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Speak Softly


Automated Hobo Recording Project

This image is from the California high-desert bacchanal Burning Man, during which Mark G. circulated Automated Hobo, a sound-harvesting experiment using cheap tape recorders and hand-written instructions.

I purchase cheap tape recorders at thrift stores and wherever, load them with batteries and blank tape, and write instructions on the outside that tell people to record something and then pass it on to someone else. When the tape’s full, return it back to me. I figured that since Burning Man emphasizes participation over spectatorship, I might get better response than I have in the past. I was right — three out of four recorders came back, and the highlights can be heard here.

Mark G. is with Evolution Controlled Creations (a.k.a. the intellectual-property renegade band Evolution Control Committee). Automated Hobo MP3 files are available for download, although apparently they are from 2000, while the photo is from a more recent festival. Recordings from the project have also been broadcast – knowing ECC they may also have been sampled into current or forthcoming musix.

One of the interesting aspects of found-sound is its uncontrolled nature… one can imagine a similar process whose intermediate point is a speech-to-text system. What wild writings and miswritings might emerge from the text-to-speech transcript of an itinerant tape recording? [blogged by Jeremy Douglass on WRT]

Jan 31, 2006
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Open Call for Sound Works

WILD INFORMATION NETWORK: The Department of Ecology, Art, and Technology–Open Call for Sound Works In Mp3 Format – Deadline April 1, 2006.

If we encountered a pod-cast, or a streaming radio server in the woods, in the ‘natural’ environment, what kind of information would be distributed? If there was an entity, a life-form, or a ‘natural’ other that disseminated sonic information, wild-information, how would this information sound? This project encourages artists to create audio sound works that imagine the ‘voice’ of the ecological other and explore its translation into the language of digital art technologies.

If �nature� encountered a pod-cast, or a streaming radio server in the woods, in the �natural� environment, what kind of information would be distributed? This project could take on unpredictable, interactive, and experimental dimensions as it also encourages artists to consider themselves as human animals, beings within �nature� producing sound works for unknowable others, e.g. ferns, salamanders, flowers, mosquito, beetles, flowers, deer, coyotes, bear, water, etc.
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Jan 26, 2006
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Fyra ofoner


Invitation and Unwritten Score

Fyra Ofoner (Four Ophones)–by Erik Sandelin and Magnus Torstensson–is an invitation and an unwritten score for a composition that lasts as long as the exhibition does. You and other visitors take part as audience, musicians, and co-composers. No one knows what will happen or how it will sound. Be prepared for everything from subtle interference etudes, to collaborative chanting and big, bad rhythm orgies.

An ofon is a loudspeaker with an attached telephone headset. When a visitor has recorded a sound into an ofon, it is repeated infinitely until another sound is recorded into the same ofon. When all four ofons are used, no one can predict what will happen or how it will sound. Videos on the website. [blogged by Regine on we-make-money-not-art]

Jan 23, 2006
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Thomson & Craighead: Audio Machine

Decorative newsfeed 1.jpg

In Unprepared Piano, a Yamaha Disklavier grand piano is connected to a database of music MIDI files appropriated and compiled from all over the web. This library of found data is then ‘performed’ automatically in the gallery with the full authority one associates with a concert grand piano. Each MIDI file contains an electronic score for a whole piece of music with different tracks for different instruments. When the piano plays one of these scores, it switches between the tracks randomly, which means it will sometimes play a piano part correctly but may also render drum parts, string sections and marimbas etc. in awkward configurations and combinations. On a monitor it is possible to see real-time information about what is being played.

The title Unprepared Piano specifically references the composer John Cage and his method of preparing a piano by fastening nails, coins and so on directly onto the strings inside the instrument, and in doing so to change the sound of it when played. But the title also refers to the piano being unprepared for the information it accesses and with no human performer and no way of knowing exactly what might be performed, Unprepared Piano becomes an endless generative mechanism for the performance of unique musical improvisations. Continue reading

Jan 23, 2006
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Sound Architecture

Audio/Viscera–by John Rothenberg–explore ways in which sound can be treated as an architectural material. The user wears a helmet containing wireless headphones. Their motion, tracked by a computer vision system, determines the sound they will hear and it serves the secondary purpose of redefining the soundscape.

