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Entries in vinyl (8)


Abstract Turntablism

Everyday Listening is starting an experiment with guest bloggers. This way we’re able to bring more art pieces and performances from all over the world. The following piece is from Gabriele Cavallo, an art/music journalist interested in sound art and contemporary cross-boundary practices. He attended the Sonic Arts Research Centre symposium in Belfast.

Maria Chavez is a New York-based abstract turntablist. After her debut as a DJ in 1996, the Lima-born, New York based artist has received the legacy of artists such as Christian Marclay, Pauline Oliveros and Christian Wolff. In late May 2015, Belfast Queen’s University hosted a two-day symposium, aimed to investigate the possibilities for parallel approaches to chance in music and legal cases. Chavez performed on her turntables at SARC (Sonic Arts Research Centre). Her performance lasted over 45 mins and was divided into three main sections.

An excerpt of Maria’s performance

Chavez plays two desks, which are connected to a multi-track mixer. She digs out the sonic possibilities of vinyls and record players as physical materials: she taps, scratches, presses on their surface; amplifies and elaborates glitches and shrieks, etcetera. Defective needle styli, or damaged disks are used on purpose. In the middle of her performance, the artist even shatters the vinyls and lets the fragments spin on tables. Throughout the work, she also hits her instruments with found objects, such as stones or small crocks, transforming the turntables into multi-sources of sound production.

From the midst of this multi-media originated texture, excerpts of recordings emerge and are skillfully integrated into the acoustic fabric. Chavez intends sounds as part of a dialogue with the environment. She’s not afraid to interact with the surrounding space, as she welcomes the random sounds by the audience by responding to them cleverly.

Taking part in her performance was an intense, immersive experience. Chavez weaved together sonic events, produced in contrasting ways. She avoids rethorical solutions, interacts with external stimuli and stays multi-faceted and coherent.




Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard is a Danish composer who, in his series SOUND X SOUND has been working with multiplying instruments to make the sound transcend itself, creating a pure new sound without references to anything.

The SOUND X SOUND series consists of a cycle of 7” vinyls where each release is an exploration of one single instrument, multiplied. The first release consists of music composed for 8 recorders. The aim is to get the instrument to exceed its own familiar sound and be transformed into a new and clean sound, by multiplying it. It was released on the 25th of november on Hiatus.

Currently, Niels is running a crowdfunding campaign for his next 7”, a fantastic spectral piece based on 30 chromatic tuners. You can watch the Kickstarter video below.

In these two cases, Niels uses the strengths of the instruments very well, treating the recorder as a single frequency and the tuner as a spectral building block. This tickles my curiosity; what will be the next instrument in the SOUND X SOUND series?



Over the years, we’ve seen quite some artists working with old media such as tape recorders and records. Jimmy Eadie is also exploring the imperfections of old media. In his work Wow&Flutter he explores the phenomena of mechanical instabilities of turntables that can cause subtle pitch variations and beating effects on playback.

The first recorded music I experienced was on vinyl and I always seem to remember the hiss, static
and random jumps of the needle as much as the music itself. I would play with the turntable speeds, changing records from 45 RPM to 33 RPM and was intrigued at this new slowed down sound world.
This piece could be considered a listening sculpture celebrating and evoking that memory.
To Eadie, the imperfections are as important as the music itself. To enhance this effect, he chose to put the music on acetate disc instead of vinyl, as those disintegrate more rapidly and thus the composition will “age” with each successive play until the surface noise becomes intertwined with the music itself. Furthermore, he used the properties of the turntables to make his composition. As he wanted the visitor to be able to make their own composition by changing the position of the needles on the eight turntables as well as the playback speeds (33, 45 and 78 RPM), he chose his sounds wisely and composed his music by calculating what the pitches of the sounds would be at other playback speeds.

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. 



The Mother, called MOM.

Isn’t it smart to call you project ‘WOW’? Everyone using this as the title will look impressed. You know I like my things simple. The Cleartones project is a good example of this. But WOW, created by Carl Schilde, takes minimalism to the next level. It’s a vinyl record with just one sine tone. You can change the pitch of the tone yourself though, by switching your turntable from 33.3 rpm (a tone of, indeed, 33.3 Hz) to 45 rpm. The groove of the sine wave creates a nice visible pattern on the vinyl.

So why would you want to play a record like this? I like the way they describe how the record will bring up the little imperfections of your record player. Each needle and each tone arm will sound different. You will hear wow and flutter, and WOW will shake the whole building when you turn up the volume. You can read more about WOW and order one of the records (priced at €33.33) on Is this the thing you’ve wished for all your life? Then why not forget about that brand new car and spend €33,333.33 on the silver master record of WOW, called MOM (pictured above).


Phonograph CD Player

The Phonograph CD Player has been around for a while, but I had never seen it before. In these days most music we play cannot even be touched anymore, and the CD is slowly becoming obsolete. This Phonograph CD player created by Yong Jieyu & Ama Xue Hong Bin brings us back to the world of vinyl and the phonograph.

The player is made from the insides of a portable CD player. The CD has to be put on the player upside down, so the laser on the ‘tone arm’ can access it and it moves fron the inside out. This is what the player looks like with no disk: 

Click to read more ...



After looking at the Sew-O-Phone and the Vacumonium, there is another work by Dennis de Bel I would like to share with you. This is the Brick-Up, a concrete pick-up. I do not know if the concrete body improves the sound, but it does look great!

As Dennis de Bel writes on his website, the Brick-Up can be part of a concrete pavement and become a real ‘stratenspeler’ (Dutch for ‘street player’). I think it is better off inside the house though. A maximum of ten Brick-Ups is custom made on request. 


Crosley Revolution turntable

While we are on the topic of the different formats our music can come in, this is a great example of the revival of an old one. The Crosley portable Revolution turntable seems to be designed for people who still have some vinyl record but do not have the space for a full size turntable.

I found this nice and compact battery powered machine via Retro Thing, and as they conclude, its form factor is almost identical to the Audio Technica AT-727 'Sound Burger'. It looks great, but the record is unprotected and it will not replace your iPod as it is hard to fit one (including record) in you pocket.