Monday, April 30, 2007

John Cage on a TV Game Show (1960)

Here's John Cage performing "Water Walk" in January, 1960 on the popular TV show "I've Got A Secret".

At the time, Cage was teaching Experimental Composition at New York City's New School. Eight years beyond 4:33, he was the most controversial figure in the musical world at that time. More...

Download the mpeg video of this clip here (57 megs)


Saturday, April 28, 2007

SF Film festival on KQED radio

As the 50th San Francisco International Film Festival opens, the program discusses film and filmmaking in the Bay Area, from Eadweard Muybridge to the present day.

  • Graham Leggat, executive director of the San Francisco Film Society
  • Rob Nilsson, filmmaker and screenwriter whose new film, "Carved Out of Pavement: The Work of Rob Nilsson" premieres at this year's festival
  • Saul Zaentz, producer and winner of three Academy Awards for "Amadeus" "The English Patient" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
  • Walter Murch, editor, sound designer and winner of three Academy Awards for "Apocalypse Now" and "The English Patient"

[listen to the program]

[via Sound Article List]

Kungliga Filharmoniska Orkestern


Dream Home Theater Takes Cues from Skywalker Ranch

After visiting Lucas's Skywalker Ranch theater seven years ago, home theater installer Johann Peters decided to pick and choose some of its best ideas for his own theater, spending $100,000 to build a 16-seat demo theater with a dozen speakers, 12,740 watts of amplification, a high-end JVC 1080p projector and even a mixing console. More…

[take a tour of the original Stag Theater]

Friday, April 27, 2007

Wayback into Sound

The coming record revolution: digital discs (Nov, 1981)


Do you remember the launch of the compact disc, which was 20 years after the cassette? Digital audio has emerged because of its usefulness in the recording, manipulation, mass-production and distribution of sound. Modern distribution of music across the internet through on-line stores has seriously cut into the sale of CDs. How long before the compact disc becomes obsolete? Your comments are appreciated.

Scrub wheels

This piece is called "Uokahd" or tapelake. The surface of the sculpture is comprised of 64 sq feet of audiocassette tape that is "read" by a walkman tape head mounted to the underside of a radio control rock playback module.

[via Uokahd]

Thursday, April 26, 2007

First Surround Sound - 1934 (Apr, 1934)

Surround: it only took us another 50 years or so before it became commonplace.


Prehistoric Monsters Roar and Hiss for Sound Film

In the era before Jurassic Park:

the hard emblem of putting on the screen the forms and noises of animals that have been extinct thousands of centuries.

[read more via]

Talk: Metaphor in Mathematics & Sound

Composers have always drawn inspiration from mathematical ideas and 21st century composers make extensive use of mathematical tools in their work. More interesting, though, are the similarities in musical and mathematical thinking. Mathematicians and composers make use of many of the same metaphors as tools for nonverbal reasoning, communication, discovery, and creation.

Carla Scaletti

[Slides from Metaphor in Mathematics and Sound]

CCMIX: Summer Intensive in Electronic Music 2007

The Centre de Creation Musicale Iannis Xenakis (CCMIX) announces its 13th annual summer session. The course will take place from Monday, July 2nd - Friday, July 27th, in Romainville (Paris), France. Faculty will include: Trevor Wishart, Agostino de Scipio, Michael Kinney, Sharon Kanach, Pip Chordorov and Gerard Pape. One-on-one Max/MSP tutorials with Stefan Tiedje. Individual studio work is at the heart of this program. As part of the 2007 Summer Intensive CCMIX offers seminars and studio sessions devoted to the issues of 'sound and image' in the work of Xenakis as well as in the broader area of 'visual music'.

Consider a creative experience in Paris this summer. More information is available by email from Randall Neal, Admissions Director.

[via EMF]

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Robot Chicken: Star Wars TESB

Transformed into the stop-motion animated characters, the Star Wars galaxy takes on an entirely different attitude.

[via -]

The power behind LucasFilm magic

The BBC News website takes a look at the computing power and storage which drives the creations of LucasFilm, effects gurus Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) and games division LucasArts.

