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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Education: Attentive Listening

Traditionally, educational practice gives little attention to teaching children listening skills. It seems to be assumed that if a child can hear that he/she will automatically be able to deconstruct incoming auditory messages. These two videos explore different approaches to encouraging the development of attentive listening.

Watching With Your Ears (2:51) "Educator Lynn Barnicle provides a learning activity that helps students hone their observation skills by "watching" with their ears, and the sketch symbols to describe what they heard." Source: Vimeo

Minute of Listening (4:45) "Minute of Listening is a creative learning project which encourages pupils and teachers to engage in 60 seconds of focused listening per day. The project is aimed at developing listening skills and introducing children to a wide range of new sounds. It is also anticipated that Minute of Listening will encourage creative thinking, class discussion and an inquisitive approach to aural experiences.

The project has emerged from Sound and Music’s aspiration to promote the joys and rewards of listening, and as a response to current debate around creativity and the importance of listening in a child’s learning and development." Source: Vimeo

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Noise Issues: Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon National Park in the state of Arizona is a spectacular geological wonder and is visited each year by thousands who come to see its beauty and experience its unique soundscape. The tourist industry is big business in Arizona and the border state of Nevada with helicopter and aircraft tours providing a view not unlike that seen in the first video below. But there is an issues of noise.  The second video is a plea for quieting the sky above the canyon. These two videos are followed by links to US National Park Service web sites related to noise management in the Park.

Grand Canyon (3:03) The Canyon is beautiful from the air and this video illustrates the view visitors who fly over it might expect to see. It was produced by Aerial Filmworks in cooperation with Grand Canyon National Park permission. Special attention was given to securing permits and obtaining a review of the filming plan before production started. Source: Vimeo
Grand Canyon Quiet (4:39) A video plea to address the preservation of the natural quiet of this unique geological wonder, which is acoustically encroached upon by the many daily sightseeing flights over it. A video by Jim McCarthy and Tom Martin.  Source: YouTube

Efforts by the US National Park service to address soundscape issues within the park are outlined in: 

Grand Canyon Noise Management. A web site by the National Park Service addressing soundscape preservation and noise management. Source: US National Park Servicve

Special Flight Rules. National Park Service web site related to substantial restoration of natural quiet at the Grand Canyon National Park. Source: US National Park Service

Monday, February 27, 2012

Soundscape Installation: Intersection

Intersection (4:21) Intersection is a sound-based and site-specific installation by Pat Badt and Scott Sherk curated through March 2, 2012 by Creighton Michael at The Lab:Gallery in New York.  The installation concentrates on the stop and go of the midtown traffic outside the gallery, focusing on the pulse and energy of the city. A hanging string column cycles between stillness and movement, while real time video sonograms and spectrograms are projected on to the gallery walls making the sound of the intersection visual. 

Pat Badt is a painter and a Professor of Art at Cedar Crest College. Scott Sherk is sculptor who often works with sound. He  is a Professor of Art at Muhlenberg College. Together Pat Badt and Scott Sherk curate the third barn

Video by John Birdson 
Source: Vimeo

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Documentary: Kangaroo Sounds (excerpt)

Kangaroo Sounds (9:22) This excerpt from the documentary "Kangaroos: Faces in the Mob" presents three segments related to Kangaroo vocal communication: male to male communication, courtship and mating, and mother child communication. 

"Kangaroos: Faces in the Mobis an Emmy award-winning documentary by Australian filmmakers Dr. Jan Aldenhoven and Glen Carruthers who devoted two years of their lives to filming a group of Eastern Grey Kanagroos. 

Video source: YouTube

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Soundscape Installation: Zettajoules

Zettajoules (2:35) This Interactive Audio Installation by Cormac Crawley ran for the duration of the Hilltown New Music Festival 2011 in Ireland.

Participants affected the sonic output by interacting with junk equipment in the space. This interaction was implemented using motion detection and hanging wires that could be connected together. This interaction caused the old equipment to emit electromagnetic field sounds in the space; thus sonifying energy wastage.

Programme Notes: 0.5 zettajoules is now the approximate annual global energy consumption. The natural soundscape is affected by noise pollution and our unyielding consumption of energy resources.  Our relentless energy usage creates electromagnetic fields that are all around us. This installation offers participants a unique opportunity to listen interactively to electromagnetic fields that are created by equipment and machinery used every day; frequencies otherwise imperceptible to us audibly. As participants enter the space, they stimulate equipment and electronic components, causing emission of electromagnetic sounds; i.e. buzzes, drones, pops and clicks. The piece evolves as people move around the space.

