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Website: Building Sound

We can discuss the right use and effectiveness of sound on websites, and in most cases we will hear background music and interface sounds, but the Building Sound website is using sound in a way I have never seen (or heard) before!

As we mouse over the colored horizontal bars on the website we hear the name of each menu item. The length of the bar gives an indication of the length of the item we will hear when we click on it. It is fascinating to see how easy it actually is to navigate this site without any textual information. 

The implementation is done well, although the site leaves some things to be desired. What if we surf the web with the sound turned off? And to be honest, there is a lot of background noise in the files and the intonation of the voice we hear is not very compelling. Nonetheless, a great idea.

Via Joachim Baan


Starting next week: Five Sound Questions

Next week I will start a new, weekly series on Everyday Listening: ‘Five sound questions’. I will ask various sound artists, sound designers and other sound professionals to answer these five questions about sound:

1. What sound from your childhood made the most impression on you?

2. How do you listen to the world around you?

3. Which place in the world do you favor for its sound?

4. How could we make sound improve our lives?

5. What sound would you like to wake up to?

I am eager to learn the answers to these questions from all these talented people. If you are working with sound professionally and you would like to participate in this series, please let me know. Just send me a little info about you and your work and a link to your website or blog.


A portrait of Eliane Radigue

In this portrait created by the Austrian Institute of Media Archeology we see Eliane Radigue, a remarkable French composer, talking about the process of composition and recording. As her cat sleeps on the cupboard, we see her tweaking the knobs of the old ARP 2500 synthesizer.

Eliane Radigue about her sounds: 

If you are ready to open yourself up to them, to listen truly and devote yourself to listening, they really have a fascinating, magnetic power. [...] Above all I listened to them with the greatest respect, trying to understand what they had to say. 


What is your favorite sound?

My friends from Creative Heroes created this nice little commenting/polling system: the AnswerGarden. So here is my first AnswerGarden question to you: what is your favorite sound? Fill in your own answer or click on an existing one and hit 'submit'!


KarmetiK Machine Orchestra

Electronic music performed on stage often leaves a lot to be desired in terms of visual entertainment. That is a good point Ajay Kapur, director of Music Technology at CalArts and founder of the KarmetiK Machine Orchestra, makes. 

Were as robotic instruments on themselves can still be quite static, controlling these instruments with technology, and combining the result with live instruments certainly creates a more lively image on stage. 



The history of modern electronic music can be explored with Sync/Lost, an interactive multi-user installation, created by 3Bits, a creative studio from Brazil. Up to three users can interact with the installation simultaneously. 

The installation uses Wii-motes and wireless headphones or speakers. Users can browse and listen to the different genres and see the connections between them. On the right of the screen we find more information about the selected tracks.

Via Richard van Tol



While for some of us the CD is far from obsolete, it is a fact that it is not as easy for an artist to sell a physical album as it was in the pre-iPod era. And as we can buy an album on iTunes for half the price we had to pay in the store, that is what many of us choose.

Limited editions of interesting boxes might convince music buyers otherwise. Like this design by Jaroslav Juřica. The first time you open the package the cover graphics are created. A limited edition: only 60 pieces are manufactured. 

Via Dave Haynes


"Silence, Please"

Some sounds border on silence. They are unnoticed, ignored, but gently surround us every day. There is no complete silence in our world, even in our quietest moments. That is what "Silence, Please" illustrates.

Chris Kubick created a catalog of these sounds. He codified these sounds in the form of text (wrote them out on transparencies), thus creating a silent 'sound installation'. This catalog "attempts to represent peace, tranquility, emptiness".

If this installation just makes visitors more aware of the sounds around them, it already serves its purpose, in my opinion.


The sound of frozen water

Berlin Based composer and sound artist Andreas Bick made underwater recordings of a frozen lake near Berlin. It is a wonderfully clear recording, made with underwater microphones placed directly under the ice sheet.

It reveals some haunting sounds we will never be able to hear live. If you would not know the source you would probably not guess these sounds are made by frozen water. Visit Andreas' blog Silent Listening and listen to his recordings!

Via Simon Wald-Lasowski


Trimpin: the sound of invention

I have not seen the documentary yet, but watching this trailer makes me absolutely want to! In Trimpin: the sound of invention, San Fransisco filmmaker Peter Esmonde follows the artist Trimpin on his inspiring journey into the world of sound.

Trimpin is a wizard when it comes to sound installations, music making machines and building new musical instruments. In this documentary we can see him collaborate with the Kronos Quartet, designing a perpetual motion sculpture, building a tower of self-tuning, automatic electric guitars, among others.

Via Joachim Baan