rock? Use Instant Crickets or a good ol'-fashioned Instant Nelson! [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".
Audiophoolery: Pseudoscience in Consumer Audio. You might think that a science-based field like audio engineering would be immune to the kind of magical thinking we see in other fields. Unfortunately, you would be wrong [...] As a consumerist, it galls me to see people pay thousands of dollars for fancy-looking wire that’s no better than the heavy lamp cord they can buy at any hardware store. Or magic isolation pads and little discs made from exotic hardwood that purport to “improve clarity and reduce listening fatigue,” among other surprising claims. The number of scams based on ignorance of basic audio science grows every day. Via.
Cymatics is the study of visible sound and vibration, typically on the surface of a plate, diaphragm, or membrane. Directly visualizing vibrations involves using sound to excite media often in the form of particles, pastes, and liquids. The apparatus employed can be simple, such as a Chladni Plate or advanced such as the CymaScope, a laboratory instrument that makes visible the inherent geometries within sound and music. Hans Jenny (1904-1972) is considered the father of cymatics. [more inside]
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]
The Present Sound of London -- "I’ve been lured to London by money at the hottest, stickiest time of year. Every time I visit, I’m struck by the noises—not necessarily their volume, but their strangeness and variety in comparison to the quiet humdrum of the provincial town where I live. So this time I’m equipped with an audio recorder." By Giles Turnbull.
[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]
"For decades, hundreds of people worldwide have been plagued by an elusive buzzing noise known as "the Hum". "
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]
When Resul Pookutty won the Oscar for Sound Mixing last weekend, it's probably the first time an Oscar acceptance speech, or really any U.S. network television broadcast, has mentioned the "primordial syllable," Om, which is very important to Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists.
Your alarm goes off, you get up to attend to your morning ritual, have a coffee, take a shower, head off to work, get on to Metafilter, and there you discover the wonders of the Free Sound Project! (previously)
Ben Burtt... heard the name? Well if you've ever watched a Star Wars film you've heard what he does. [more inside]
In 1952, Bernard and François BASCHET reveal a new acoustic principle. They manage to amplify the internal vibration of metal, thus founding a new acoustic instrumental family : The Sound Structures [more inside]
SFXR by Tomas Pettersson - Ever needed a skilled Foley artist and an audio lab for making sound effects? No, probably not, but even the most amateur game designer needs sound effects for his game. Now, thanks to Tomas Pettersson the long tradition of stealing sound effects from other games is finally over. It doesn't do much more than little 8-bit bleeps and bloops, but it sure feels nice to have original, royalty-free sound effects for your game, or just for fun. [previously]
The bespoke generative design system at the heart of Forever will spawn unique audio-visual films everyday, forever. [more inside]
Like a little serenity? "Ambient sound environments at your desktop for relaxation, privacy and solitude". Soothe yourself with the sound of purring or some birdsong , rainforest, storm, sounds of the beach to go with your tea and contemplation. You might pretend you're taking a train trip, on a plane, visiting NYC. Or for fun you could mix them up, pencil writing and windchimes. Each soundscape has a visual to accompany it as well.
An Introduction to Sine-Wave Speech Play the first sound and you'll probably hear nothing but squeaks and bleeps. Play the second one and then go back to the first. Cool!
"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.
Primal source at GLOW (video), Burble London (an implementation of Open Burble) (video), Evoke (video) - the transformative artworks of Haque Design and Research. Interview with Usman Haque. Previously.
The Jupiter Foundation and the Whalesong Project are both organizations which record humpback whale songs from floating buoys; some of their archived recordings can be found here, here, and here. (Warning, last two may resize your browser.) DOSITS hosts a more comprehensive collection of oceanic sounds, with seals and fish along with its whales and dolphins. It also has a couple of nice sections on how animals use sounds in the ocean. (Previously.) [more inside]
Rat Sound Systems is the original punk rock sound company. Started in LA in the early 80s, it was a stalwart of the early LA punk scene (posters: it did happen). Starting in the 1990s, Rat Sound has been supplying sound for some of rock's biggest acts. They even went corporate, with a client list including Paris Hilton. Since May 2006, founder Dave Rat, who mixes the Red Hot Chili Peppers for the audience, has been keeping a tour blog. [more inside]
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]
A geek named daniel_k wanted to help his fellow Vista users. He created a set of drivers that would get their Creative sound cards working under Vista -- something beyond the ken and expertise of Creative's engineering team. Creative VP Phil O'Shaughnessy, however, took umbrage. The results? A PR disaster with hundreds of users pledging to boycott.
Things That Look Like Other Things. Also known as pareidolia, it's the phenomenon in which our brains perceive familiar things (especially faces and human forms) in random places. See also The Pareidolia Museum and the Flickr pareidolia pool. [Previous pareidolia-related threads here]
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.
The Sound Of Clothes features the precise sound of fashion materials such as feathers, sequins, glass crystals and beads, nylon, taffeta, leather, velvet, jacquard, zips and metallic chains, recorded in an anechoic chamber. Videos linked from the page might be NSFW.
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]
Holophonic sound is an audio recording technique which operates on a principle similar to Holography. The result has been reported to be realistic and life-like three dimensional sounding audio recordings. [more inside]
See For Yourself - Purves Lab's optical illusions web page with empirical explanations of familiar and unfamiliar illusions.
David McCallum's Warbike, which chimes away as it passes by (and detects) stray wifi signals. Torontonians can ride the Warbike for free until the beginning of December as part of Interaccess. [more inside]