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Sunday
Dec082013

Very Quiet Records

Tony Whitehead is a sound recordist and owner of the label Very Quiet Records and sub-label Very Quiet Records Static. He releases recordings of quiet places and situations from sound artists and field recordists from all over the world.

I met Tony back in january 2010 when I was an intern at Sound and Music in England. He organised a 12-hour soundwalk through the town of Plymouth, which was an unforgettable experience. Walking the fringes of the town, we found some beautiful spots near the sea. The longer we walked, the more we got into a trance where we were purely focused on the sounds, sights and smells of our cold winter surroundings.

Plymouth by night

The records he releases on Very Quiet Records range from quite static, noisy wind recordings to more dynamic recordings of objects or nature. Most of these recordings exist of one-takes of around ~40 minutes to an hour. When listening on headphones, they quickly become your artificial surrounding. When the recording ends, the silence is almost unbearable, as you’ve become accustomed to the crickets or sounds of the shore.

Tuesday
Nov262013

Play the Road

There’s some music I associate with traveling by car. I don’t own a car and travel by public transport most of the time, so it’s mostly based around memories of sitting in the back of my parents’ car, listening to Phil Collins, Crowded House and the like. But I do ‘get’ what people call “driving music”. Some music’s just better suited to drive to.

Volkswagen played on this concept, taking driving music further. Collaborating with dance music artists Underworld and audio specialist Nick Ryan, maybe best known for his 3D audio game Papa Sangre, they created an app which reads different data streams from a smartphone which are then used to generate the music. So when you’re slowly driving along a country road on a rainy thursday morning, the music’s going to sound a whole lot different than if you’re speeding down the motorway on your way home that night.

I think it’s good to see technologies like this that have been around in more open-source efforts like MobMuPlat being used by R&D departments of bigger companies to bring new experiences like these to a broader audience. The app isn’t commercially available yet, but they are inviting people to “play the road” themselves.

Wednesday
Nov202013

Stay Tuned

An audio work and installation based on the moment when an orchestra gets in tune, before a performance. An event that I wish could last forever, which is exactly what ‘Stay Tuned’ is about.

For this installation piece consisting of a multiple speaker setup, Rutger Zuydervelt (better known under his Machinefabriek moniker) asked 150 artists to record an ‘A’, the note an orchestra normally tunes to. Each recorded note has it’s own characteristics, and is part of the whole.

The speakers are spaced so that one can walk through this orchestra of sounds, created by individual speakers emitting one characteristic ‘A’ at the time. Walking through this orchestra, your experience of the piece slightly changes as your proximity from source to source changes.

The piece was presented at Sounds Like Audio Art festival last July in Saskatoon, Canada, as well as at the Into the Great Wide Open festival on Vlieland, the Netherlands. For the latter, speakers were strapped to trees at a spacious spot in the woods. Imagine stumbling upon this installation whilst walking through the forest at sundown. Would be quite the experience. 

For more Machinefabriek I can heartily recommend the collaboration with Banabila he recently released: Travelog.

Wednesday
Nov132013

WAVES

Light and sound are two types of waves. Like radio and the waves that our cell phones make to communicate with each other. We are continuously surrounded by waves, but we never see them.


GLOW Festival is a huge, annual light-art festival which happens every November in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. It provides a platform for artists, designers and architects working with light to expose their works in the public space. I visited yesterday, and the city centre was very, very crowded. A few minutes from the city centre, GLOW Next is organised, with more experimental and often smaller works.

One of these interesting projects is WAVES, by students from OPENLIGHT: the creative lab of intelligent Lighting Institute of the TU Eindhoven (with whom I’ve worked in the past), in collaboration with 15 sound experts from Sorama. The latter created a “sound camera”, a device with 1024 microphones which can very precisely locate a sound in a space.

The students from TU/e took this technology, placed it in an industrial space, and visualised the sound waves. People are encouraged to make sounds, whistle, stomp their feet, or play one of the instruments hanging in the room to visualise their sound waves. It was an amazing sight to see a dark space full of people actively engaged in making different sounds, amazed by the projected visuals they created.

