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Monday, October 31, 2011

Phonographer: Don Hunter - Sound Collector

Sound Collector (7:00) Don Hunter records and archives the sounds of everyday life. He started as a high school student in Eugene Oregon in 1932. We join Don on a recording field trip to capture the sound of a passing train. He looks for unusual and unique sounds, as well as those that are disappearing from the everyday scene.

Source: Oregon Public Broadcasting

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Education: Bill Nye - Ears and Hearing

Bill Nye The Science Guy examines the science of sound, how sound is made, and how sounds are heard. This TV segment is in three continuous parts. Click on each part to see the program.

Part 1 - (8:20) Ears and Hearing
Part 2 - (8:01) 
Part 3 - (6:41)

William Sanford "Bill" Nye (born November 27, 1955), popularly known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, is an American science educator and television host. He is best known for the Disney and PBS Kids children's science show Bill Nye the Science Guy (1993–1998).

Source: gamequarium

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Soundscape Composition: Dumpsters and Water Fountains

Street Drummer: Portland  (3:05) Drummer, Bobby Alt explores the city soundscape of Portland,Oregon. Beating on anything he gets his hands on in this raw documentary video. Special appearance by Drummer, Shannon Leto of 30 Seconds To Mars.

Source: YouTube

Friday, October 28, 2011

Soundscape: Installation - Whispering in the Leaves

Whispering in the Leaves (5:08) Chris Watson’s Whispering in the Leaves is an extraordinary sound installation, using recordings and natural history broadcast to transport us to the far-flung, dense rain forests of South and Central America. Throughout Kew Gardens’ Summer festival, the Palm House was diffused with the dawn and dusk choruses of the myriad of creatures native to these lush tropical landscapes. 

Chris Watson produces recordings for film, television and radio, and sound installations. From the groaning of Icelandic glaciers, to underwater recordings of the Humboldt Current around the Galapagos Islands, to the purring of an adult cheetah, Watson has won awards for his exceptional work, which he says, “puts a microphone where you can’t put your ears”. He has won awards for his exceptional recording work for BBC natural history programmes by Sir David Attenborough and others, and has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of West England for his outstanding contribution to sound recording.

Prior to his sound recording career, Watson was a founding member of UK experimental music band Cabaret Voltaire and later, The Hafler Trio. His more recent solo albums include Outside the Circle of Fire, Stepping into the Dark (which won an Award of Distinction at the 2000 Prix Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria) and the iconic Weather Report. Visit his web site:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Documentary: (Clip) The Life of Birds

Bird sounds from the Lyre Bird (2:55)  David Attenborough presents the amazing lyre bird, which mimics the calls of other birds - and chainsaws and camera shutters - in this video clip from The Life of Birds. This clever creature is one of the most impressive and funny in nature, with unbelievable sounds to match the beautiful pictures. From the BBC.

Source: YouTube

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lecture: Honor Harger - A history of the universe in sound

A history of the universe in sound (11:07) Artist-technologist Honor Harger listens to the weird and wonderful noises of stars and planets and pulsars. In her work, she tracks the radio waves emitted by ancient celestial objects and turns them into sound, including "the oldest song you will ever hear," the sound of cosmic rays left over from the Big Bang. As she explores the sounds of the universe she  uses art to connect her audience to the universe.

Source: TED

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Documentary: Alan Burbidge Sound Collector

The Sound Collector (11:12)  Alan Burbidge is a wildlife sound recordist and University of Nottingham staff member. The sound recordings he makes are used by scientists, birders and other wildlife enthusiasts for research purposes as well as for learning aids (and sometimes, just for sheer listening pleasure).

Source: YouTube

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lecture: Stephen Vitiello - Intimate Listening

Intimate Listening (14:01) From composing electronic music to scoring experimental videos to making larger-scale public installations that create immersive soundscapes, sound artist Stephen Vitiello invites his audience to reinterpret sound. He took us on a sonic tour of his work including recordings from a 1999 residency at the World Trade Center where he recorded the cracking noises of the building swaying under the stress of the winds after Hurricane Floyd, and his sound installation at New York City's High Line, "A Bell for Every Minute."

Source: YouTube

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Documentary: (Clip) Encounters at the End of the World

Underwater Recording of Seal Calls. (1:49) This clip includes rarely-heard underwater sounds of seals swimming below the ice in Antarctica. Scientist can hear, in the silence of the landscape, sounds from under the ice and the floor of their laboratory. From the documentary "Encounters at the End of the World" by Werner Herzog.

