A site dedicated to format changes? Why not; what’s more historic than when something begins or ends? The Format Change Archive is your home for airchecks of the beginnings and endings of some of the most historic radio stations (and some you may never have heard).
The act of writing has always been an art. Now, it can also be an act of music. Each letter you type corresponds to a specific musical note putting a new spin to your composition. Make music while you write.
Philip Sherburne: The 28 Best Wired Headphones for Every Budget (Pitchfork)
Philip Sherburne asked for my opinion on headphones for this article, and here it is!
Portland, Oregon, web developer Matthew McVickar says, “I have yet to find a pair of over-ear headphones that don't feel uncomfortable with glasses after more than half an hour or so, but I love the Sony MDR 7506.”
Free download of samples made from a collection of broken instruments.
The Broken Instruments Sample Pack is a free download of Found Sound Nation's favorite sounds from the Symphony for a Broken Orchestra Project.
Matt Unicomb: Chasing The Perfect Loop (Resident Advisor)
Why is ultra-repetitive music so special? Matt Unicomb speaks with Robert Hood, William Basinski and more to find out.
For the first minute of Robert Hood's "Self Powered," you might focus on the bassline. But as it loops, your attention may shift to the hi-hats and the subtle ways they're manipulated. A great loop techno track hooks a lister with simple pattern. A listener who allows themselves to fall into the track actively follows the progression, whether they realise it or not. Subtle changes, like a slight filter effect on some bleeps, shifts the sound, bringing the listener even closer. The best producers, perhaps inexplicably, know exactly when and what to tweak, to the point where a simple series of tones and a four-on-the-floor kick becomes intensely powerful.
There seems to be an inverse relationship between the prevalence of great loops and the amount of equipment available to producers.
Lindsay Zoladz: Learning to Listen to, and Beyond, the Siren’s Call (NYT)
A music critic’s soundscape has been reshaped by the wail of ambulances. But she’s learning to hear in unexpected ways.
Before the virus, there had been so much stimulus that many of us had learned to filter it out of our awareness — subway buskers’ pleas; sudden eruptions of earth-rumbling subwoofers at red lights — in order to preserve the emotional energy required to move through our days. But now in the absence of other sounds like heavy traffic, construction and the springtime shrieks of children on playgrounds, the sirens are all there is to hear. And of course, we cannot turn a deaf ear to what we know their escalating numbers signify.
The makers of the Cristal Baschet glass musical instrument. I must visit this place in France!
The Baschet Sound Structures Association’s mission is to ensure the work of the Baschet brothers lives on.
Marc Weidenbaum: Join a Cellular Chorus (Disquiet)
Featuring Patricia Wolf’s new project that turns any device with a web browser and speakers into a piece of a larger sound art.
Every time you invoke the Cellular Chorus page, a random audio file will be set as the browser’s default. (There are currently 64 different audio files in all.) Then let them play, all of them at once. Move the devices around the room. Don’t let any single device take prominence. Adjust the volume accordingly. Use the pulldown menu or the forward/back buttons to alternate between tracks. Note how the same file will sound different on your rattly old tablet than it does on your brand new laptop, how your humble kitchen speaker can’t hold a candle to your bleeding-edge smartphone.
Kerry O'Brien: Listening as Activism: The “Sonic Meditations” of Pauline Oliveros (New Yorker)
Her eccentric sound exercises—what she once called “recipes” for listening—briefly went viral. One score reads, in its entirety, “Take a walk at night. Walk so silently that the bottoms of your feet become ears.” Like much of her work, Oliveros’s “Meditations” posited listening as a fully embodied pursuit—a posture of attending to sounds and to the world. But her “Meditations” are more than quotable texts. They began as sound and body experiments within a women’s group. Recounting their early history offers a look at the roots of Oliveros’s body-centered politics; in the midst of America’s current political chaos, her “Meditations” make a timely case for listening as a form of activism.
Alexis C. Madrigal: How the Gorgeous, Sometimes Fictional Sound of the Olympics Gets Made (The Atlantic)
The audio from your favorite events isn't real. It's much better than real.
Just to walk through the logic: based on the sound of arrows in a fictional Kevin Costner movie, Baxter created the sonic experience of sitting between the archer and the target, something no live spectator could do.
"That afternoon we went out on a canoe with a couple of rowers recorded stereo samples of the different type of effects that would be somewhat typical of an event," Baxter recalls. "And then we loaded those recordings into a sampler and played them back to cover the shots of the boats."
The real sound, of course, would have included engine noises and a helicopter whirring overhead. The fake sound seemed normal, just oars sliding into water. In a sense, the real sound was as much of a human creation as the fake sound, and probably a lot less pleasant to listen to.
Sophie Haigney: Meet the man behind the music at Logan Airport (The Boston Globe)
What’s played over the speakers at Logan originates in a room in a yellow house in North Providence.
