Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Beautiful Chaos

The Chinese zither (one which I've recently acquired) I find is a very meditative instrument. No skill seems necessary for milking beautiful sounds out of it. Because it is so intuitive to operate, it acts as a very compelling reflection of nature, both with its rhythm and the microcosms of chaos that operate within that rhythm. That is the soul of this sound work, to interpret the sound of nature within a single string instrument. I've created some simple melodic rhythms and layered over that a sample of me plucking at it indiscriminately as if letting the chaos of nature overtake it. I consider this a meditative sound piece, freeing my mind through the process of jamming.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Here are the 3 dinosaurs I've discovered through the combination of various sounds:
1. Combines a roaring cheetah, part of a Nine Inch Nails song, and a motorcycle.
2. A food mixer, ducks, and howling wolves.
3. A submachine gun, screen door, spider monkey, and a flamethrower.

The goal here was basically to combine animal sounds with industrial sounds to make the most natural dinosaur sounds possible. These sounds I used were modified drastically to create them. And here it is:  

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pirating Numbers

Yargh, I've pillaged all my music for all the numbers contained in it all. Here is the list of numbers generated: 3, 1 000 000, 1, 46, 2, 16, 99, 17, 21, 35, 52, 40, 1999, 7, 4, 0, 100, 40, 1969, 1973, 1979, 3, 500, 1000, 60, 10, 9, 20, 45, 300, 92, 50 000 000 000, 1955, 50 000 000, 50, and 2.5. I counted all Ohh's and Nothing's as 0, just to keep it interesting! It's really interesting pulling the numbers out of the context of their song, it strips them of their meaning, and also leaves the song without numbers in it. It's like an anti-numeric revolution! Kids, don't pirate music, get your musical fix at iTunes...or, don't sell out to them, thats much more awesome!

Credits of this piece (in no particular order) go to:
The Proclaimers
The Tragically Hip
Plain White Tees
The Watchmen
Lil' Jon
Bob Marley
The White Stripes
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Tom Petty
Led Zeppelin
Linkin Park
The Muse
Head Automatica
Matchbox 20
Barenaked Ladies
No Doubt
Frank Sinatra
The Eagles
Holly McNarland
Eddie Vedder
James Blunt
Smashing Pumpkins

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Listening Questions

from: Deep Listening: A Composer's Sound Practice by Pauline Oliveros

1.What is your earliest memory of sound?  How do you feel about it now? I don't think I have an earliest memory of sound. There was never really a point when I was conscious of sound.

2. When do you notice your breath? When I'm trying to sleep, and when something scares the shit out of me.

3. What is attention? A full awareness of the senses, the ability to pick up on anything and everything.

4. Can you imagine composing or improvising a piece based on breath rhythms? Sure

5. What sound reminds you of home? Closet doors opening or closing, the garage door.

6. Do you listen for sound in your dreams?  What do you hear?  How does it
affect you? My mind tends to compose a score for my dreams, voices of people are also quite important. The score tends to affect how I feel after the dream.

7. The distinguished historian, Wiliam H. McNeil, has recently argued in his
book Keeping Together in Time that "coordinated rhythmical activity is
fundamental to life in society."
Can you imagine tracking a rhythm pattern in your daily life and writing about
it? The rhythms of daily life aren't really interesting enough to write about, it's the absurdities that are worth writing about.

8. Can you imagine rhythm pattern for the rhythm circle with your own form of
notation? ....what??

9. Can you imagine composing or improvising a piece for voices using attention
patterns? I think I could.

10. What is sound? Vibrations.

11. What is listening? Becoming aware of sound, paying attention to it.

12. What action(s) is usually synchronized with sound? ...Dancing? or just nothing at all

13. When do you feel sound in your body? Music with deep bass to it, blasting it while I'm driving, thats when I really feel it.

14. What sound fascinates you? The sound of silence...the things you notice during silence are amazing.

15. What is a soundscape? The sensory overload of hearing, produced particularly in a city, which I like to get away from when I can.

