Archive for the ‘field recordings’ Category

“Watermachine” Sound Installation at LeMieux Galleries

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

WatermachineI currently have a sound piece playing at LeMieux Galleries as part of the group show “Water, Water, Everywhere” curated by Christy Wood.

The “Watermachine” plays  a predetermined, but constantly evolving mix of three long (around 5 minutes each) field recordings I made: a waterfall in North Carolina, the surf in Alabama, and a thunderstorm in New Orleans.

It was created with Max/MSP (a “visual programming language for media“), some free sound editing software and a mobile recorder (Zoom H2). Two of the sound sources have their volume controlled by a very slow oscillator (LFO), each on cycles of a prime number of seconds so that the volume curves don’t realign at the same places for a very long time—and when they do, they are each referencing a different part of the sample. Though subtle, the sound mix would not repeat itself exactly for many years. The third sound source, the waterfall, is brought in algorithmically when the sum of the other two sources has dropped below a certain threshold, and fades out again when one or both are audible again.

Experience “Under Pressure” online

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

“Under Pressure” with video animation by David Sullivan and sound by yours truly was a piece exhibited at the Duets show at Loyola last year and later at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

I neglected to post the video online, but here it is. View it in fullscreen with good speakers if possible!

Under Pressure from david sullivan on Vimeo.

Disquiet Junto: Morsebeat

Friday, January 4th, 2013

this is a track I composed for the 50th disquiet junto project.

my grandfather was a big time ham radio operator who had talked to every country in the world, and he convinced me to get my novice license as a young kid, where i learned morse code. he passed away about 10 years ago but i am always thankful for his interest in electronics and tinkering that he passed on to me. the call CQ or “seek you” is what ham operators use to initiate conversation, that is the foundation of the pulse of this piece. the other signal incorporates a simple message from my (expired) call sign to my grandfather’s, whom his friends called Wallace and we called “Pops”. his call sign was K4TJL.

K4TJL

i used max/msp to generate the morse code messages, (a little rusty to do it manually) and i ended with a sample of the Radio Tirana (from communist Albania) interval signal that I could pick up on my Heathkit ham radio, and was magical to me as a kid.

more on this 50th Disquiet Junto project
more details on the Disquiet Junto

Note: I first found out about disquiet and its founder/former NOLA resident Marc Weidenbaum when he reviewed my band Chef Menteur’s earliest mp3s and wrote about New Orleans’ burgeoning electronic music scene in the early 2000’s (See this 2005 piece he wrote right after Katrina). He’s only gotten more involved in the electronic music community since moving to San Francisco, keeping regular dispatches up and engaging via his twitter account @disquiet. His Disquiet Junto project on SoundCloud is now one year old; and this is my first entry, posted near the end of year one…. Congrats & thanks Marc!

“Duets” Closing Tonight at Loyola

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Tonight is the closing (there was not an opening) for the Duets show at the Collins C. Diboll art gallery at Loyola University in New Orleans. David Sullivan and I put together a piece for it. It’s the same as can be seen at the Ogden but the presentation is closer to our intention here: the display is much larger (projector) and the audio is full range (speakers with subwoofer).

Duets closing flyer

David made the video; I made the audio using analog synthesizers, field recordings I made of tree frogs in the neighborhood, Max/MSP and Max for Live.

Chef Menteur video made with Max/MSP

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

I used Max/MSP to filter and mix semi-autonomously a couple of video loops I shot in Greece, and put it to music, that being the Chef Menteur song “Narconaut” (the first track off the new record).

Chef Menteur: “Narconaut” from Chef Menteur on Vimeo.

Music by Chef Menteur | Photography by Alec Vance

(c) 2012 Backporch Revolution Records

Animation/sound art at Ogden Museum

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

I worked on a piece with David Sullivan that was accepted for the Louisiana Contemporary exhibition at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The show will be free and opens this Saturday, August 4 (6-9pm) for White Linen Night.

