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Entries in recording (14)


Every Object Has a Spirit

Oliver Jennings is a graphic design graduate from the Camberwell College of Art. Strangely enough, he’s been focusing on sound, exploring the natural sounds present in everyday objects.

In “Every Object Has a Spirit” he does just that. Using contact microphones, he captures the inner resonances of objects. Using a device to capture bio-activity in plants, he generates MIDI-notes based on the miniscule electronic impulses.

I especially like the contact mics, as they’re an amplification of a physical resonance, and are very closely related to the object one sees. For the MIDI-triggering plants this is less true, although Jennings does make a nice composition, in sound as well as images. In the description under the video on Vimeo, there’s a legend explaining the source of the sounds in the video, which gives an insight in how the sounds are made.

The ending is also quite strong, pulling the contact-mics out of his recorder, moving from the internal sounds of the bridge to the external sound of his surroundings.


Washful Thinking

In 1993 Ward Weis made an auditory city map of Antwerp, as it was cultural capital of Europe back then. Everyday sounds are his main inspiration, and now he focuses on the sound of washing machines. On his website you can send in your on recording, as well as listen to the washing machines recorded by others.

Opposite to other household electronics (who would want to listen to a vacuum cleaner for an hour?), the common sound of a washing machine isn’t annoying at all. Listening to the mix of various washing machines on the website, uploaded by users from all around Europe, is quite relaxing. 

Good advice from mr. Weis for listening: “it is recommended to listen it in front of your own washing machine”. Just so you know. 

Photo by Mastrobiggo


The First Recording Ever Made

The phonautograph invented by Edouard-Léon Scott de Martinville

Have you ever heard the first recording ever made? Today you can. It was French inventor Edouard-Léon Scott de Martinville who created a machine called the phonautograph, which made it possible to capture sound waves. 

The phonautograph transcribed sound rather than recording it. A hog’s bristle was used to inscribe a sound’s waveform on lamp-blackened glass and later on paper. The sound waves were focused using a barrel like the one shown on the picture above. 

The first recording of sound which was actually directly playable was done on Thomas Edison’s phonograph, the predecessor of the gramophone, the device we have been listening music on until the late 1980’s

Click to read more ...


Sound around you

Sound around you is a project by the University of Salford (UK). The goal of the project is to create a sound map of the UK as part of a new study into how sounds in our everyday environment make us feel.

To participate in the project you can record a sound clip with your mobile phone or portable recorder and send it to sound around you website, together with the answer to some questions about the recorded sounds.

An interesting attempt. I wonder if a person living in a busy and noisy city center feels as relaxed as a person living on the countryside. After analysis by 'acoustic scientists' significant findings will be reported on the website.


Sweden: The sound of lake Övre Gla

As I wrote in my previous post, the Swedish lakes are so peaceful, quiet and beautiful. Especially the ones without a lot of motorized boats and far away from busy roads. The only thing you hear while paddling around is yourself, touching the water, and in this case you hear the sound of  my breath and my raincoat now and then. It's not so much the sound of the place itself this time, as it was very quiet. 

It was a rainy week, luckily we only had a little rain when we were on the water. It took us about five hours to paddle around the island in the middle of the lake. A beautiful, rocky island with lots of wild blueberries, providing a nice dessert to our lunch.


Listen to the world on Radio Aporee

Last week we took a look at SoundTransit, a website with many location based recordings, and I wrote about having a similar idea and how I was surprised to find out this already had been done. Apparently I wasn’t the only one, as I found a couple of similar projects.

There’s one of them I’d really like to share with you, as it comes closest to my vision of it. Radio Aporee shows us a large map, and each red dot resembles a sound recorded at that location. You can listen to the sounds by clicking on the dots, and add your own recordings without having to create an account.

One little problem: I tried to upload a sound myself, but it didn’t work. Hopefully a temporary bug? I really like browsing the sounds of the world like this.


Go on a sonic journey with SoundTransit

I like to share my own recordings of the places I traveled to in the 'Places' category. I've been thinking of creating a system to collaboratively share these 'sonic pictures' from all over the world. It would be very inspiring to be able to listen to any part of the world.

But it seems I'm too late! SoundTransit, a project created by Derek Holzer, Sara Kolster and Marc Boon, does exactly that. You can search for sounds by keyword, country, city. You can also book a transit: choose your point of departure, a destination and an amount of stopovers, and your journey will be ready in a moment. I just went from Marrakech to Antwerp via Vienna. It basically just crossfades the files, but it's a nice idea.

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Listen to the streets of Mexico City

We are looking down at the intersection of Av. Juan Escutia and Calle Zamora in Condesa, Mexico City, from a window on the third floor. Normally I'm not that interested in the sound of cars driving by. But this urban soundscape is so remarkably different than the western European one I'm used to!

We hear lots of trucks, big ones, with loud diesel engines, fuelling the air with smog. We hear the typical sound of the green and white Volkswagen Beetles which form the majority of the taxis in Mexico City. And then we hear a melody. A man is selling some sort of corn product down on the street. The melody stops and the man starts to recommend his goods using a megaphone, followed by the same melody. I guess it's lunch time!

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Places: Amsterdam Central Station

This time we’re at the Amsterdam central station. While making our way to the platform the lady with the nice voice tells us a train is delayed by five minutes. We keep walking. Half a minute later we hear her again, this time telling us the same train is delayed by ten minutes. It doesn’t matter, we’re not traveling to Rotterdam anyway.

At the platform trains are coming and going, people are waiting, but we can’t hear them because the sound of the trains fills up the big hall. Towards the end the lady starts announcing another delay, we don’t know if it’s our train though, as her words drown in the overwhelming sound of another train passing by our platform.

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Marrakech: People singing in the streets

This week I’ll take you to Morocco again, where the sound in the streets can be so very different from what I hear every day. While sitting in a small hotel room in Marrakech, resting after a long walk in the city, this is what I heard.

Is it a wedding? Can someone tell me what they are celebrating? The group passes and moves away. While we can hear the music speed up in the distance, the sound in the street returns to normal.

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