The sounds are first recorded by use of coil pickups that sonify the magnetic fields induced by equipment. These recordings, along with some other processes, are arranged in Pure Data and as participants move in the space, motion sensors trigger processes in PD related to specific equipment being stimulated. PD outputs the sounds via car stereo speakers contained inside the various equipment around the space.  A combination of tweeters, mid-range drivers and woofers are placed in strategic locations inside the equipment and this helps to diffuse the different sounds in a lofi manner in keeping with the theme of the installation. 

About the artist: Cormac Crawley is a PhD student researching in the Sonic Arts Research Centre of Queen's University Belfast. He notes, "…my  research is based on soundscape composition and tied closely to acoustic ecology. I compose multi channel tape pieces and perform interactive installations in relation to the soundscape."

Sources: YouTube, Cormac Crawley

Friday, February 24, 2012

Research: Ofer Tchernichovski and Avian Communication

These two videos provide an informative introduction to research on avian communication at the Laboratory of Animal Behavior at The City University of New York and specifically the work of Dr. Ofer Tchernichovski.

On Bird's Song (2:49) Ofer Tchernichovski uses the songbird to study mechanisms of vocal learning. Like early speech development in the human infant, the songbird learns to imitate complex sounds during a critical period of development. The adult bird cannot imitate any more - we do not know why. His lab studies the animal behavior and dynamics of vocal learning and sound production across different brain levels. The lab aims to uncover the specific physiological and molecular (gene expression) brain processes that underlie song learning. Source: PBS

Avian Einsteins (9:14) Ofer Tchernichovski discusses recent study of avian communication. He offers a look at how birds communicate and in various social situations and how communication skills are transferred from one generation to an other. This is a segment from the 2009 World Science Festival. Source: YouTube.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Soundscape Installation: Abstracted Environments

Abstracted Environments (15:00) In this project, Rob Harrison, Leeds, Britain (UK), "...aimed to create an audio visual installation which would take participants on a journey through a series of imaginary environments by immersing them in multichannel audio soundscapes with supporting visuals. These environments include a cityscape, forest/countryside and coastal/beach environment.

The soundscapes have been created using various found sounds and some synthesis techniques. The visual element has been created by taking stock footage then editing and processing it to fit the narrative of the project. "

Source: YouTube

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Soundscape: Antarctic - Cruise

Note: This is the first in a number of videos exploring the soundscape of  the Antarctic that will be archived over the coming months.

Cruise to the Antarctic (6:35) One might expect the frozen world to be silent. Far from it. Pascal Wyse records the extraordinary sounds of the wild on a voyage to the Antarctic peninsula. Mr. Wyse is a multimedia producer and contributor to The Guardian newspaper. He is also a  writer and musician. (Note: Expect a commercial in the middle of this video.)

Click2Read an article in The Guardian about this voyage to the Antarctic.

Source: The Guardian's Dailymotion.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Phonographer: Juan Carolos Blancas

Field Recording (4:37) (ES) In this Art of Field Recording report, Juan Carolos Blancas discusses and demonstrates field recording techniques in the Sierra de Madrid region of Spain using parabolic microphones, hydrophones, and contact microphones contact.

"Acompañamos a Juan Carlos Blancas, fundador del mítico grupo de música electrónica Coeval, a realizar unas grabaciones de campo en la sierra de Madrid. Micrófonos de parábola, hidrófonos, microfonía de contacto... El mundo está lleno de sonidos que esperan a ser descubiertos por los oídos más inquietos."

Source: You Tube

Monday, February 20, 2012

Soundscape: The car horns of India's street scene

The following videos were discovered while looking for Indian soundscapes. I sense that they were all shot by visitors who became fascinated with the sights and sounds within which they were finding themselves immersed, perhaps for the first time. 

Save the fourth video until you've viewed the other three - you'll throughly enjoy the 'Car Horn Orchestra'.

Sights and Sounds (3:22) The chaotic street traffic of Amristar in India's Punjab. For all the confusion it seems to flow in its own unique way. 

Traffic in Amristar (2:01) This video includes interesting rhythmic horn honking that gives acoustic diversity to the soundscape.

The Train Crossing  (9:16) This railroad crossing segment would give any railroad safety officer second thoughts about about the purpose of  crossing gates. It all amazingly works - with enough whistle blowing.

Car Horn Orchestra  (00:51)  A short soundscape composition by Pete Bishop inspired by the street sounds of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay).

Note: Canadian composer Hildegard Westerkamp has had a fascination with the soundscape of India for some time and in 2002 composed 'Into India' (earsay label) in which she beautifully weaves together a tapestry of sounds she recorded of citizen's daily activities, cultures, and religions.  Read review: Into India 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Documentary: Sweetgrass (Trailer)

Sweetgrass (Trailer) (2:34) A film by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash. This is an unsentimental elegy to the American West. Sweetgrass follows the last modern-day cowboys who lead their flocks of sheep up into Montana's breathtaking and often dangerous Absaroka-Beartooth mountains for summer pasture. 