Sounds (both live and recorded audio) are assigned to specific virtual locations, and are broadcast to the headphones as if they actually inhabited that space. Physical objects and images guide the user to these virtual sounds in the gallery. Somes sounds move through the soundscape, responding to the user’s motion and allowing her/him to discover and alter the virtual audio landscape.

Audio/Viscera aims to give architectural elements (like a wall or column) a voice. This is achieved through two channels: (1) a map of the audio events taking place in the city of Munich: as the user approaches the screen, s/he can hear (pre-recorded) sounds taking place at various locations throughout the city; (2) live but distant sounds are translated from throughout the exhibition and exterior spaces into the soundscape. The user is thus able to cross physical/architectural boundaries with sound, much as a window allows the user’s eye to cross physical boundaries in conventional architecture. These sounds will be connected to visual clues in the form of images or animations, or they will respond to the user’s motion.

This project explores the interaction between virtual and real space through sound. PDF of the project. Related: audio space + audiotag + audio graffiti, Mapamp, Sonic city, sound mapping, Aura, Akitsugu Maebayashi’s audio work. [blogged by Regine on we-make-money-not-art]

Jan 20, 2006
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Reblogged Datasound Strip

datasound.jpgThe idea of sound on paper is not surprising thinking about the codification of the staff on the score. As the same time digitalization has made us used to the fact that data of different nature like images, sounds and words, can be stored through just one code. What is original is the idea of coming back to the original matrix of paper fiber to encrypt information. The Datasound Strip is an 18×55 mm, two-dimensional matrix code, consisting of millions of tiny dots that allow to securely encode thousand of bytes of user data. The code can be decoded using an handled mobile Strip Reader that, placed on the strip, converts the printed data in seconds to its original form Speech and music are played directly over a speaker, while pictures or text are downloaded to a connected PC. The system uses Advanced Audio Coding technology, one of the newest data compression techniques. The key applications are in security, but the most lively ones seem to be in promotion. With the Datasound it is possible to make paper or similar materials talk. This allows in-store promotions, coupons and marketing games, as well as it can make catalogues and packaging more lively and interactive. Waiting for the the first hack that would completely detourne it… [Valentina Culatti, neural]

Jan 18, 2006
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Reblogged MachineAria

machine_aria.jpgWhy a plant equipped with electronic elements inserted on the stem become a poetic creature? Why and through which procedures objects in current use become meaningful channels vehiculating personal stories? MachineAria is an installation by Ruben Coen Cagli, that tries to solve the question, asking the visitor to have a contemplative experience of a hybrid ecosystem build up on modified electromechanical plants. Five plants are connected to five little motors, placed under the pots, and to the led arrays on the stems’ top. The motors turn on and off sequentially, enabling the the vegetables’ vibrations. They sway giving the impression of being caressed by a light breeze. So the air, a traditional and excellent element for inspiring poetry, takes shape thanks to the pure technological fiction. Actually everything can be potentially transformed in a stream of data, but only for humanizing it afterwards, in this case recreating the breath / caress sensation for the user. The idea of activating mechanical processes and then converting the generated data in sensorial experiences, rise from the will to explore all the possible alterations and extensions of technology in daily life. What happens then is skidding from the technological domain to the poetic one, where the latter is essential to the development strategies of innovation. [Francesca Tomassini, neural]

Jan 18, 2006
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Singing Bridges


Played Cables

Singing Bridges, by Jodi Rose, is a sonic sculpture, playing the cables of stay-cabled and suspension bridges as musical instruments. To create this work I will amplify and record the sound of bridge cables around the world. Listening in to the secret voice of bridges as the inaudible vibrations in the cables are translated into sound.

An urban sound-scape that reflects the physical and metaphoric structure of the telecommunications network, with its fibre-optic cables circling the globe. The iconography of the bridge cables echoes the telecommunications lines stretching across the globe and linking us together. The work plays on an acoustic extension and interpretation of the constant flow of information and data through these cables.