A small robot cleans the floor of the data centre

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

RSS in Plain English

There are two types of Internet users, those that use RSS and those that don't. This video is for the people who could save time using RSS, but don't know where to start.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Making of Star Wars

The Making of Star Wars by J. W. Rinzler comes out April 24 in both a hardcover ($75) and trade paperback version. The foreword by Peter Jackson chronicles how the future Lord of the Rings director was immediately encouraged by the original Star Wars to pick up a camera and start filming.

[order The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film via]

[exclusive photo gallery > via Wired]

Iannis Xenakis - La Légende d'Eer

La légende d'Eer is a powerful 7-channel electro-acoustic composition which Xenakis created in 1977-78 to be played in "Le Diatope", a curvaceous architectural construction designed by the composer, together with a visual component including laser lights. This "multi-media" work was composed for the opening of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, where it was performed for three months and seen by thousands of people.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

John Cage and Morton Feldman in Conversation (1966-1967)

John Cage / Morton Feldman: Radio Happenings I - V
Recorded at WBAI, New York City, July 1966 - January 1967

John Cage and Morton Feldman recorded four open-ended conversations at the studios of radio station WBAI in New York. These meetings spanned six months between July 1966 and January 1967, and were produced as five "Radio Happenings". Both were at transitional points in their music. Cage had completed Variations V in 1965 and Variations VI and VII in 1966, and would publish "A Year from Monday" in 1967. Most of Feldman's important work was yet to come. These conversations between two old friends, relaxed, smoking, and throwing out ideas, are full of laughter and long ponderous silences. They form an incredible historical record of their concerns and preoccupations with making music, art, society, and politics of the moment.

[Radio Happening I of V]
[Radio Happening II of V]
[Radio Happening III of V]
[Radio Happening IV of V]
[Radio Happening V of V]

Interview with American mezzo-soprano Cathy Berberian (1972)

Listen to Charles Amirkhanian’s interview with the legendary mezzo-soprano Cathy Berberian, which was recorded informally in her home in Milan. With birdsongs, traffic noise, and the arrival of a telegram from Luciano Berio in the background, the singer talks about her theory of the New Vocality, her approach to recitals, her upbringing and musical training, her experience working with Igor Stravinsky, and many other topics Enjoy musical exampes including excerpts from Circles, Visage, and Folksongs by Berio, Aria with Fontana Mix by John Cage, and Baroque arrangements of "Yellow Submarine", “Help”, “Yesterday”, and “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles.


Friday, April 20, 2007

RATATOUILLE: sound fun guaranteed!

"We have enormous latitude in an animated film to create this sonic world from zero. And we have a whole palette of sounds we can use to create a mood. We can make it seem sinister, or light."

by Randy Thom, director of Sound Design @ Skywalker Sound. provided an exclusive behind-the-scenes:

Rough Animation Test: Emile's Magic Trick:

[official trailer]

Scoring Session - "The Incredibles"

Composer: Michael Giacchino

Randy Thom - Skywalker Sound

Randy Thom has been part of Robert Zemeckis' core creative team ever since Forrest Gump (1994). Through his career Thom has worked with such top Hollywood talents as Walter Murch, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg. Thom has received two Academy Awards:

#1 'The Right Stuff' (Best Sound)

['The Right Stuff' original trailer, 1983]

#2 'The Incredibles' (Best Achievement in Sound Editing)

['The Incredibles' original trailer, 2004]

Randy Thom talked about creating sound for 'The Incredibles' in the following interviews:

#1 Mix Magazine

"My approach to the art is almost always to take something from the past and put an interesting twist on it. Young sound designers, I think, often get caught up in the idea of making a sound that's unlike anything anybody has ever heard before. But that's really hopeless. It also isn't very useful, because a sound needs a frame of reference."

Star Wars: The Exhibition Opens in London in May

To kick-off the Star Wars 30th Anniversary festivities in Europe, UAU International and Weird and Wonderful, in collaboration with Lucasfilm Ltd., present Star Wars: The Exhibition. Opening May 5 at the historic County Hall, Westminster, London through Sept. 1. This exciting event is part of the 30th Anniversary festivities being topped off by Star Wars Celebration Europe on July 13-15 at ExCel in London, England.