Source: YouTube

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Research: Ocean sounds in the Arctic

Ocean Sounds in the Arctic (1:45) Bearded Seals, Beluga Whales, Bowhead Whales, Humpback recorded during the Russian-American Long-term Census of the Arctic (RUSALCA) cruise to the Bering Strait July 31 -- August 11, 2010, by Kate Stafford. 

Source: YouTube

Friday, October 21, 2011

Documentary: Alchemists of Sound

Alchemists of Sound (BBC). The BBC's Radiophonic Workshop was set up in 1958, born out of a desire to create 'new kinds of sounds'. Alchemists of Sound looks at this creative group from its inception, through its golden age when it was supplying music and effects for cult classics like Doctor Who, Blake's Seven and Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, and charts its fading away in 1995 when, due to budget cuts, it was no longer able to survive. 

There are interviews with composers from the Workshop, as well as musicians and writers who have been inspired by the output. Great archive footage of the Workshop and its machinery is accompanied by excerpts of the, now cult, TV programmes that featured these sounds.
Although not directly related to acoustic ecology, this six part sequence will be of interest to those who are fascinated by sound design and recording. 
Part One (10:00)
Part Two (9:59)
Part Three (9:58)
Part Four (9:36)
Part Five (9:39)
Part Six (9:05)
Source: YouTube

Interview: David Rothenberg on Bird Songs

Bird Songs (2:1) Scientist and musician David Rothenberg takes discussion of bird songs a step further than biological imperative, and recognizes these tunes distinct to each species as music. Rothenberg is a professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, with a special interest in animal sounds as music. He is also a jazz musician whose books and CDs reflect a longtime interest in understanding other species by making music with them. Reference: David Rothenberg Why Birds Sing: A Journey Into the Mystery of Bird Song (Basic Books, 2005)

Source: PBS

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Project: Auditive architecture

Auditive architecture (3:21) A 3-D tour in a non-existing building, designed to show the acoustical layers in the building, which enrich the esthetics of the spaces, both visual and audial. Its part of my graduation project; auditive architecture. Made by Hidde v.d. Lijn and Ernst Kabel

Source: You Tube

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Research: Designing Positive urban soundscapes

Sound in the City (5:30) University of Warwick Professor Paul Jennings is leading a team researching how sound affects the perception of environments, which people have generally seen as full of unwanted noise. Professor Jennings suggests that the right sound has many positive aspects and should be considered in the design of urban soundscapes and buildings such as hospitals.

Professor Jennings team is looking to quantify what people perceive as the 'right sound'. This will help town planners and facility designers build environments with sounds that engender positive responses in users, such as a lively city centre or a hospital ward that helps people feel less stressed and recover more quickly.

The University of Warwick positive soundscapes project explores a new approach to the relevance of positive soundscapes, by moving away from the focus on negative noise. This is about emphasizing the positive aspects of sound, and minimizing the negative aspects, which can help engineers, planners and architects to design spaces that will be perceived more positively by the people using them
Source: YouTube

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Phonographer: Steve Barsottii

Steve Barsotti  (2:10) Seattle Times. Steve Barsottiis a Seattle based improviser, sound artist, instrument inventor and educator. His work explores notions of reduced listening through close examinations of easily bypassed sonic details; sounds that can only be heard through contact microphones and amplification or the sonic qualities of materials and objects found in everyday life. He invites the listener to forgo an attempt at literal connections with the sounds and to focus on the sounds in and of themselves. Steve is chair of the Pacific Northwest Society for Acoustic Ecology.

Source: Seattle Times.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Documentary: Vancouver Soundscape (proposed film - 2008)

Vancouver Soundscape (2:10). This is a trailer for a proposed film about the Vancouver, B.C. soundscape that was eventually completed but is not directly available online (see note below). Barry Truax, Hildegard Westerkamp, and Nigel Frayne appear in this short film directed by Kathrin Krueckeberb. 

Note: The final version of the film can be seen on the web site of sound designer Andres Santana.  Access web site and then click on videos to select the Vancouver Soundscape documentary. The Vancouver Film School  has a short article about the development of this video.

Source: YouTube

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lecture: Peter Tyack - The intriguing sound of marine mammals

The intriguing sound of marine mammals (18:28) Peter Tyack of Woods Hole talks about a hidden wonder of the sea: underwater sound. Onstage at Mission Blue, he explains the amazing ways whales use sound and song to communicate across hundreds of miles of ocean.
Source: TED

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Interview: John Levack Drever - Soundscape and Listening

In these video interviews John Levack Drever explores issues related to environmental soundscapes and listening. Both segments were record as part of the "Cartographies of Listening - Sound and Place" organized by the Collective and held at the Centro Galiego De Arte Contemporanea in Santiago de Compostela, January 2008.