The filmmakers collaborated with experimental musician and sound artist  Ernst Karel who designed the film's complicated, orchestrated soundscape, which he essentially composed out of over 200 hours of film sound recorded for the documentary. An informative article on the PBS Art Beat web site  discusses the film's production and soundscape design process. Click2Read 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Phonographer: Luis Antero

Making Art Through The Sounds of Nature (1:10) In this short video Portuguese sound artist and phonographer Luis Antero discusses his field recording work (PT).   He talks about what engages him in the fantastic world of sound, concerns regarding the collecting of sound material, and his concert for blindfolded listeners. A June 15th, 2011 interview with Luis Antero by Tobia Fisher appears in Tokafi - an online publication. You can read about the origins of Antero's interest in field recording and the goal of his current efforts to document the soundscape (EN). Click2Read  

Source: Noticias

Friday, February 17, 2012

Soundscape Composition: Found Objects As Instruments

Here are four fun videos that explore the making of rhythmic compositions using found objects within the soundscape. There isn't much information available about the filmmakers. A search of the Internet has provided some, which is included below.

Visual Audio Sound Montage (1:04) An experimental film by Dave Dixon who is a  23 year old Senior in Graphic Design at Louisiana State University 

The Rhythm of Life (1:29) A short video bringing rhythm into your life with everyday objects. The filmmaker is identified as a 21 year old living in the United States. 

Soundscape (1:16) An audio/visual Montage - created by recording the sounds of everyday household objects and sequencing the sounds to create an interesting montage. The filmmaker is identified as a multimedia design graduate of Brighton University in the UK.

Penciled Percussion (2:41) Two young filmmakers made this 2010 award wining Teen Video Challenge  production.

Source: YouTube

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Phonographer: David Ascanio - ornithologist

iPod Use For Field Work (2:58) David Ascnio is an authority on the birds of Venezuela. Having grown up in Venezuela he has, since the age of 7, had a passion for the field of ornithology. He has created the leading library of bird vocalizations in his country with over 500 hours of native bird recordings. 

Ascnio has been guiding treks and birding tours since 1984, including Guyana, Suriname, Panama, the ABC islands, Trinidad and Tobago and the Amazon River across Perú, Colombia and Brazil. In addition to many trips, David was appointed to the board of directors of the Sociedad Venezolana de Ecoturismo and was elected last decade to join the board of directors of the Sociedad Audubon de Venezuela. More recently, he has been appointed as Research Associate of the Phelps Ornithological Museum, in Caracas. Click2Read  Source: Conservation International.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lecture: Jana Winderen on "Energy Field"

Energy Field (28:58) "Jana Winderen studies and records wild places which have a particular importance in our understanding of the complexity and fragility of marine ecosystems."

"The recordings, discussed in this presentation, were made on field trips to the Barents Sea (north of Norway and Russia), Greenland and Norway, deep in crevasses of glaciers, in fjords and in the open ocean. These elements were then edited and layered into a powerful descriptive soundscape. The open spaces of Greenland, northern winds, ravens and dogs in an icy landscape provide the setting for these haunting but dynamic pieces. Sounds of crustaceans, fish such as cod, haddock, herring and pollock recorded as they are hunting, calling for a mate or orientating themselves in their environment, are all included in the mix." 

"Jana Winderen is an artist educated in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College in London, and has a background in mathematics and chemistry from the University in Oslo. Since 1993 she has worked as an artist, curator and producer." Read more online about her "Energy Field" project. Source: YouTube.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Project: A Balloon for Linz

A Balloon for Linz (2:43) This project explores the acoustic response of specific spaces in the city of Linz, Austria. A series of exploratory walks were organized in which participants were invited to pop balloons and listen to the acoustic properties of different architectural spaces. The project received an honorary mention at the Prix Ars Electronica 2011. Video by Davide Tidoni with assistance by Gerald Hauzenberger and Valentin Huber.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Documentary: Alex Braidwood

City Sonic (1:52) This short KPCC video by Mae Ryan explores the work of  designer, media artist and educator Alex Braidwood  whose research is about the relationship between people and noise in densely populated areas like Los Angeles. His noise isolation headphones capture the sonic environment, which the user then modifies in real time transforming the relationship between the listener and the soundscape.

Click2Read more about the City Sonic documentary.

Click2Read more about the Noisolation Headphones.

Click2Listen to a KPCC radio report on this artist.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Noise Issues: A Short Film About Noise!

Noise! This short film, in two parts, was produced by Environmental Protection UK (formerly NSCA) for Noise Action Week 2005. The film follows a night in the life of David, whose evening is disturbed by noise from his upstairs neighbours, it illustrates the impact of noise problems and the importance of raising awareness about the solutions available. Produced by The Spot Agency / George Ravenscroft  (2005).