[more on]

[Star Wars The Exhibition homepage]

Back of the Mike (1938)

A radio drama is played out, first we hear the radio show, with a little boy in progress, then we see what the boy is imagining what visuals are taking place as the boy is listening. We're watching what he's imagining, then it gets really interesting as we see the radio show in progress, where the main focus is how they make radio sound effects.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Darth Vader Balloon


The Birth of 5.1 SOUND

Since joining Dolby Laboratories in 1969, Ioan Allen (Senior Vice President) has been directly involved in the origination and development of all the major audio advancements emanating from the Dolby film program. During his tenure at the company, Mr. Allen has spearheaded the introduction of many of Dolby's breakthrough audio formats-from Dolby Stereo in 1974 to Dolby SR in 1986 and Dolby Digital in 1992—each representing another step forward in the company's successful transition from analog audio pioneer to digital entertainment leader.
[learn more @]

[# The 50 greatest film soundtracks]
[# Dolby Digital Cinema]

Untitled Sound Objects

Pe Lang and Zimoun start their joint project Untitled Sound Objects, based on work with materials brought to sound through vibration. They focus on creating acoustic architecture with an organic feel, investigating properties of sound, materials, resonance properties and generative systems.

Vibrating motors cause glass plates, on which various materials are placed, to oscillate. The vibrations move the materials and the frictions caused by this generate sounds, which are amplified via contact microphones and edited through DSP (Digital Signal Processing). Through a multiple channel speaker system amplified sounds are projected and reassembled into new sound architectures. The software used to control the vibrating motors and the sound editing is programmed with MAX MSP.

[better sounding videos on the official website]

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

2007 Summer Workshops at CNMAT

CNMAT is a music research, composition, teaching, recording and performance facility located in the hills just north of the UC Berkeley campus. They promote, produce and present the creative interaction between music and technology.

Reservations for the '2007 Summer Workshops' are opened:

Max/MSP Day School (for beginners to intermediate users), July 16-20, 11 AM -4 PM.
Sensor Workshop for Performers and Artists, July 23-27, 11 AM -4 PM.
Max/MSP Night School (for intermediate to advanced users), July 23-27, 6-9 PM.
Jitter Night School, July 28-30, 6-9 PM.

[read more]
[CNMAT Upcoming Events]

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Various Artists — “Tribute to Iannis Xenakis”

Iannis Xenakis (1922—2001) is one of the most important composers of the 20th century. His works span every media and numerous approaches, electronic and acoustical, from orchestral to “musique concrete”. Also a mathematician, experimental engineer and architect, he is a true cult figure.
This compilation is a collection of musical dedications to Iannis Xenakis, realized as the exclusive compositions by the respective authors.

Download it or stream this release in your player (in the same bitrate as download).

Monday, April 16, 2007

Gary Rydstrom

The very first time I ever did sound, there was something magical about it. A film comes to life in an interesting way as you add sound to it - it becomes three-dimensional.

[watch the full interview]

Gary Rydstrom, an Oscar-winning, 20-year veteran of sound design, is now officially a story guy.

[#1 Animation World Magazine]
[#2 Oscar-Winning Sound Designer On The Road To Pixar]

Walter Murch Lecture - Part 2 of 2

Walter Murch's credits include Apocalypse Now, The Godfather Trilogy, American Graffiti and THX-1138, through to The English Patient and Cold Mountain.
[google video]

Walter Murch Lecture - Part 1 of 2

Walter Murch in conversation at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2003. The lecture gives an insight behind the scenes to showcase the work of this master of film and sound editing describing not only the techniques used in his craft, but also the creative inspiration behind in the choices he made in the editing room. Murch also notes that film editing is now 100 years old, and recounts achievements from the history of the craft.
[google video]

RAI Studio of Musical Phonology (video)

Marino Zuccheri was the sound engineer of the famous Milan RAI (Italian Broadcasting Company) Electronic Music Studio, and he worked with Berio, Nono, Maderna, Cage, Pousseur among the others, and he gave birth to some of the great masterpieces of early electronica. He was the one who actually knew how to operate the equipment.
[Listen to an excerpt from 'Parete 1967', via die-schachtel]

Friday, April 13, 2007

Max Mathews: 80th birthday celebration

Fifty years ago, in 1957, at Bell Telephone Laboratories, Max Mathews demonstrated that the digital computer can be used as a fantastic new music instrument. He created a revolutionary software platform destined to form the basis of all contemporary digital musical systems (Music 1--Music 5).