Part I Interview with John Levack Drever addresses question about the ability of sound to communicate ideas and thoughts; environmental sound and listening as a way of knowledge; and sound and cultural identity. 

Part II Interview with John Levack Drever explores  issues related to soundscape and everyday listening including a discussion about sound preservation and public issues of defining a balanced soundscape.

Dr John Levack Drever is Senior Lecturer in Composition and Head of the Unit for Sound Practice Research (SPR) at Goldsmiths since 2003

Source: YouTube

Friday, October 14, 2011

Project: Frames per Sound Installation Online

Frames per Sound: Pier 39. an online installation art attempting to capture the character of each district of San Francisco by experimenting with editing through the use of dynamic split screen motion dependent on binaural soundscape recordings. Visit online project

Source: Vimeo

Soundscape: Ear to Ground

Ear To Ground (slide image with sound). Field recordings by Andrea Polli, Gordon Hempton,  Jonny Farrow, and Edmund Mooney contribute to this soundscape experience published by Seed Magazine.

Natural quiet is a rapidly disappearing resource. According to acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton, there are only seven or eight naturally quiet placesdefined as where the sounds of nature are unbroken for intervals of at least 15 minutes during daylight hoursleft in the United States. None exist in Europe anymore. But if you travel far enough to remote corners of the Earth, and listen carefully enough, you can still find them.

Acoustic ecology studies were established in the 1960s by naturalist R. Murray Schafer and his colleagues at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia as an attempt to define the relationship between humans and their environment, as mediated through sound. With a focus that spans both science and art, the continuum of acoustic ecology often attracts individuals who are part researcher, part composer, and part adventurer.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lecture: Marsha Green - The Acoustic World of Whales

The Acoustic World of Whales (1:07) Dr. Marsha Green president, Ocean Mammal Institute discusses her work with humpback whales in Hawaii, where she studies their use of sound to communicate. She shares video and sound recordings to illustrate her work and present research on the effect of thrill craft and engine noise on the whales. Dr. Green also presents the broader implications of her work regarding impacts of underwater noise pollution on marine mammals.

Source: WGBH

Lecture: Janna Levin: The sound the universe makes

Lecture: Janna Levin: The sound the universe makes (17:44) Levin says the universe has a soundtrack -- a sonic composition that records some of the most dramatic events in outer space. (Black holes, for instance, bang on spacetime like a drum.) This is an accessible and mind-expanding soundwalk through the universe.
Dr. Levin is a professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard, where she studies the early universe, chaos, and black holes.

Source: TED

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Interview: Arline Bronzaft on New York Noise Code

The Woman’s Connection with Arline Bronzaft.  (33:32) Barrie-Louise Switzen with Dr. Arline Bronzaft on New York City noise  pollution; its effect on our health and what can be done about it.  

Arline Bronzaft is a former City College psychology professor and has served as noise chairwoman of the New York City mayor's Council on the Environment.

The Woman’s Connection® (TWC) is a program about events shaping women’s lives and helping one gain authentic power on a personal or professional level. Views expressed are not those of TWC. ©2010.

Source: Internet Archvie

Project: Noise Pollution Atlanta Georgia 1974

Project: Noise Pollution Atlanta Georgia 1974  (5:17)  This clip is from the 1974 film, "Environmental Education -- A Beginning", produced by the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Education Division. Office of Education.  High school student Annette Cook takes to the streets of Atlanta to discover the sound levels of a modern urban environment. Full film available online.

Source: YouTube

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Project: Recording the Highline soundscape

Recording the Highline(1:49) By Ian Hultquist. This short video is about student Sofia deli Alessandri's documenting the New York City soundscape for a course in music technology. The video was shot at the Highline - an abandoned elevated rail line and now a park. The recordings from this location were used to create a composition, Elevated City, in honor of World Listening Day 2011. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Soundscape Composition: Sacred Soundscapes

Sacred Soundscapes. (5:49) by Zai Tang. This immersive audio-visual installation explores the significance of sacred sounds in the context of Singapore's contemporary soundscape. Drawing influence from acoustic ecology and psychogeography, Zai Tang’s work highlights how listening plays a crucial role in the way we perceive the urban environment.

Tang embarked on journeys around Singapore to study the soundscape, as well as getting feedback from local people to discover the places in which sacred sounds reside today. En route he collected and recorded the material used in the final work.

