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Friday, September 30, 2011

Lecture: Andra McCartney at Marionopolis College

Sound Walk Lecture. (32:36) Andra McCartney discusses the experience and purposes of soundwalks and her interest in doing research based upon purposeful listening. This presentation was given as part of a lecture series at Marionopolis College, Montreal, on March 8, 2011.

Source: YouTube

Research: Andra McCartney: Soundwalk Interactions

Andra McCartney has been, since the mid 1990s, developing an approach to the creation of electroacoustic soundwalk art which integrates audience responses into the creative development of walks and installations. Through her background in ethnomusicology, communication, and cultural studies, she thinks and writes about electroacoustic, sound art and sound recording fields as cultures, considering what kinds of interpretive routines are acceptable within these disciplines, and how aesthetic and professional discourses are established. She transforms soundwalk recordings into interactive installations. Her present project, Soundwalking Interactions, focuses on the experiences of audiences with different kinds of soundwalk activities. Source:

Andrasound's Channel Contains numerous short videos related to her research and soundwalk interactions.

Noise Issues: China Noise Problems and Policy

Noise Pollution Control Plans. (:48)  Xinahua News Agency. VO China is working on new measures to combat noise pollution. The new guidelines focus on addressing noise pollution in areas including industry, construction, traffic and people's daily lives. For example, they ban businesses from using acoustic instruments outdoors. The new rules also say motor vehicles should strictly observe the speed limit. While traffic restrictions and horn-sounding bans around "noise-sensitive buildings" such as hospitals, schools and residential buildings, will be enforced. According to the guidelines, government agencies will also set up a system to examine the sound-proof qualities of civilian buildings. Major cities will establish an auto noise monitoring system and set up at least one noise display screen by the end of 2011. Source: Daily Motion.

Beijing Soundwalk (2:19) Jonathan Smyth. Smyth lives in Beijing, China and has filmed this sound walk down what he calls his favorite quiet street. He notes, "I love to hate the noise pollution that's found on a daily basis in China. The idea is usually, the louder the music coming from your store then the more customers it should attract." 

Playing with the decibel meter – Shanghai (1:36).  A student in taking a Sustainability Conscious class at Tongji University in Shanghai learns about the on-going public display of a decibel meters after his instructor Pius Leuba, informed him that  these meters are scattered around the city.  As the video notes, the readings were generally high and a conversation of about  70Db becomes difficult because of the ambient street noise

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Documentary: New England Phonographer's Union: MIC'D

NEPU: MIC'D  (6:13) The New England Phonographer's Union is a fluid congregation of sound artists who play with the recontextualization of field recordings. This documentary follows a few of the members out in the field and at a show at Buoy Gallery in KIttery, Maine. Full information about NEPU and this video is available online.

Phonographer Chris Watson: Field Recording

Chris Watson is one of the world's leading recorder of wildlife and natural phenomena. His work as a wildlife sound recordist has covered television documentaries and experimental musical collaborations. His recordings are featured in the film The Constant Gardener and he has also contributed recordings to the Sigur Ros movie, Heima, which premiered at the Electric Proms in London in 2007. He's won several high-profile awards for his work, which he says, “puts a microphone where you can’t put your ears”. 

Chris Watson:  (9:42) Chris Watson discusses his field recording experiences and techniques in documenting the natural world sonic environment.  Source: Chris Watson web site.

Calls of the Wild: Chris Watson and Sir David Attenborough in conversation (11:49) Chris Watson is a renowned sound recordist and BAFTA winner for his work on the BBC documentary The Life of Birds. In this video he talks to long-time colleague Sir David Attenborough about their experiences of sound recording in the wild. The talk was held  at the Royal Institution of Great Britain and chaired by Richard Ranft, Head of the British Sound Archive. This is an excerpt of a 1.5 hour talk.  Source: Vimeo

Case Study: Chris Watson - Toolkit interview. (9:22) Case studies for Sound and Music's Artists' Toolkit features interviews with some key artists working in the world of sound. Interviews explore how artists have developed their practice and career by providing insight into how they make and support their work. Artists discuss some of their first experiences with sound and reveal aspects of their working process, while providing bits of advice to developing an artistic practice. Source: Vimeo

Chris Watson:  Recording at Port Eliot (3:21) Fresh off the plane from the North Pole, where he was working on the BBC's Frozen Planet, Chris came to Port Eliot  to record for a unique new sound installation – 'Sound into Light'. Source: Vimeo

Future Of Sound: Chris Watson (16:33) This presentation was recorded at De Montfort University in January 2009 Source: Vimeo