For my part, I used Max/MSP, a Korg MS-20 (classic analog synth), and some field recordings of tree frogs I made on Adams Street by the graveyards in my neighborhood.

A slightly different version of our animation can be seen on vimeo.

Psychic Summit iPhone app

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Psychic Summit Aquarium 2 iPhone appMy day job for the past year or so has been writing software for iOS. Not nearly as often as I’d like, but occasionally my interest in making music intersects with my work, and in this particular case I don’t think it’s ever intersected better. (The only time making music for work even came close to being this fun was perhaps when I made sound effects for a CD-ROM game in the mid-90’s, or made music loops for kids’ games in the early 2000’s).

For this app, however, I got to be an active part in the design process from the drawing board to the implementation. My interest in ambient music, generative systems, pseduorandom patterns, etc, all played into both the visual and aural aspects of the Aquarium 2 app. We make no secret of being inspired by devices like the Buddha Machine, apps like Brian Eno and Peter Chivers’ Bloom, or even those 1970’s new age ambient record series called Environments that you could pick up for 99 cents in bargain bins.

What resulted I think is a great app for constructing ideal ambient soundscapes to match your taste and mood. Each color wheel is a set of samples that you swap out with the next one by swiping across the screen; the background plasma colors change as well. You call up samples by pressing a colored wedge; the sample fades in after your touch. Touch it again and it gently fades out. The samples are mellow synthesizer loops constructed by ambient soundsmith Morgan Kuhli, or field recordings of natural sounds of the forest and ocean that you can blend. Whether you are looking for some soothing sounds for baby (c.f., Raymond Scott), something to read, meditate, or fall asleep to,  you can probably build a sound with this app that will work for you.

Read about it more at the Juggleware Developer’s Blog.

Or, check out the app on the App Store.

Vuvuzela! (USA Wins 1-1 vs England)

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Vuvuzela

If you’ve watched any of the current World Cup, you have an opinion about the plastic horns that the fans use to blare on and drone throughout the matches. Surprisingly, all of my friends seem to like the background noise they provide and find it somewhat soothing. Others, or so I’ve heard, find them extremely annoying and liken them to the sound of attacking hornets. Okay, I will admit that they do sound like a swarm of bees, but I actually like the sound of bees. I am not sure, but I am pretty sure that it’s not a coincidence that the word “drone” is used both for male worker bees and the droning sound that bees make.

So whith that in mind, here is a Vuvuzela-heavy remix of the US-England game this past Saturday, or at least the last 14 minutes of the last half. You can hear the US score the “winning” goal at 5:15 (thanks to British goalie Robert Green, who I offer my sincerest condolences to).

Vuvuzela (mp3)

Sublime Frequencies

Friday, July 24th, 2009
Group Doueh: Treeg Salaam LP SF048

Group Doueh: Treeg Salaam LP SF048

I found out recently that the obscure world music label Sublime Frequencies (both the music and the label are somewhat obscure, but not nearly as obscure as say Backporch Revolution), founded by the guys from the Sun City Girls had a way for me to easily rectify my almost complete lack of possessing the ability to listen to any part of their catalog on demand.

You can get the entire SF catalog through SF 039 here. It’s just a data DVD, so I am sure there’s lots of awesome pictures, art and liner notes that you’ll miss, but almost all of these CDs and LPs are out of print, so for someone like me, this was about the only way to get them.

Included is the relatively well-known (among world music fans) album by Omar Souleyman, Highway to Hassake: Folk and Pop Sounds of Syria. But there is also lots of really great cassette tape field recordings from deep in the jungles of Southeast Asia, radio broadcasts of unknown pop songs and chatter from Africa and the Middle East, religious and tribal music from some forgotten provinces of Asian highlands, and way too much more to even begin to comprehend.

I’ve been playing the collection in iTunes on shuffle for a few days now, and I still haven’t gotten sick of it.

Open Sound New Orleans

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

I thought I had posted this link to the blog before, but it appears that I have not. Apparently, it was featured earlier this week on NPR.

http://www.opensoundneworleans.com