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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Noise Issues: Canadian Stories

The following is a series of short news videos explaining various noise issues facing Canadians across the country.

Ottawa (3:54) Air and sound pollution that created by bus and truck in downtown Ottawa may possibly be addressed by using rail service.

Vancouver (4:31) Vancouver International Airport is building a $12 million ground run-up enclosure to minimize noise while engines are run-up as part of regular maintenance work. The structure is intended to block noise radiating outward from the planes in order to protect surrounding neighbourhoods from noise pollution. Journal of Commerce Canada.

Victoria (3:08) The Environment and Infrastructure Public Advisory Committee is tuning into something many of us tune out; environmental noise pollution. The committee notes that there is a need for an overall community noise policy. A News Vancouver Island.  

Monday, January 30, 2012

Research: Listening to Elephants

Two videos on the subject of elephant communication are included in this posting:

Listening to Elephants (12:46 ) Bioacoustics researcher Katy Payne and her colleagues have found that elephants use low frequency sounds to communicate. These sounds are mostly below the range of human hearing but we feel them as "pulsations" in the air. In Africa these sounds may travel as far as 10 km and serve to coordinate elephant herds. Payne is co-founder of the Elephant Listening Project, which uses acoustic methods to study and aid in the conservation of forest elephants in Central Africa. Source: Cornell University. YouTube

Elephant Communication (1:44) Matt Anderson of the San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conversation Research explains how they have been monitoring communication between elephants that cannot be heard by human ears. Source: BBC

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Soundscape: Buenos Aires

Look down, look up and listen in Buenos Aires (4:36) Based on a soundwalk which began at the Borges Cultural Centre in Buenos Aires in early December 2010, as part of the Balance-Unbalance colloquium. A silent, listening group walked through the shops to the pedestrian mall on Florida, down to the park of Plaza St. Martin and back through Galeria Pacifica to return to the Cultural Centre.  All sound recordings, photography and montage are by Andra McCartney. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Project: Grinding Gears - Acoustic Composition

Grinding Gears (7:55) Students at the University of Windsor explore their acoustic environment by first listening to sounds in the field and then, returning to the classroom, create vocal compositions based on those sounds. This project was part of the Creative Improvisation in Music Therapy Course conducted by Dr. Petra Kern. Source: YouTube

Friday, January 27, 2012

Soundwalk: Guided Soundwalk on Culture Night

Guided Soundwalk (7:20) This September, 2009 NCBI Guided Soundwalk offered a unique sonic experience led by the perceptive abilities of a team of guides with vision impairments while immersed in the intimate acoustic environment of an ‘Audio Umbrella’. The Soundwalk took place on Dublin's Culture Night.

The walk involved five stages, each one is 15 mins. in length and brought the participants to some of the most prominent cultural venues in Dublin's city center, where they could choose to partake in a range of exciting arts programmes for Culture Night.

The walks  were repeated three times during Culture Night so participants could choose to take part  in ‘Light’, ‘Dusk’ and ‘Dark’ events. Unlike a typical tour, guides of the NCBI Guided Soundwalk lead in silence, operating a long cane fitted with microphone and transmitter. With this, they created unique aural compositions broadcasting inside the domes of the Audio Umbrellas, like a mobile conductor directing a score for an urban orchestra.

NCBI Guided Soundwalk offered the audience not only the opportunity to enjoy the rich wealth of sonic experience in the urban environment, but also to appreciate a diversity of perception, ability and creativity.

Video: Vimeo

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Soundscape Composition: Reuschenberger

Reuschenberger  (10:51) This audio visual coproduction of Peter Hölscher and Michael Rüsenberg is a portrait of Hölschers atelier (studio), an old but still working watermill in Leverkusen, Germany. Sound and photos were recorded at the same time and place and then the artists worked on each element independently until the merging of both took place 2 weeks later. This is part of a series of "zeitbilder" (images in time). Source: Vimeo

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Project: Bio Circuit - A Wearable Soundscape

Bio Circuit (2:26)  "Bio Circuit is a vest that provides a form of bio feedback using data from the wearer's heart rate to determine what "sounds" they hear through the speaker embedded in the collar of the garment. The wearer places the heart rate monitor around the ribcage, resting against the skin and close to the heart. An MP3 audio player embedded in the vest plays the audio track related to that specific heart rate. The audio tracks are soundscapes mixed from a range of ambient sounds. If the wearer’s heart rate is low, the soundscape will reflect a quiet natural area with sounds such as water, birds and insects. If the wearer has a high heart rate then they will hear a cacophony of urban sounds such as people talking and traffic." Bio Circuit was created at Emily Carr University of Art and Design by Industrial Design student Dana Ramler, and MAA student Holly Schmidt.