16. What are you hearing right now?  How is it changing? Someone clearing throat, classmates talking, me typing this answer, ambient noise of people from the cafeteria downstairs.

17. How many sounds can you hear all at once? As many as exist, but I of course can't LISTEN to them all.

18. How far can you hear sounds? As far as they are still audible

19. Are you sure that you are hearing every thing that is to hear? Everything that is within the range of my hearing, I hear, so yes I'm hearing everything there is to hear.

20. What more could you hear if you had bigger ears? (or smaller) Wouldn't hear more with bigger ears, would just hear it all more clearly, which would actually be quite a headache.

21. Can you hear more sounds if you are quiet?  How many more? Nope, i just pay attention to them more.

22. How long can you listen? As long as something holds my interest.

23. When are you not listening? When I'm falling asleep or distracted.

24. Can you not listen when something is sounding? Not often

25. Try not listen to anything.  What happens? My mind is tricked and everything amplifies.

26. How can you not listen if your ears never close? It's all in your state of mind. Part of meditation is to clear your mind, when your mind is clear, that is when you are able to not listen.

27. What meaning does any sound have for you? Music has a ton of meaning, it's a lot of what inspires me.

28. What is favourite sound?  How is it made?  When can you hear it?  Are you
hearing it now? Spanish guitar, i mostly hear it mediated through speakers, but to hear it live is something else.

29. What is the soundscape of the space you are now occupying? Voices layered over air conditioning layered over ambient music, typical school soundscape.

30. How is the soundscape shaped?  or what makes a soundscape? Shaped by layers of sound, which depends on the distance a sound comes from, and the acoustics of surrounding space(s).

31. What is the soundscape of your neighborhood? Ambient city noise, layered under the sound of cars driving nearer by.

32. What is the soundscape of your city? Just terrible white noise of cars and factories and airplanes and business.

33. How many different soundscapes can you imagine? At least half a dozen.

34. What would you like to have in your own soundscape? Water, natural water, light wind in trees, just the sounds of nature, where I can turn my mind off easier.

35. What would you record to represent your soundscape? Go out to the middle of nature, and just record the silence.

36. What sound makes you speculative? Machines of any sort.

37. What sounds gives you chills? Those of the organic slimey sort.

38. What sound ruffles your scalp? Really awesome guitar riffs

39. What sound changes your breathing? can't think of any.

40. What sound would you like whispered in your ear? You don't want to know!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Evolving Beat

I ended up using the program Breakage for this project, which is basically just a simple beat-making machine. What I like about it is that the beat can evolve at will by choosing where and when you want the base, snare, or high hat to play. With this program you can go from a techno beat to a more hip-hop beat, with a matter of half a dozen clicks in the right places. The beat was kind of boring at 8 minutes long, but when I compressed it to 6 minutes, it ended up a lot more interesting, because then it became harder to pick out a rhythm. I made it more interesting by taking a woman's singing voice and slowed it down enough to make it sound like a didjeridoo, and just laying that over the beat i made. Kudos to anyone who can guess what the hidden song is. Here is The Evolving Beat:

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Wheelchair's Lament: A Sonic Journey

I played with a lot of random mundane sounds at first, but after strapping the recorder to the frame of my electric wheelchair, closest to the motor, it seemed to gain a personality of its own. In this piece, my wheelchair finds itself stuck in this routine of mundanity, which becomes nothing but obnoxious noise. The wheelchair finally makes an escape, but only briefly before it becomes sucked back into the noise again. Thus, The Wheelchair's Lament:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ubu Web Presentation

The piece I picked was pretty much the first thing that caught my ear, a guy by the name of DJ Food. The original version of Raiding The 20th Century was a 40 minute attempt to catalogue the history of cut-up music. It's basically the audio version of collage-ing, taking samples of stuff that already exists and making something new and interesting out of it. I don't care much for Jay-Z but somehow mashing him with the Beatles makes for something I can listen to. Mashing up Destiny's Child with Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit is just another good example. Merging genres as well as transcending time in this mix is definitely postmodern. If you can't make something new, do something new with something that already exists.