Sunday
Nov102013

Introducing Mark IJzerman

I started Everyday Listening on March 31 (my birthday) 2009. I’ve loved working on it, and it brought me in contact with amazing designers, and people who are truly passionate about sound and making the world more concious of its importance.

Lately I haven’t been posting a lot though. Those who follow me know I’ve been asked to move from Amsterdam to California to engage in new andventures in Silicon Valley which I’m very excited about! See my LinkedIn profile to get an idea. 

Over the past four and a half years Everyday Listening has become known in its niche, and I still love it and really want it to continue. I’m happy to announce I found Mark IJzerman willing to help me out. Mark was one of my students and later colleagues at HKU University of the of Arts Utrecht, and has a similar eye and ear for the projects you typically find on Everyday Listening. I hope you will all keep visiting the site and keep sending in your projects. Mark, the floor is yours!

Keep listening,

Hugo

Wednesday
Aug212013

HyperCube

HyperCube is an immersive light and sound installation created by Jaap van den Elzen and Augusto Meijer. In their own words it’s:

an art installation in which the viewer is immersed in an audiovisual environment. The cube-shaped space of the Hypercube - surrounded by mirrors and dynamic lightlines - guarantees a stunning multi-sensory experience. Infinite reflections, lack of spatial reference, intense focus, disorientation and a distorted sense of time and space are key. Hypercube gives its own definition of how space can be experienced and adds a new dimension to one of the most cultivated building blocks known to mankind: the Cube.

Augusto (sound) and Jaap (video) have collaborated on various projects. To learn more about their projects visit augustomeijer.com and jaapvandenelzen.nl.

Tuesday
Jul232013

Quotidian Record

Brian House created Quotidian Record, a great looking vinyl record on which he makes locational data audible:

As the record turns, the markings on the platter indicate both the time as it rotates through every 24 hours and the names of the cities to which I travel. The sound suggests that our habitual patterns have inherent musical qualities, and that daily rhythms might form an emergent portrait of an individual.

To record his location data he used the OpenPaths app, which records your location data privately. Listening to the sound of the record patterns can be heard, although it doesn’t really have a musical quality. An interesting concept nonetheless. 

Saturday
Jun222013

Sonic Water

The most amazing results come from the simplest ideas, presented in a beautiful way. In this case, it’s a bottlecap filled with water, vibrating on a large speaker. The result: wonderful, complex patterns, recorded using a camera shooting in macro mode and projected on a large screen behind the installation. Sonic Water treats us to a great example of cymatics - the visualization of sound. 

Next to the installation there’s a room, a laboratory, where people can experiment with their own sound input: by playing a synthesizer, singing into a microphone or playing song from their phone, and see if Mozart indeed looks more harmonious than Slayer. 

The installation, created by Sven Meyer & Kim Pörksen has been shown in the Olympus OMD Photography Playground in Berlin from April 25 till May 24, 2013.

Fotos by diephotodesigner.de

Sunday
Jun162013

Murmur

“Talking to walls” is the tagline for Murmur, a video and sound installation which translates sound waves into visuals. The audience can talk into the Murmur ‘echo chamber’, and a direct visible interaction with the visuals on the walls becomes apparent. The visitor’s murmurations become visible. 

Murmur was created by a multidisciplinary group of French artists. It’s an interesting experiment, exploring visualization of sound interactively. What the direct relationship between the spoken words and the resulting visuals are remains a mistery though.

Wednesday
May292013

329 prepared dc-motors in a toluene tank

Zimoun has done it again. His installations seem to get bigger and bigger, and all based around the same principle: many small prepared dc-motors spinning endlessly like a flock of insects. This time in the form of 329 prepared dc-motors, cotton balls, toluene tank.

The sound installation is designed very clean and well. The lack of visual disturbances such as cables enhance the feeling of autonomy of these things. The tank, located in Dottikon, Switzerland, melts the gentle knocking into a cloud of sound, like rain on the roof of a tent. 

The tank from the outside. Nothing seems abnormal here.

Also read Zimoun’s answers to the ‘five sound questions’ I asked him three years ago, back in 2010. See his website to read more about his projects.