Source: Vimeo

Monday, January 23, 2012

Project: Sonsofera di Roma

Sonsofera di Roma (6:14) What better way to call attention to listening to the soundscape than through a street performance with an oversized microphone. In this video the artists from  take their message to the streets of Rome and the famous Trevi Fountain. A goal is to make the public aware of the need to listen and give attention to the sounds of daily life. is a  group of artists in Spain who are interested in the natural and human made soundscapes. One objective of the group is to call attention to the sonic environment in an age that has an obsession with the visual aspects of culture. The artists note that the sounds we hear are inevitably a part of our lives and collective memory. The recognition and preservation of the sounds that enrich life is an issue for artists to address in the 21st century.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Noise Issues: When is Noise Really Noise?

When Is Noise Really Noise? (4:26) Mo Rocca visits with the cast of "Stomp," who use every day objects, from brooms and trash cans, to create music and are breaking the stereotypes of noise. Mo explores with the cast what they think noise is, and isn't. Source: CBS Tomorrow Show

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Soundscape: Spring Walk

Spring (1:32 ) Spring has yet to fully arrive. What is it that one hears along this melting jogging path? Source: Vimeo

Friday, January 20, 2012

Noise Issues: Texas Hospital Addresses Soundscape

Hospital Noise (4:10) The Quiet Environment Committee at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth used their eyes and ears to learn about the disrupting nature of noise on patient units in the hospital. They found that noise levels exceeding establish federal and international guidelines can impede the wellness of patients, visitors and caregivers. And they learned that too much background noise can threaten critical communications.

The hospital introduced the concept of "SHHH," or Silent Hospitals Help Heal, and installed Yakker Trackers to monitor sound levels. The Yakker Trackers look like a stoplight: When the decibel level is at a healing level, the light is green. As sound levels increase, the lights turn yellow, and then red. Producer: Texas Health Resources  Source: YouTube

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Soundscape Composition: wewalktogether

wewalktogether (29:00) (sound with descriptive title cards) This piece by Rui Chaves was presented during the 2010 Sonorities Festival at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at the Belfast Platform for the Arts gallery in Belfast.

wewalktogether was a mobile broadcast piece for 3 performers in three different cities: Graz, Hamburg, Belfast. They were symbolically united by a score with a series of notes and timed instructions and a multichannel system that allowed for simultaneously listening of each stream. Each performer explored different soundscapes, but also specific situations that are enhanced through on the spot engaging with urban space.

The piece aimed at providing the audience new time-space relationships based on the layering of the three sites, the gallery and the actions of the performers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Research: Soundscape Design and Planning

There are 51 videos in this collection related to the Swedish urban
soundscape documented by which is a vibrant online forum that explores sound design and the urban soundscape.

In this collection you can  listen to sound examples from various Swedish cities and compare how different planning solutions affects the soundscape. has been developed in a collaboration between Movium and Gunnar Crewen, landscape architect MSA, with the financial support of Movium. AF Ingemansson, Malmo and Kalmar Municipality. Source: Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Project: Sonido Del Patrimonio/Sounds of Heritage

Sonido Del Patrimonio. (6:54) If you close your eyes, your perception of the acoustic environment becomes totally different. Surprisingly, sounds not given  attention when the sense of sight dominates, are heard and seem to sprout out of nowhere. In this presentation  Professor Mauricio Bejarano is a musician and phonographer at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Bogata). Here he discusses the soundscape of which he has spent years studying and documenting (Spanish).

Sonido Del Patrimonio. (6:54) Si realizásemos el ejercicio de cerrar bien los ojos, tendríamos una percepción de nuestro entorno totalmente diferente: cientos de sonidos a los que habitualmente no prestamos atención, brotarían sorprendentemente de la nada. Mauricio Bejarano, músico y profesor de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, lleva años estudiando y documentando los sonidos que le rodean. En este reportaje Bejarano, que participó en el curso de verano de la UNIA en Baeza Patrimonio Histórico. Otras miradas, reivindica el sonido en la construcción de los territorios y su papel como parte integradora del patrimonio.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Soundscape Composition: Yokomono

Yokomono (5:44) This is a sound composition with 30 auto-rickshaws playing horn patterns in sync with each other as they move in groups around the concentric circles of Connaught Place. The project has been conceived by Geert Jan Hobjin and assisted by Jens Alexander Ewald. Source: YouTube

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Soundscape Composition: Paulista

Paulista This soundscape composition by Rui Chaves and Felipe Hickmann  uses both fixed and mobile streaming technology to construct a translocal musical and sonic performance linking SARC (Belfast), LAMI (São Paulo) and Paulista Avenue, in the heart of São Paulo’s financial district.

