Afternoon Dust

sounds like (___)

Lickey Hills ( outside / inside )

Some recordings made in Lickey Hills Country Park, near Birmingham. Good headphones or speakers recommended.

Lickey Hills (outside)

map

Lickey Hills (boundary)

Sunset-Sunrise, part 1

Sunset, 9 July is a piece of music programmed by me and performed by the sunset on 9th July 2014. The sunset used a light sensor to interface with software synthesizers and modify some of their variables in real-time. This was enabled using code from my previous SuperCollider post.

140201_1630 (water piece)

New piece arranged and performed in SuperCollider.

This piece is a demonstration of the Part-Aleatoric Sample Machine, a project I am working on to explore possible interfaces between human and non-human listening. In the PASM, a computer uses chance principles to select samples for playback and apply effects; a human performer decides how long each sample is played for, and also operates a simple sine wave oscillator.

The samples used in the piece were recorded at Linton Falls, North Yorkshire.

140103_1504 (pluck piece)

New piece arranged and performed in SuperCollider, using code from Bruno Ruviaro (pluck pattern) and a recording of dry leaves in a pestle.

An archive containing the SuperCollider code and audio sample can be downloaded here.

This work and all associated files are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

In defence of percepts: a response to Seth Kim-Cohen's 'Non-Cochlear Sound Art'

Seth Kim-Cohen’s In the Blink of an Ear: Towards a Non-Cochlear Sound Art (2009) is an odd book. On the one hand, the author lays on a relentless attack against what he calls “sound-in-itself”, or rather against those artists and theorists that would seek to reify such an imaginary sonic essence in order to posit it as the transcendent origin of the sound art they favour. At the same time, he articulates a version of Seventies Conceptualism that comes to replace the phenomenal sonic object as the underwriter and validator of what is now the sonic ‘text’. In the place of perception, he advocates an approach that understands sound art as a blank surface upon which the inscriptions of context — “sociality, gender, class, race, politics, and power” — can be read, going as far as to suggest that some sound works, such as Alvin Lucier’s seminal I am sitting in a room (1969), are better apprehended without listening to them.

Polderthink / New Fluid Radio design

An article I wrote in 2012 about polders, nature, and experimental ambient music has just been published over at the newly re-designed Fluid Radio. I think what I was trying to say was that Nature appears in the interactions between at least two (other) objects — a tree and a camera lens, for example, or a bird and a tree branch. Have a read, see what you think.

While you’re there, you can take a look at some of my recent music reviews and interviews.

Enjoy!

130210.1644 (flute)

First attempt to make a piece of music using sounds from a flute. I even made a short video to go with it, though panning on my cheap tripod wasn’t exactly smooth!

Here’s the full-length piece:

This download contains a high-quality FLAC file, SuperCollider source code and required audio:

Download archive

Still snowing

I wrote about Disquiet Junto, an “association for communal music/sound-making” in my end of year review for Fluid Radio recently, but I never got round to actually joining in the fun, until now. Every week a music- or sound-making task is set; for the 55th project the task was to make a track using two piano pieces by Nils Frahm. I made a piece in SuperCollider that fed one of Nils’ tracks through a high-pass filter, the bandwidth of which was modulated using the spectral centroid of the second track. This was then mixed with a clean version of the filtered track.

You can listen to the results here.

Waves

I ran a little experiment to see what sounds I could make from a single field recording using the open source programming environment SuperCollider. You can hear the results in the sound file below - the original recording comes at the end. All of the sounds heard come from analysing and manipulating the recording.

This download contains a high-quality FLAC file, plus the SuperCollider source code and audio files. Feel free to use the code with your own recordings too - I’d love to hear the results! Suggestions for improving the code are also very welcome.

Download archive

Reading Notes: Mimesis, Onomatopeia, and Ice Cream

Allen S. Weiss’ Varieties of Audio Mimesis: Musical Evocations of Landscape is only a short book, yet its succinct and convincing arguments were enough to make me rethink my assumptions. The essay is primarily concerned with how mimesis has and can operate in music and sound art, but before this issue can be addressed, a consideration of sound and meaning in language is needed. Weiss identifies two extreme positions that date back at least as far as Plato: one proposes that there is an inherent natural link between the sound of a word and the meaning to which it refers (naturalism), while the other states that the link between a word and its referent is entirely governed by social convention (conventionalism).