Wildlife Sound Recording in India (10:18) In April 2009 Chris Watson, Piers Warren and a group of sound recordists headed to Corbett Tiger Reserve in Northern India on a Wildeye expedition for an unforgettable adventure recording the sounds of the jungle. Source: YouTube

Springwatch: Amble Harbour eider ducks recorded (4:20) The unusual mating call of the male eider duck has been captured by Chris Watson who travels the world recording the voices of nature, but the eider duck can be found on his doorstep at Amble on the north east coast near Northumberland. Source: BBC

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lectures: Écologie Acoustique avec Charles De Mestral

The following is a series of presentations by Charles De Mestral on acoustic-ecology given between 2010-2011 at the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Popular University. Charles De Mestral is a professor of philosophy and communication with Cégep du Vieux Montréal. All videos are in French.

3-20-2010 Écologie acoustique (2:05) (maleger)

2-22-2011 Introduction à l'écologie sonore (2:04) (maleger) Conférence d'introduction à l'écologie sonore à l'Université populaire (Upop) Hochelaga-Maisonneuve par Charles de Mestral. C'est la première d'une série de quatre conférences données par le Pr de Mestral sur ce sujet.

3-29-2011 Écologie acoustique - la culture sonore (2:04) (maleger) C'est la seconde conférence d'une série de quatre conférences données par le Pr de Mestral sur ce sujet.

4-12-2011 Écologie acoustique -  l'analyse du paysage sonore (2:04) (maleger) C'est la troisième conférence d'une série de quatre conférences données par le Pr de Mestral sur ce sujet.

4-27-2011 Les sons de la ville à Montréal  (:48) (maleger) Marche avec Charles de Mestral afin de vivre l'écologie acoustique de Montréal. Réalisé à l'Université populaire Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (Upop) du 27 avril 2010.

Source: Daily Motion

Interview: Bill Fontana

Bill Fontana's Early Influences (3:42) (SFMOMA) 
Artist Bill Fontana on the physical settings, people, and philosophies that inspire his sound sculptures. (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)

"Fontana attended New School for Social Research in New York and studied both music and philosophy. He traveled to Australia, and also stayed in Japan and Germany composing. Fontana began making sound sculptures in 1976. In a career spanning 30 years, Fontana’s sound sculptures use the urban environment as a living source of musical information, all with the potential to conjure up visual imagery in the mind of the listener. He has made works all over the world and has presented his sound sculptures extensively, including at the Venice Biennale (1999), the Museo Reina SofiaMadrid (1995), The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1991), Tate Modern, London (2006), Madison Square Park, New York (2007), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1987, 1997, 2010). Some of his more famous works include Distant Trains, Satellite Ear Bridge Cologne-San Francisco, Journey Through My Sound Sculptures, The Sound of an Unblown Flute, and Panoramic Echoes.'" Source Wikipedia

Soundscape Installation: Bill Fontana's River Sounding

A journey through the hidden sound worlds of the River Thames. "Somerset House was built with its own front door onto the river, The Great Arch, from which the Navy Board's ornate gilded barge would sail upriver to Whitehall. Artist Bill Fontana returned the river to the building with River Sounding, an impressive sound installation that created an acoustic journey through the little known subterranean spaces of Somerset House.

Over several months, Fontana collected hundreds of hours of audio and video from above and below the surface of the Thames, from Richmond to remote locations in the Estuary, to reveal the hidden stories and sound-worlds of the river in a public artwork.

Images and sounds installed in the Lightwells and Dead House - spaces far below the courtyard, usually closed to the public - created an intimate, acoustic journey and reinstated the forgotten shared history of Somerset House and the Thames.

Bill Fontana, one of the world's leading sound artists, has installed public artworks at iconic locations in many of the world's great cities, including London's Millennium Bridge and Big Ben, San Francisco's Golden Gate and Paris's Arc de Triomphe. Source: Somerset House.

1. Bill Fontana - River Sounding.  (2:55)  (Videoplinius) Camcorder footage of Bill Fontana's 'River Sounding'. Installed in the Lightwells and Dead House of Somerset House, spaces usually closed to the public, it consists of audio and video recorded above and below the surface of the Thames, from Richmond to the Estuary. 

2. Somerset House (3:14) (davdivideo2010) A visit to Somerset House for an on-site experience of  the River Sounding video installation by Bill Fontant, May, 2010. 

3. River Sounding (1:52) (somersethouselondon)  Brief introduction to River Sounding installation with sound samples from various river locations. Bill Fontana and John Keifer discuss. 