Part 1 (9:55) 

Part 2 (8:46) 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Project: New Maps of Time Sound Workshops

Video Collection. There are 28 videos in this collection that serve as documents from various workshops and collaborative site-specific projects that focus on sound. This posting will direct you to specific project pages at which you will find videos, sound files, and other data related to each activity.

New Maps of Time, Malmö Sweden (5.2010) (no video)

All videos can also be found without detailed explanation on VIMEO

Friday, February 10, 2012

Soundwalk: New York Subway

NYC Subway Soundwalk (3:49) This is a sound/slide program best heard with headphones. It features a soundwalk in New York City's subway from Hearld Square to the Queens. The project was recorded on March 5th, 2010 using a ZOOM-H4  digital recorder and binaural SoundMan OKM II microphones. To appreciate the full quality of the soundtrack download it at Double Dominant | Production Studio. Source: YouTube

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Phonographer: Rosa Maria Oliart

The following four videos explore the work of Peruvian phonographer and filmmaker Rosa Maria Oliart as she worked on recent projects. Ms. Oliart is the current President of the National Film Board of Peru (Spanish).

Desde El Sonido (3:31) (Spanish) Rosa Maria Oliart discusses her documentary "From the Sound", a discovery of the natural and cultural soundscape of Peru.  This is a CampusTV report produced by students of the Faculty of Communications at the University of San Martin de Porres, Lima. Source: YouTube. 

Rosa Maria Oliart registra Los Sonidos del Peru para el mundo (2:09) (Spanish) A National Liaison news cast interview with Ms. Oliart and her field recording project. National Liaison is a daily news program broadcast in 29 cities in Peru. Source: YouTube

Los Sonidos del Perú "Desde el Sonido" (5:46) This program documents a new film project by Rosa Maria Oliart. It includes unique sounds of the ocean, mountains and jungle of Peru. Oliart says, "We tried to cover all of Peru looking for sounds that might be of interest to be used in later productions." Peruvian sounds of nature, animals and even the customs were captured. This project was funded by the Spanish Cooperation and the project took more than a year to complete. Access to these sounds is free to potential users by registering at the web site. This project also led Rosa Maria Oliart to work on a documentary about Peru's sound spaces called "From the Sound", which will be released soon. Click2Read more. (YouTube)

Sonidos del Perú en Paracas-Perú (5:46) Short non-narrative documentary about the sounds of Peru as captured by Rosa Maria Oliart. Source: YouTube

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Soundwalk: Downtown Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur (3:05) (sound/slide program) This soundwalk was taken in late January 2010 with Kok Siew Wai's sound class from the Multimedia University in Kuala Lumpur. We met downtown at the Masjid Jamek train station, historically important because it is at the confluence of two rivers, where Kuala Lumpur was first established. Also important because this area brings together three cultures that are integrated in Malaysian life. This piece cross-fades excerpts from the first half of our soundwalk, which began by the mosque, continued through the roadside shops of Little India and in to the main market area of Chinatown. Sound recording, editing, and montage: Andra McCartney. Photos by Kok Siew Wai and Kourosh Ghahremani. Source: You Tube

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Education: The Sound Collector

The Sound Collector (11:55) This animated short by Lynn Smith, features Leonard, a 6-year-old boy with the unusual hobby of collecting sounds. Transforming household noises around him into exciting fantasies, he creates an adventure story for his older brother in which knights chase away monsters and perform other daring deeds. Source: National Film Board of Canada.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Phonographer: Chris Watson and Piers Warren in India

Wildlife Sound Recording: 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: Wildeye and YouTube

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Interview: James Murphy

Sound of Snow (2:48) Doug Aitken interviews electronic musician James Murphy and the influence of the soundscape in his work. Source: New York Times

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Soundscape Composition: Harmonic Field - A Symphonic Sound Walk

Harmonic Field (4:59) In 2010 Pierre Sauvageot created and installed, in Martiques, this wind symphony for listeners-walkers that included 500 instruments: cello harmonics, drums shakers, glockenspiel-mills, bamboo-whistles, sirens-helices, music boxes, circles, and other instruments.  The ensemble is played by the wind which required an understanding by the artist of resonance, space, and time. Click2Read more (French) 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Noise Issues: Town Battles Birds With Noise

Town Battles With The Birds (2:22) In May, 2009, Taylor, Texas, battled  against an onslaught of egrets that became a health hazard for residents.  As Don Tegue reports, the neighbors used noise as a solution, which created what might have become one of the noisiest streets in America. Source: CBS Reports.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Education: Sound, Hearing and Listening

Senses: Sound and Hearing (6:28) This Science Channel presentation is one of the better online  videos providing an informative overview of human hearing. Source: YouTube

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Soundscape Composition: Paysages sonores

Paysages sonorous (1:35) A short video soundscape composition by Jonas Bourguignon produced in November, 2006. Source: YouTube