The avenue is home to a live webcam, which broadcasts a continuous video stream into an Internet portal. Under the sight of the live camera, a performer engages into a sonic exploration of the area in a set of choreographed actions that are part of an audiovisual composition – including video footage from the avenue and a trio of musicians on a live stage.

Premiere on 6th June 2011, at a network concert between QUB/Belfast and USP/São Paulo.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Soundscape: Iceberg Movements

Iceberg movements create eerie songs. (1:55). This New Scientist video documents the work that researcher have done to record the sounds that icebergs make as they scrape past each other or shift in response to earthquakes. Source: YouTube/ New Scientist

Monday, January 9, 2012

Soundscape Installation: A Bell for Every Minute

A Bell For Every Minute is composed of recorded sounds from 59 bells from all over New York City and beyond. Sounds range from the iconic rings of the New York Stock Exchange bell, the historic Dreamland bell (recorded days after it was discovered in the water off Coney Island), the United Nation's Peace Bell, and more everyday and personal sounds of bike bells, diner bells, and neighborhood church bells. 

During park hours an individual bell will ring each minute from speakers placed throughout the tunnel space where it will be installed, the overtones fading out as the next bell begins. A chorus of the selected bells will play at the top of each hour, filling the space. 

The sounds, represented on a physical sound map, identifies the location of each bell, allowing the listener to follow the geographic journey of the recordings. Collectively, the bells are a microcosm of the urban landscape as they relate to the sounds captured throughout the daily life in New York City. 

The site becomes activated by the composition, inviting the passerby to engage with the High Line and its connection to the city around it. Source: The High Line ,

In these two short  videos sound artist Stephen Vitiello discusses his soundscape installation designed for New York's High Line Park, which opened in June 2010 at the 14th Street Passage, between West 13th Street and West 14th Street. 

Stephen Vitiello: A Bell For Every Minute (2:30)  Note: video is shorter than time marker indicates.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Decumentary: Jon Rose - Aural Map of Australia

Aural Map of Australia (12:58) Australian composer Jon Rose discovers the uniqueness of sound making across his homeland. A chainsaw orchestra, a singing dog, an aboriginal women's choir, a woman who makes music from DOT Matrix printers, and a man who screams into (and chews on) amplified glass are just some of the musical innovators Jon Rose met on both sides of the 40,000 kilometers of fences he turned into musical instruments throughout Australia. Rose then compiled this carnival of souls into a giant chamber orchestra, which performed at the 2005 Melbourne Festival, a sonic map of Australia that emerged from Rose's sonic map of the fences between them.

This is a video clip  from "The Reach Of Resonance," a feature documentary directed by Steve Elkins.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Documentary: John Luther Adams - A Sonic Geography of Alaska

A Sonic Geography of Alaska (4:18) John Luther Adams is an Alaskan composer who is interested in defining an ecology of music. He is greatly influenced by the sonic geography of Alaska and in  this short video explores the forces of nature as music and a work he created  translating the geophysical phenomena of Alaska into music, as explored in the feature documentary "The Reach Of Resonance", directed by Steve Elkins. Source: YouTube

Friday, January 6, 2012

Soundscape Composition: Tangamanga

Tangamanga (15:08) In the Huachichil culture, the word Tangamanga means land of gold and water. In the past it was the name of the city of San Luis potosí, México. But today it is the name of a public park in the same city.

The Tangamanga landscape composition is by Iván Sánchez, with video by Omar Bernal, was realised with sounds recorded at a native community near the municipality of Aquismón, located at the Huasteca Potosina, with the help of the local inhabitants and the support of the institutions FECA and CANTE from Potosí San Luis.

Iván Sanchez, composer and guitarist, has composed for bands like RADIO KAOS, EL MONOLITO, and orchestral settings such as the Choir of the Symphony Orchestra of San Luis Potosí. He currently directs the Laboratorio de Arte Sonoro at CANTE as part of the Center of Arts in San Luis Potos, teaches classes in arts and culture at the ITESM and undertakes productions in his own sound studio.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Interview: Bill Fontana - Spiraling Echoes Installation

Bill Fontana is interviewed (February 2009) as he puts the finishing touches on his sound installation Spiraling Echoes, which essentially used San Francisco City Hall as a musical instrument by shooting ultrasonic beams of bird, underwater and city street sounds off the walls of the building's rotunda. 

Spiraling Echoes (12:24) Interview by Gallery Crawl. There is a related Educators Guide that can either be viewed online or downloaded and printed.  