In the ultimate realisation of this idea, bridges at locations around the world are linked and played in real-time to create an International Bridge Symphony. As the Bridges are connected through the sound of their cables, they create an Acoustic Indra’s Net.
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Jan 13, 2006
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Mapping New York City

Maps are tools for understanding the world from different points of view – political, cultural, personal, and historical. Maps hold the power to shape the truth about the world and mapmakers shape the future. The NYSoundmap is a container – a concept or idea to hold many types of processes and projects. The project reaches across the city’s geographic, economic, educational, cultural and racial divides. It is at once a historical record and a subjective representation of the city. It is what each user wishes it to be and it is ever growing, ever changing and totally interactive. Continue reading

Jan 10, 2006
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Feedtank Experiments


TransPose + VideoTank

TransPose (left) is an audiovisual performance instrument whose interface encourages dramatic movement. It was conceived to address the absence of physical human expression found in most electronic music based performances.

In TransPose, the performer’s silhouette is projected in front of them along with noteboxes, which produce a sound when touched. The performer can change between instruments and record loops that can be turned on or off to create layered compositions.

Computer vision technology captures the performer’s physical actions captured and translates them to audio in real time. The performer sits in front of a camera, and his or her silhouette is projected in front of them in relation to a number of predefined trigger areas called ‘noteboxes.’ Using his/her silhouette to overlap the noteboxes, the performer triggers various tones.
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Jan 5, 2006
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Current interview:
Robin Meier, Ali Momeni and the sound of insects

Previous Interviews:


livestage music sound performance calls + opps installation audio/visual radio festival instrument networked audio interactive experimental electronic workshop video participatory writings event mobile exhibition concert live collaboration electroacoustic environment nature reblog distributed soundscape field recording net_music_weekly improvisation software history locative media space public noise recording immersion voice acoustic sonification lecture generative conference body tool sound sculpture net art art + science VJ/DJ light diy remix site-specific perception mapping film visualization listening laptop algorithmic multimedia city urban data wearable architecture open source game virtual biotechnology sound walk spatialization webcast hacktivism robotic image score platform electromagnetic new media cinema ecology found news composer telematic interface streaming residency interviews/other sensor dance circuit bending synesthesia physical political notation intervention object controller broadcasts conversation narrative second life responsive mashup place technology ambient social network symposium motion tracking hybrid intermedia augmented spoken word livecoding text phonography auralization acousmatic upgrade! gesture opera aesthetics mixed reality resource theory processing 8bit orchestra nmr_commission wireless device toy wireless network theater web 2.0 presentation community surveillance p2p 3D copyright soundtrack research podcast sample feedback psychogeography social chance interdisciplinary tactile recycle interview language systems code emergence presence cassette privacy free/libre software media play chiptune newsletter place-specific archives avatar education haptics activist surround sound audio tour glitch hardware tactical identity bioart asynchronous business tv tangible composition animation jazz transmission arts apps tag e-literature collective microsound relational synchronous Artificial Intelligence conductor convergence reuse simulation ubiquitous synthesizers im/material
3D 8bit acousmatic acoustic activist aesthetics algorithmic ambient animation apps architecture archives art + science Artificial Intelligence asynchronous audio audio/visual audio tour augmented auralization avatar bioart biotechnology body broadcasts business calls + opps cassette chance chiptune cinema circuit bending city code collaboration collective community composer composition concert conductor conference controller convergence conversation copyright dance data distributed diy e-literature ecology education electroacoustic electromagnetic electronic emergence environment event exhibition experimental feedback festival field recording film found free/libre software game generative gesture glitch hacktivism haptics hardware history hybrid identity im/material image immersion improvisation installation instrument interactive interdisciplinary interface intermedia intervention interview interviews/other jazz language laptop lecture light listening live livecoding livestage locative media mapping mashup media microsound mixed reality mobile motion tracking multimedia music narrative nature net art networked net_music_weekly new media news newsletter nmr_commission noise notation object open source opera orchestra p2p participatory perception performance phonography physical place place-specific platform play podcast political presence presentation privacy processing psychogeography public radio reblog recording recycle relational remix research residency resource responsive reuse robotic sample score second life sensor simulation site-specific social social network software sonification sound soundscape sound sculpture soundtrack sound walk space spatialization spoken word streaming surround sound surveillance symposium synchronous synesthesia synthesizers systems tactical tactile tag tangible technology telematic text theater theory tool toy transmission arts tv ubiquitous upgrade! urban video virtual visualization VJ/DJ voice wearable web 2.0 webcast wireless device wireless network workshop writings



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What is this?

Networked_Music_Review (NMR) is a research blog that focuses on emerging networked musical explorations.


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NMR commissioned the following artists to create new sound art works. More...
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