Source: YouTube

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lecture: Victoria Fenner - Soundwalking and Listening

Soundwalking and Intensive Listening (35:52) Victoria Fenner discusses the soundwalk  as a conscious listening exercise to tune up your aural sensitivity. Learn how to hear the sounds you often block out.  Victoria Fenner is a member of the Canadian Association for Acoustic Ecology. She is also a sound artist and radio producer. This presentation was part of Podcamp Toronto - 2008


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Documentary: Bernie Krause Field Recording

Nature Sound Recordings (5:04) This video documents the work of Bernie Krause as he undertakes the recoding of the natural soundscape at the Gray Lodge sancutary in Butte County, California. The goal of this project was to try to capture the aboriginal soundscape of the area.

Source: Daily Motion

Research: Sonorous City - London

Sonorous City: London Soundscape Project (6:18) Sonorous City is the result of a 2 year (part-time) MA research project in Digital Arts. It  is an immersive surround-sound installation exploring the relationship between the soundscape and our perception of the urban environment. A series of soundwalks stemming from the River Thames form the basis of the work, which reveals an experience of London lead by the ear.

Source: YouTube

Friday, September 23, 2011

Soundscape Composition: Diego Stocco

Diego Stocco is a sound designer and composer who lives in Burbank, California. He creates new sound experiences  from different sources including, as these videos demonstrate, equipment found in a dry-cleaning establishment, a tree, sand, or other found sound making resources. The following compositions are made without without additional or traditional electronic instruments. Details are provided with each video link.

Music from a Dry Cleaner.  (3:07) Intreagued by the sounds of a dry-cleaning business Diego seeks to use the establishment as a resource of sounds for a soundscape composition.

Music from a Tree. (2:54) Diego creates a composition by producing sounds from a tree by bowing the twigs, shaking the leaves and creating various sounds and  rhythms.

Music from Sand. (2:06) The entire composition is made from "tuned" sand grains.

Source: Vimeo

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Research: Project Listen - Auralisation

Hearing what the acoustic environment will sound like (6:03) By kkstif. The Swedish Visualisation research programme contains the project LISTEN - Auralisation of urban sound landscapes, which is aimed at developing auralisation tools in order to assess noise environments right from the planning stage of residential areas, e.g. ones that are close to noisy traffic routes or railways. With the help of an auralisation tool, different solutions to improving the acoustic environment can be evaluated simply by listening and comparing their effect on the acoustic environment for example, the influence of different noise barriers. 

Source: You Tube

Noise Issues: Kenya - 5 videos

The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) enforces noise related issues throughout Kenya.  The Authority has warned violators that it will enforce the law and has trained police officers on matters touching on environment regulations. Two news videos examine this issue. 

New Noise Pollution Rules. (2:52) CitizenTv.
The new laws prohibiting noise making in public has taken effect. So if you are in the habit of making noise, remember it could cost you dearly. Being a nuisance to others could cost you 300,000 shillings, or 18 months in jail or both. Those therefore intending to make noise must obtain a license from the National Environment Management Agency, NEMA, stating their intention and purpose for making the noise. But just how compliant are city residents? Sheila Sendeyo was up and about town and filed this report.

Noise Pollution Ban. (1:15) (KTN)
New law raises questions of fairness.

NEMA Effects Noise Pollution Law. (2:59) K24TV 
This report looks at concerns the new law will have on various events such as church services.

Noise law stands (2:23) NTV
The new law on noise pollution stays. Environment minister John Michuki says the rule cannot be changed or repealed to suit what he claims are selfish interests of some and as Jane Kiiyo reports, those who break this law will continue being arrested.

Police move in to enforce law against noise (1:17) NTV

Traffic police officers in Mombasa have impounded several vehicles which are yet to comply with the new directive on noise pollution. Area traffic boss Charles Koskei said the vehicles seized had huge speakers, were producing loud noise which is against the new Noise and Excess Vibration pollution control regulation 2009 and Traffic Act.

Source: YouTube

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lecture: Andrea Polli on Sonification

Listening to the Earth  (34:17) By Skolska28. As has been seen in recent Hurricane disasters, many lives can depend on the interpretation of global information. Developing a language or series of languages for communicating this mass of data must evolve, and part of that evolution must include the work of artists. The interpretation and presentation of data using sound is part of a growing movement in what is called data sonification. Like its more popular counterpart, data visualization, sonification transforms data in an attempt to communicate meaning. Andrea Polli presents her sonification research interpreting actual and simulated data that describe local and global climates. Source: Vimeo.

Soundscape: NYC Buskers

New York buskers are known for their live music performances  in subways and parks where they play for voluntary donations. Their music contributes to the urban soundscape environment with many becoming identifiable soundmarks given their daily locations. 