Spiraling Echoes -The Technology (10:43) On this episode of Culture Wire, Bill Fontana explains the technology behind his audio sculpture "Spiraling Echoes."  Meg Shiffler interviews.

Bill Fontana (born in Cleveland, Ohio, April 25, 1947) is known internationally for his pioneering experiments in sound art.

Source: YouTube

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Project: Lima Sonora Festival

Lima Sonora Festival (3:33) In this video, children discover and learn about the soundscape of Lima in a visit to the Lima Sonora Festival. This exhibit was organized by the Investigación Sonora en Radio (ISONAR)  workshop that included the participation of professors and students at the University De San Martin De Porres. This exhibit is a  part of a larger project designed to bring the soundscapes of Peru to the people of Lima and to other cities around the world. It has, so far, been on exhibit in Argentina and Spain. 

In this Spanish language news segment children are seen listening to "The Quipu Sound" devices which are colorful handmade gourds (with speakers) that serve as listening stations.  Each is hand painted by Peruvian artists.  The word "quipu"  relates to "talking knots" used by the ancient Inca culture. There provide a multi-sensory experience in which you can touch, smell and see the quipu and robe that composes it.

Participants listen to various recorded sounds of the city with the goal of developing an awareness of the city's soundscape environment.  Among the soundmarks identifying parts of city were the sharpening of knives, tamale making, the sound of trains, combis, bakers, ice cream vendors, strolling players, video games, and market places, among others. Source: YouTube

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Project: Egyptian Museum Sound Map

Sound Map (2:30) This excerpt provides an introduction to John Kannenberg's sound map of the Cario Egyptian Museum. During a five-week stay in Egypt in April and May 2010, Kannenberg devoted four days to recording the sounds present inside and outside the Museum, resulting in the eight hours of material from which this composition has been created. As a cultural institution, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo represents one of the foundations of human history; as a soundscape, it represents an unexpectedly rich sonic experience with its own place in the history of a country now in transition. Click2Read more about the project. Source: Vimeo.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Documentary: Stephen Vitiello - Listening With Intent

Listening With Intent  (27:41) This 'boat-movie' written and directed by Klaus Toft follows Stephen Vitiello, internationally celebrated 'sound artist' from the US, as he embarks on a 300km odyssey around the rugged Kimberley coast capturing unique sounds. Vitiello's latest challenge, to capture the sound of Australia, was at the behest of art patron John Kaldor and is to create an 'installation'  exhibited in the old kilns at Sydney Park's brickworks buildings. Source Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Arts Online.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Interview: John M. Hull, Author "Touching The Rock"

John M. Hull (2:24) In 1984, when the last traces of light sensation had disappeared, Professor John Hull began to keep a diary on cassette of his experiences as a newly blinded person. Touching the Rock is a selection of passages from this journal. In his book, Hull discovers the acoustic environment of the soundscape in which he lives and writes about the discovery of attentive listening.

Excerpt: RAIN 9 September 1983 - pp. 22-24
This evening, at about nine o’clock, I was getting ready to leave the house. I opened the front door, and rain was falling. I stood for a few minutes, lost in the beauty of it. Rain has a way of bringing out I the contours of everything; it throws a coloured blanket over previously invisible things; instead of an intermittent and thus fragmented world, the steadily falling rain creates continuity of acoustic experience.

I hear the rain pattering on the roof above me, dripping down the walls to my left and right, splashing from the drainpipe at ground level on my left, while further over to the left there is a lighter patch as the rain falls almost inaudibly upon a large leafy shrub. On the right, it is drumming, with a deeper, steadier sound upon the lawn. I can even make out the contours of the lawn, which rises to the right in a little hill. The sound of the rain is different and shapes out the curvature for me. Still further to the right, I hear the rain sounding upon the fence which divides our property from that next door. In front, the contours of the path and the steps are marked out, right down to the garden gate. Here the rain is striking the concrete, here it is splashing into the shallow pools which have already formed. Here and there is a light cascade as it drips from step to step. The sound on the path is quite different from the sound of the rain drumming into the lawn on the right, and this is different again from the blanketed, heavy, sodden feel of the large bush on the left. Further out, the sounds are less detailed. I can hear the rain falling on the road, and the swish of the cars that pass up and down. I can hear the rushing of the water in the flooded gutter on the edge of the road. The whole scene is much more differentiated than I have been able to describe, because everywhere are little breaks in the patterns, obstructions, projections, where some slight interruption or difference of texture or of echo gives an additional detail or dimension to the scene. Over the whole thing, like light falling upon a landscape is the gentle background patter gathered up into one continuous murmur of rain. Click2Read  more. Video Source: Vimeo.