Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sound Effects from 'The Birds'

Built by Friedrich Trautwein in 1928 at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, Germany, the Trautonium was designed as a performance instrument. A performer pressed a finger down at a certain position on a wire to produce a tone at a particular pitch. Loudness was controlled by pressing a bar. Timbre was controlled via switches that filtered an initially complex waveform.

Oskar Sala expanded the Trautonium to create the Mixturtrautonium and used it to compose sound effects for films, among them Hitchcock's The Birds.

[Read more & listen - via Orpheus Music]

Friday, October 26, 2007

A geriatric assault on Italy's bloggers

Italy's leaders barely understand word processors, let alone the web. Now they've turned against the country's bloggers.

[From Times Online, October 24, 2007]

Boing Boing, the third blog in the world, has written about the Levi-Prodi law. The Government has created a world image of itself as incompetent.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ear to the Earth

U.S.O. - Unidentified Sound Object (aka Matteo Milani and Federico Placidi) joined Ear to the Earth Network, an extension of EMF's festival of environmental sound that took place in New York City. Composers, sound artists, and scientists came from England, New Zealand, France, Italy, Canada, Austria, Germany, and throughout the United States to present their music and sound art in concerts and installations and to participate in panels at various venues in downtown Manhattan.

What we learned from the festival is that listening to environmental sounds brings the world closer to us. Listening is close and personal. Listening creates feelings of connection and involvement. The more focused our listening, and the greater our feelings of connection and involvement with the environment, the deeper and more immediate will be our understandings of the world.

We can listen to what the world is telling us. Through listening, we can become involved. We can exchange thoughts, ideas, and sounds. Once involved, we can learn. And in learning, we can better understand what is happening to us.

[Read more - About Ear to the Earth]
[Electronic Music Foundation]

Friday, October 19, 2007

Equipment - Selling

Fostex FR-2 Field Memory Recorder

Perfect condition, $ 900, negotiable. Italy. PayPal accepted.


Eowave Eobody 1

Eobody 1: sensors to midi converter. New. Original package.
Programming software included. $ 150.
Plus (free): intruder detection cell block and two-direction velocity sensor.

Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination

Could the technologies from a galaxy far, far away be closer than you think? Find out at Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination – running now in Chicago through Jan. 6. 2008 at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Explore the fantasy technologies depicted in the Star Wars saga and the real science behind them. Along the way, view more than 80 props, models and costumes from the films!

[exhibit overview]

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Music of Luc Ferrari

Slought Foundation and Soundfield NFP are pleased to announce an evening of new and experimental music featuring French violist Vincent Royer and Philadelphia-based Ensemble Noamnesia performing music by Luc Ferrari on Thursday, October 18th, 2007 from 8:00-9:30pm.

This concert is part of the 2007-2008 Soundfield @ Slought series.

Luc Ferrari (1929–2005) was a French composer, particularly noted for his electronic music. Ferrari was born in Paris and studied the piano under Alfred Cortot, musical analysis under Olivier Messiaen and composition under Arthur Honegger. His first works were freely atonal. In 1958 he co-founded the Groupe de Recherches Musicales with Pierre Schaeffer and François-Bernard Mâche. He taught in institutions around the world, and worked for film, theatre and radio. By the early 1960, Ferrari had begun work on his 'Hétérozygote,' a piece for magnetic tape which uses ambient environmental sounds to suggest a dramatic narrative. The use of ambient recordings was to become a distinctive part of Ferrari's musical language. Ferrari's 'Presque rien No. 1 (Le Lever du jour au bord de la mer)' [1970] is regarded as a classic of its kind. In it, Ferrari takes a day-long recording of environmental sounds at a Yugoslavian beach and, through editing, makes a piece that lasts just twenty-one minutes. It has been seen as an affirmation of John Cage's idea that music is always going on all around us, and if only we were to stop to listen to it, we would realise this. Ferrari continued to write purely instrumental music as well as his electronic pieces. He also made a number of documentary films on contemporary musicians in rehearsal, including Olivier Messiaen and Cecil Taylor.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Pixar Story - A documentary by Leslie Iwerks

EMERYVILLE, Calif. , October 11, 2007—Starting in the mid 1980s, an exceptional and inspiring trio of innovators, John Lasseter, Ed Catmull and Steve Jobs, combined their gifts in art, science and business to launch a whole new approach to making 3-D animated films and ended up reshaping the face of filmmaking forever. In the new documentary film The Pixar Story, Oscar® nominated filmmaker Leslie Iwerks takes viewers on a dramatic journey filled with personal sacrifice and fueled by passionate belief in the possibilities of a new medium illustrating how Pixar Animation Studios was born. On October 23, 2007, The Pixar Story begins a national theatrical rollout that will include screenings in 14 major markets across the United States.