The work invites the audience on a journey through Singapore’s collective aural experience, revealing different interpretations of what we consider to be the sacred elements of our sonic environment. A space is created for these sounds to exist in, away from the hustle and bustle of urbanism. Read More: Sacred Soundscapes  and  the Esplanade Tunnel  a space that makes creative use of the 85 metre stretch of walls, floors and existing pillars that connects to the MRT at Raffles City

Source: Vimeo

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Soundscape Composition: Listen To The Earth

Listen To The Earth: A Soundscape for Holocaust Memorial Day 2011 (5:58) By James Atherton. The Council of Christians and Jews together with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland presents Listen to the Earth, a soundscape for use alongside the Holocaust Memorial Day Resources Pack.

Composer James Atherton graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama, London, in 1996. He has since worked with some of Britian's leading arts organizations as a musical director and composer for television, film, and theater.

Lecture: Steven Feld and Hillel Schwartz

Post Presentation Discussion. (6:20) This video covers a follow-up question and answer segment of the Sensing the Unseen Seminar at MIT with speakers Hillel Schwartz and Steven Feld. The session took place on October 22nd, 2010. 

Feld is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Music at the University of New Mexico. Trained as a jazz musician, then filmmaker, then anthropologist, he has worked in textual, sound, and visual media since 1975 in Papua New Guinea, Europe, Japan, and Ghana.

Hillel Schwartz is a poet, translator, case manager, and independent scholar who has published widely on topics in cultural history. His most recent opus is Making Noise from Babylon to the Big Bang and Beyond.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Soundscape: Illawarra Sound Profile Project

Illawarra is a region in the Australian state of New South Wales about 1 hour drive south of Sydney with dramatic landscapes and pristine beaches. Such a region can be defined as much by sound as landscape. The Illawarra Sound Profile Project collects audio from the ranges to the sea, tracing a geographical path and building a portrait of the region.

The following are audio-visual profiles from the Australian Broadcast Corporation's Sounds of the Illawarra Project that are archived on Vimeo.

  • It's a beautiful world down there (1:21) by Michaela Werener.
  • Listening to the Dusk (2:08) by Jasper Tulloch
  • Wollondilly River (1:30)  by Georgia Batson. 
  • Dingos of Burragorang Valley (1:27)  by Brad Purcell
  • Nan Tien Temple - Lion Dnace (1:29) by Maggie Tran
  • Nan Tien Temple - Heart Sutra, (1:31) by Venerable Miao You, senior nun 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Documentary: Gordon Hempton - Washington's Olympic Park

Washington's Nature Sounds (2:58) This is a documentary about the inspirational audio preservation work of Gordon Hempton. Videographer and Producer John Yeager follows Gordon as he gathers sounds from the Olympic National Park and Pacific Coast of Washington State. Edited by David Solheim of Digital Ave. 

Source: YouTube

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Soundwalk: Montreal

Montréal – visite sonore du centre-ville. This is an interactive site containing numerous short videos of downtown Montreal soundwalk locations. This site demonstration teaching inspired by R. Murray Schafer. The site is by Charles de Mestral and Jean-Guy Lacroix (Cégep du Vieux faculty Montreal) - nonprofit

Downtown Montreal Soundwalk
Démonstration pédagogique inspiré par la pensée de R. Murray Schafer
Par Charles de Mestral et Jean-Guy Lacroix (professeurs au Cégep du Vieux Montréal) - sans but lucratif

Source: Cégep du Vieux

Lecture: R. Murray Schafer - Soudscape Studies

Conferencia Murray Schaffer. (1:15) An informative lecture by Murray Schaffer on the early work in the field of acoustic ecology and his initial study of the soundscape. This is an interesting audio recording providing listeners with the opportunity to hear one of the founding figures in this area of sound studies. There is no information with this site regarding the location of this presentation.

Source: YouTube.

Documentary: Odyssee Sonore (Sound Journey)

Odyssee Sonore. (73:48) Par Louis Richard. Ce long métrage documentaire nous révèle l'infinie richesse de l'univers des sons. Il suffit de fermer les yeux pour s'engager dans une odyssée étrange ou familière, lyrique ou dissonante. Non pas en regardant ce film unique, mais en se retrouvant au cœur d'une ville comme Québec, guidés comme ici par le compositeur canadien R. Murray Schafer, considéré comme le père de l’écologie sonore. Entre l'hommage visuel rendu à Québec et les surprises d'une envoûtante trame sonore, nous apprendrons que la science progresse dans la lutte contre la surdité... et que la parole fut peut-être inventée pour surmonter l'angoisse du silence.