This question of how to please everyone is something that many large public spaces — and small private spaces — deal with on a daily basis. This desire to please the largest crowd — or not to offend — drove the popularity of “elevator music.” On some level, this challenge continues to drive companies like Spotify to create better and better algorithms. And it drives Dalzell to continually add and delete, listen and select.
Each national park has a unique soundscape. The natural and cultural sounds in parks awaken a sense of wonder that connects us to the qualities that define these special places. They are part of a web of resources that the National Park Service protects under the Organic Act. From the haunting calls of bugling elk in mountains to the patriotic calls of bugling horns across a historic battlefield, NPS invites you to experience our parks through this world of sound.
Illusory sound texture reveals multi-second statistical completion in auditory scene analysis
Demonstrations of ‘illusory sound texture’—basically, your brain continuing to ‘hear’ a sound texture that doesn't exist while it is interrupted by another sound.
From the paper abstract:
Sound sources in the world are experienced as stable even when intermittently obscured, implying perceptual completion mechanisms that “fill in” missing sensory information. We demonstrate a filling-in phenomenon in which the brain extrapolates the statistics of background sounds (textures) over periods of several seconds when they are interrupted by another sound, producing vivid percepts of illusory texture.
Natalie Angier: New Ways Into the Brain’s ‘Music Room’ (NYT)
Now researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have devised a radical new approach to brain imaging that reveals what past studies had missed. By mathematically analyzing scans of the auditory cortex and grouping clusters of brain cells with similar activation patterns, the scientists have identified neural pathways that react almost exclusively to the sound of music — any music. It may be Bach, bluegrass, hip-hop, big band, sitar or Julie Andrews. A listener may relish the sampled genre or revile it. No matter. When a musical passage is played, a distinct set of neurons tucked inside a furrow of a listener’s auditory cortex will fire in response.
Other sounds, by contrast — a dog barking, a car skidding, a toilet flushing — leave the musical circuits unmoved.
Crysknife007 specializes in extended ambient space and spaceship sounds. He also enjoys working with other scifi soundscapes.
Fans of ambient starship noise from TV and movies, look no further than this Bandcamp, which also includes loops of ambient noise from the Starfox video game, a submarine, fans and air conditioners, and ‘Every Super Mario Brothers Sound Effect At Once.’
Listen to This: Jacques Dudon — Lumiéres Audibles, 1995
"In his 'photosonic' process, Dudon shines light through a series of semi-transparent, rotating discs that slow and modify the light waves’ frequencies; the resulting waveforms are picked up by photoelectric (solar-power) cells connected to standard analog amplifiers."
As we age, our hearing slowly but surely slips away. Time turns down the decibels. But what, exactly, does that aging-of-the-ears sound like? What would it sound like to go, in an instant, from the hearing of a 20-year-old to the hearing of a 90-year-old? In the vocabulary of frequencies and decibels, what does normal hearing loss sound like? After finding a set of hearing data available online,1 we decided to develop a small web-based simulator to help you experience, in realtime, the results of natural hearing loss.
Love hertz: Scientists find fatal attraction 'sex' frequency to lure male mosquitoes to their death
Scientists have hit upon the fatal attraction frequency that mimics the sound of a deadly disease-carrying female mosquito's wings beating, in order to lure the male of the species to their death.
Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine researchers Brian Johnson and Scott Ritchie discovered a tone of 484 hertz, the frequency of a female Aedes aegypti's wings flapping, attracted male mosquitoes of the species in large numbers.
Robyn Flans: Classic Tracks: Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" (Mix Online)
“One day, Phil was playing the drums and I had the reverse talkback on because he was speaking, and then he started playing the drums. The most unbelievable sound came out because of the heavy compressor. I said, ‘My God, this is the most amazing sound! Steve, listen to this.’”
"moDernisT" was created by salvaging the sounds lost to mp3 compression from the song "Tom's Diner", famously used as one of the main controls in the listening tests to develop the MP3 encoding algorithm. Here we find the form of the song intact, but the details are just remnants of the original. Similarly, the video contains only material which was left behind during mp4 video compression.
Jared Keller: A Mysterious Sound Is Driving People Insane — And Nobody Knows What's Causing It (Mic.com)
"The Hum" refers to a mysterious sound heard in places around the world by a small fraction of a local population. It's characterized by a persistent and invasive low-frequency rumbling or droning noise often accompanied by vibrations.
Eric Harvey: Matthew McVickar — Favorite Sounds of 2012 (marathonpacks)
Matthew isolates individual moments from songs released this past year, and then very briefly explains why he likes these moments while allowing you to hear them. On one hand, he’s an electronic music composer himself, so he knows what he’s talking about in technical terms. On the other hand, it’s a very personal peek into the nooks and crannies of a music fan’s brain—what those things are that made him go “eh?” other than a cool chorus or a lyric segment. On the third hand (I have three hands, it helps with chores), a lot of these are just cool sounds. Listen and follow along.