Underground Soundscape (4'42") By Andrea V. Zarate Moreno. Short documentary on New York's subway musicians and their freedom of speech. Addresses how underground performers are approved by the transit authority. Source: YouTube

Underground Sounds (1' 05") By Miranda Bushey. This video is the first of a collection of documented musical performances that take place in public spaces in New York City and Brooklyn. The videos are a way to observe the different ways that music contributes to everyday sensorial experience.  Source: YouTube

NYC Live Underground - Series by Mike Kobal
  • Sampler (8'07") This is the filmmakers first subway music sampler presenting the musicians of New York's subway tunnels. Source: Vimeo
  • Saw Lady (2'45")  A short documentary about a lady who performs music with bow and saw. Source: Vimeo
  • Wilder Lee (1'25") Performer Wilder Lee rocks the underground tunnel between 7th Ave. and 6th Ave. He was later asked by the police to "pack it up" and leave. Source: Vimeo

Central Park ban angers NYC Buskers (2'32") BBC reporter Keith Wallace looks at the issue of  Buskers being banned from performing in parts of New York's Central Park, to give visitors an escape from the constant noise of the city that never sleeps. But local musicians have voiced objections to the move. Source: BBC

Noise Issues: England - 5 Videos

Noise pollution is on the increase the world over. In this collection of BBC reports the issues of noise abatement through social policy in England is investigated.

Do we need to reduce our noise footprints? (4'13") BBC Reporter Matt Prodger investigates the increasingly nosy urban environments in the UK.

Noise pollution on the increase (1'45") A BBC Inside Out investigation has revealed a rise of nearly 350% in the number of call outs made by a Newcastle noise pollution team last year compared to ten years ago

Noise complaints in London on increase (1' 56") Complaints about noise in London are increasing, with more than 367,000 in the past three years, BBC research has found. Results of Freedom of Information requests found that Tower Hamlets, Westminster, and Southwark were the "noisiest" boroughs - as they had received the most complaints. Figures show the 33 councils issued 3,608 noise abatement notices in 2010.

Bellringers locked in Sharrow church tower over noise (1'45") A group of touring bellringers were locked in a North Yorkshire church tower by an irate villager who took offence at their noise. The team had travelled from Oxfordshire to ring the bells at Saint John the Evangelist Church in Sharrow on Sunday when they became imprisoned. The mystery man climbed the staircase to the belfry before shouting at them and blocking the door shut with wood. They were rescued after their efforts to get out were overheard by a villager.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lecture: Emily Thompson - "The Soundscape of Modernity"

The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933 (60' 20") In this history of aural culture in early-twentieth-century America, Emily Thompson charts dramatic transformations in what people heard and how they listened. What they heard was a new kind of sound that was the product of modern technology, and the way they listened was as newly critical consumers of aural commodities. By examining the technologies that produced this sound, as well as the culture that enthusiastically consumed it, Thompson recovers a lost dimension of the Machine Age and deepens our understanding of the experience of change that characterized the era. The Soundscape of Modernity is published by The MIT Press. Recorded September 26, 2002

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Noise Issues: India - 3 videos

Noise in Indian cities is well known to travelers to that country. Until recently, attempts to limit noise pollution have been limited. The following videos present news observations about noise issues and emerging public policy

Its famous as Indias vibrant entertainment and financial hub, but Mumbai is now earning the dubious reputation as one of the worlds noisiest cities.

The environment ministry has announced new guidelines for controlling noise pollution in cities. For the first time, noise pollution will be regularly monitored by 160 monitoring stations. These will be set up in 25 cities over the next two years.

A short film on Noise pollution executed.

Source: YouTube

Education: Teaching Children About Sounds

Katie Burke explores with children: soundscape listening skills, documenting sounds, exploring the relationship between heard sounds and music, creating a graphic score and its performance. This is an informative sequence of video illustrating how to work with children in the area of acoustic ecology. Katie Burke is an education lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland.

  1. Listening to a soundscape (2'19")
  2. Noting environmental sounds (2'48")
  3. Exploring Elements of Music  (1'35")
  4. Creating the graphic score (3'30")
  5. Graphic score final performance (1'03")
A related video about the reading and performance of a graphic score is this one: Rainstorm graphic score using body percussion.

Lecture: Karlheinz Stockhausen on 'Sounds" (1972)

Stockhausen on 'Sounds" 1972. (10:16) By golfthewlis. Karlheinz Stockhausen discusses his study of  the differences he discovered between  the  natural and human made sounds and how this research lead him to experimentation in the electronics lab.

Source: YouTube