Google Translation: This feature documentary reveals the infinite wealth of the world of sound. Just close your eyes to engage in a strange odyssey or familiar, lyrical and dissonant. Not only watching this film, but find themselves at the heart of a city like Quebec, as guided by the Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer, considered the father of sound ecology. Between visual tribute paid to Quebec and the surprises of a haunting soundtrack, we learn that science progresses in the fight against deafness ... and the word was perhaps invented to overcome the fear of silence.

Source: National Film Board of Canada

Research: Bioacoustics and Ecological Diversity

Bioacoustics for Ecological Research and Education (3:53) John Quinn explains bioacoustics sampling and how he's used it as a part of research focused on biodiversity conservation in working landscapes. We hear a collection of "farmbird songs", a growing database of sounds from John's recordings.

Produced by Kat Shiffler, University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources

Source: Vimeo

Soundscape: Arctic Soundscape Project

Arctic Soundscape Project (4:22) In June 2006 a team lead by Bernie Krause that included Martyn Stewart and Kevin Colver, spent two weeks recording the biophony at diverse sites in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This film is an appeal to continue this great work for following generations and the hope that we can protect these valuable environments from oil exploitation.

Source: YouTube

Phonographer Rob Nokes: Field recording in Vietnam

Rob Nokes is a sound recordist and a sound  supervisor for television and film. For him, "Sound recording is like a treasure hunt. It's like a magic moment when you recognize that a sound is unique and good."  He further adds, "It's very exciting to record on the field, exciting and sometimes dangerous." Read More about Robf Nokes background in sound recording and design.  

This video series documents Rob Nokes making field recordings in Vietnam.

(1) Halong Bay (2:56) The purposes of this trip was to record birds, insects and monkeys. Learn what techniques work best in this difficult but rewarding field sound recording. 

(2) North of Sapa (4:20) At this location nature, frogs, and a real find of a watermill were recorded. Learn what techniques / placement work best in this difficult but rewarding field sound recording. 

(3) Children in rural dchool (4:34) Rob Nokes travels to Vietnam and discovers a rural school with children to record. Learn the various approaches to getting a great sound from these great children.

Source: YouTube

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Phonographer Mark Brennan: Wild Earth Voices

Canadian Mark Brennan is a visual artist and Nature Recordist who has an intense interest in wild places. His travels have taken him to wilderness areas across Canada from Banff National Park to the windswept coastlines of Labrador. He hopes to bring the viewers of his art closer to nature through quiet listening of field recordings made during his travels. “I hope to bring nature not just to the eyes, through my visual art, but also to the ears, these experiences, I hope, will help strengthen the listeners bond with nature”.  

Mark Brennan On Art, Nature recording & the Environment  (5:05) In this film Landscape Painter and Nature recordist, Mark Brennan discusses his work as a painter and sound recordist and how his work reflects his interaction with the natural world. 

Standing With The Trees (8:32) When you listen to this, you should be able to get a real sense of the size of the trees with the way the sound reverberates in the forest. This recording is the ‘voice’ of the forest, in reality the forests have no voice in the industrialized human world, mostly they are seen as a resource for consumption, but as you will hear, the forests of the world are an intricate part of the web of life. 

Acadian Forest Ravine (4:33)  A short film that takes a look through an old growth ravine in Eastern Nova Scotia in Spring. This fast flowing stream flows into the St Marys River on Nova Scotia's Atlantic Coast just outside the once protected Liscomb Game Sanctuary. 

Ambient Sounds of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park (2:53) Ambient Sound recordings from the Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Northern Nova Scotia, recorded by Mark Brennan during late winter of 2011. A time before many of the migrating bird species arrive, before leaves on trees, only the sounds of wind, waves and breaking up streams.

Moore's Cove (3:14) The sights and sounds of Moore's Cove Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. 

Shaped By The Wind  (2:34) Winter on the Northumberland Strait with temperatures dipping to -20 degrees C. I head out onto the ice to make a field recording of the ever present Arctic North wind that shapes just about everything in winter.

Boreal Wetland Dawn (3:05) Morning in a Boreal Forest wetland, as the dawn breaks the morning chorus begins. Filmed and recorded on location in Northern Nova Scotia, Canada. This track comes from the album "Welcoming Dawn", celebrating the Boreal and Acadian Forests at this special time of day. A year in the making, this unique soundscape album of Nova Scotia nature sounds is available for download here

Source: Vimeo