The first in-depth look at the most influential animation studio of its time, The Pixar Story goes behind the scenes of the groundbreaking company that pioneered a new generation of animated feature films. Iwerks uses never-before-seen footage from the Pixar library, along with historic archival animation and first hand accounts by animators, studio executives, directors, producers and voice performers to chronicle the remarkable company that revolutionized an industry. The Pixar Story includes exclusive interviews with some of the key players in the Pixar story including John Lasseter, Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs, George Lucas, Michael Eisner, Bob Iger, Tom Hanks, Billy Crystal, Tim Allen, Brad Bird and more.

[John Lasseter jumps for joy as he introduces Leslie Iwerks' new documentary "The Pixar Story"]


Friday, October 12, 2007

Beyond 5.1

Tomlinson Holman is best known as the guy who gave us the THX audio standard used in commercial cinemas and home theaters. THX was developed when Holman worked with Star Wars director George Lucas at Lucasfilm and was created to reproduce sound as the film director intended it to be heard. Holman hasn’t stopped looking for better ways to reproduce audio, though. He now runs THMLabs, which sells professional audio equipment. In addition, he is a professor of film sound at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, the chief scientist with auto equalization company Audyssey, and in his spare time promotes a 10.2 surround-sound system—which, yes, is supposed to be twice as good as 5.1.

[read the full article - via]

Kyma Sound Design Software Version X.47 Released

Extensive Support for Multichannel Sound Synthesis and Processing

CHAMPAIGN, IL— October 10, 2007 —With the release of Kyma X.47, Symbolic Sound enhances the already extensive support for multichannel sound synthesis and processing in its award-winning Kyma™ sound design environment. Using a compact graphical representation, sound designers can quickly and easily create multichannel music and special effects with independent processing on each channel.

Kyma X.47 features a host of new multichannel processing and synthesis modules including Surroundifier, SplitSurround, MultichannelPan, PseudoStereo, MidSideEncoderDecoder, MonoToMultichannel, MultichannelMixer, and others that can be recorded to disk in split-surround format, combined with the hundreds of existing Kyma synthesis and processing modules, or dropped into the Kyma Timeline to create multichannel mixes and sequences. Also included in this release are over 150 new multichannel patches for the Kyma Sound Library.

[click the photo to enlarge]

Symbolic Sound's Kyma sound design software is known for its virtually limitless sound combination and transformation capabilities and is favored by sound designers for film, music, game development, and advertising.

Pricing & availability

Kyma X™.47, the latest update to the world’s most advanced sound design environment is now available free to registered Kyma X owners. Kyma X.47 runs under Macintosh OS X (on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs), Windows XP, and Windows 98/ME/2000 and Macintosh OS 9.2.


In 1990, Symbolic Sound revolutionized the sound design and music software industry with the introduction of Kyma™, a graphical modular software sound design environment accelerated by the software-reconfigurable Capybara™ multi-processor sound computation engine. Symbolic Sound is committed to bringing the most advanced and flexible sound design technology to sound designers, musicians, educators, researchers, and creative professionals through its innovative hardware and software offerings.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


In 1980, while at USC film school, I tried to be Ben Burtt. I was creating sounds for a student film about a TV game show and didn't want to use a synthesizer because I heard how for Star Wars Ben Burtt made those cool sound effects from real sounds. And I wanted to be cool. But I couldn't for the life of me figure out how he did it, and in the end resorted to a synthesizer. Soon after, my sound career began when Lucasfilm called USC asking for “another Ben Burtt.” Luckily, they didn't know how badly I had already failed at that. Years later, for Star Wars: Episode I, I was amazed when Ben made a video screen sound effect in the style of Flash Gordon by recording my wife playing her flute. Ben combines an aficionado's knowledge of film history with a knack for twisting real sounds into fantastic ones. After 25 years of working with him, I've learned that there never will be another Ben Burtt.

— Gary Rydstrom, Oscar-winning sound designer, Pixar director

[via 30 People Who Shaped Sound, Mixonline]

Monday, October 01, 2007

John Cage - A Dip in the Lake

EMF presents the New York premiere of John Cage's A Dip in the Lake. Performed only once before, A Dip in the Lake is the exploration of a city by means of a 'random' soundmap that leads performers, listeners, or participants to places they may never have been before. The score identifies up of 427 locations within a city. The 'locations' are either very specific (such as the intersection of two streets), or more general (such as 'a park' or 'Lake Ontario'). Recordings are made at each of these locations, and divided into 10 groups of 2 (quicksteps), 61 groups of 3 (waltzes) and 56 groups of 4 (marches). These groups of recordings are then mixed live by the performers.
Originally scored for the city of Chicago, this performance, created by George Boski, Bill Blakeney, and Gayle Young, will use sounds recorded throughout Toronto, Canada. The three performers will each control four channels of sound, distributed throughout the Judson Church Meeting Room. The audience is then invited to walk around the space to hear the piece from different sonic perspectives.

Friday, October 12, 8:30pm

Judson Church
55 Washington Square South
New York City