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Minimalist Ringtones

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Tank-FX: a huge tank for natural reverb

Why try to emulate the reverb of a space if you can have the real thing? Tank-FX is a website where you can upload a sample and have it played back in a huge 11m high former water tank. The sound gets sent back to you immediately, including the natural reverb from this tank:

On their website (German only for now) you can upload a sample from an Akai S-2000 style interface. You can set the desired output file format (flac, ogg, mp3), and the dry/wet ratio. Your sound will be played through a set of JBL speakers and recorded by a matched pair of Røde NT-5 microphones, providing a good quality recording. I was expecting to hear a huge reverb tail and I found the result a bit disappointing the first time, but it actually sounds very good. Try it yourself or get an idea by listening to the examples on their website.

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Can the human body be an instrument?

Yesterday I visited Steim to see Tanto de Nada for voice, live electronics and live video by duo bang.grab.stutter and Eric Lyon with The Biomuse Trio. Tanto de Nada is a very nice composition by Evelien van den Broek and Danny de Graan, in which the voice controls software processing the voice, resulting in a pleasant and dynamic sonic experience based on sung and spoken words in different languages.

The Biomuse Trio showed a work in progress by composer Eric Lyon consisting of sound input from violinist Gascia Ouzounian, processed by software controlled by sensors attached to Benjamin Knapps' arms. After the performances there was room for discussion and one interesting question arose: Do those sensors attached to a persons body form an instrument?

Click to read more ...


Social sound design: Tweet a Sound

Tweet a Sound is a small application that lets you design a simple sound and send it over Twitter. You download the application from the Sound + Design website, and you can start tweaking your sound. Once you're happy with the result you can tweet it, which sends an unreadable tweet to your account. It's just a series of numbers prefixed with #tas:

Tweet on twitter

It would be nice to have Twitter integrated in the program so you can receive sounds directly. This is not possible though. You'll have to copy paste the code into the program in order to play the sound.

Now why would you want to do this?

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Soundwalkers by Raquel Castro

How do we listen to the world around us? How do we use this information to navigate our way through the world? What is music? What is noise? How did our city soundscape transform from vertical to horizontal? How is that influencing us? Should we get used to this?

A couple of questions Raquel Castro asks in Soundwalkers. It's great to see this movie now I just started this website, as Soundwalkers gives a very nice overview of the subjects I write about on Everyday Listening. It's a nice beginner's guide to listening more consciously.


Fight against sound pollution: dance!

There's a lot of sound surrounding us. A busy city is not a quiet place. Cars and trucks produce sound, people produce sound, but some of it is really just pollution. Motor scooters with annoyingly loud exhausts, kids on the train listening to urban beats from the thin sounding speakers of their mobile phones, it's a pathetic sight.

What can you do about it? Well, accept it if you want to survive everyday city life, or dance your feet off like this man does. A subtle and fun way to express your discomfort, isn't it?


Mexico City: Coyoacán market by morning

In the Places catergory I will share recordings I've made of places I've been to. It's inspiring to hear how different parts of the world sound. If you close your eyes the sound takes you there for a moment.

In this first part an easy, sunny morning at the beautiful Coyoacán market in Mexico City. I was sitting there, enjoying a freshly made cappuchino, when an organ player came by with his interestingly tuned instrument.

Street musicians change the atmosphere of a place. They create a context in which you look at things. Sometimes it just fits, like in a movie, in which a quiet scene gets accompanied by music. But you need to take the time to let this happen.

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Singing Bizovik bridge by Jodi Rose

Don't bridges look like harps sometimes, like massive instruments of giants? That's what inspired Jodi Rose to use contact microphones to capture the sound of a bridge, as you can see in this video.

What we hear is something new, something we didn't hear before, it's a huge structure that seems to come to live and share its feelings with its haunting voice.

In this particular case the sound was combined with a live cinema performance. Read more about Jodi Rose and hear projects at


Leafcutter John remix competition

I've seen Leafcutter John play live twice. The first time was amazing. It was a perfect performance combining the sounds of the guitar, cello and vocals with funny sounds, like from blowing on a straw in a glass of water, live processed with his handwritten software.

The second time was not good at all. He sung loud and uncontrolled like a drunkard, and the whole performance totally missed the nuance and intimicy of the first one. While this left a bad taste in my mouth I have to say I still like his music, and his way of melting together instruments and everyday sounds.

Now you can remix Leafcutter John. There's a competition ending at the end of this month, so you have about two weeks left. There already is a good amount of remixes to be heard on his website, including a very nice one by Sunken Foal. Click on the image for details.


The Nine Inch Nails business model

If you've been wondering how artists like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails can survive while giving away their music for free, this will be an interesting interview to watch. Digg founder Kevin Rose interviews Trent Reznor on the Digg Dialogue.


Amazing music making machines

I found this wonderful video via Make Magazine showing music making machines created by Felix Thorn in his South London bedroom:

Thorn created the instrument because he wanted his compositions to be played without a performer. I wonder how many other great installations are made in bedrooms we don't know of and maybe will never hear.

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