[read the article @ ccrma.stanford]

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pixar Outtakes

Luxo Jr. is the first film produced in 1986 by Pixar Animation Studios. It is a computer-animated short film, demonstrating the kind of things the newly-established company was capable of producing. Luxo Jr. later served as the mascot for Pixar Animation Studios, appearing in its production logo. These clips are parody of this famous opening title to all Pixar films.
[via Upcoming Pixar]

Playing Kyma

30 Years Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away...

This is a video showing how fun it is to became a Jedi :-)
Matteo Milani (U.S.O. Project) controls Symbolic Sound Kyma with the bluetooth Nintendo WiiMote (via OSCulator application for Mac OS X, running in background).
To do this you need: a Symbolic Sound Kyma system (version X.44), the Nintendo Wii remote control (without the full console) and OSCulator 2.0 by Camille Troillard.
The Sound is generated from Kyma with Granular Synthesis for the humming, custom samples triggering for the impacts, plus noise filtering and doppler for the whoosh effects.

[This Sound is available to Kyma users here]

Best wishes on the 30th anniversary of Star Wars!

Worldizing: a sound design concept - by Walter Murch

Manipulating sound until it seemed to be something that existed in real space. This refers to playing back existing recordings through a speaker or speakers in real-world acoustic situations, and recording that playback with microphones so that the new recording takes on the acoustic characteristics of the place it was "re-recorded."


Monday, April 09, 2007

The School of Sound

The School of Sound presents a stimulating and provocative series of masterclasses by practitioners, artists and academics on the creative use of sound with image. Directors, sound designers, composers, editors and theorists working at the highest levels of art and media reveal the methods, theories and creative thinking that lie behind the most effective uses of sound and music.

In its previous editions, the School of Sound has attracted delegates from over 25 countries. Speakers for 2007 include:

Michel Chion
Ann Kroeber (on Alan Splet)
Jim Webb

[Find out more]

The Heliocentric Pantheon: An Interview with Walter Murch

"I spent a lot of time trying to discover those key sounds that bring universes along with them. I tend not to visualize but auralize, to think about sound in terms of space. Rather than listen to the sound itself, I listen to the space in which the sound is contained."

[via TheMusicOfSound]

[source: BLDBLOG]

What can you do with the Wiimote?

Here's a link to a short video showing some of the kinds of things you can do with Kyma, the OSCulator, and a Wiimote:


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Recombinant Media Labs


“We're cultivating methodologies for an A/V institute of experiential engineering,” says Recombinant Media Labs founder and conductor Naut Humon. Lofty words to be sure, yet this is an entirely fitting description of the work happening in this San Francisco audio/visual production and research facility.

[Read the article > via mixonline]
[Download the pdf RML file]

Vortex - Hommage a Philippe Manoury

[via aldorodriguezf]

Foley Foibles Part 1 - Love & Tragedy

The story continues in part 2 :-)

One of the most critical, yet underappreciated links of the film sound chain is Foley recording. Foley sound effects are sounds that synchronize on screen, and require the expertise of a foley artist to properly record. Footsteps, the movement of hand props, and the rustling of cloth are common foley units.

More on the Art and Craft of Foley:

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

reactable: basic demo #1

The reactable is a multi-user electro-acoustic music instrument with a tabletop tangible user interface. Several simultaneous performers share complete control over the instrument by moving physical artefacts on the table surface and constructing different audio topologies in a kind of tangible modular synthesizer or graspable flow-controlled programming language.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

The TASA Standard

"The goal of producing a THX trailer is to create something that lets the audience experience the capacity of the sound system without being overwhelming … In fact, from a technical standpoint, 'Deep Note' just feels loud because it has a spectrum of frequencies that grows from small to large."

Gary Rydstrom, Pixar Animation

The TASA (Trailer Audio Standards Association) standard’s intent is to equalize the sound volume of theatrical trailers so that they more closely match the volume of the features that they precede.

[Related article - via]

The point at which all software meets

In 2006, Nintendo introduced a game console called the Wii that comes with a motion-sensitive wireless Bluetooth controller called the Wiimote. CamilleTroillard has added an extension to his Open Sound Control translation software, OSCulator, enabling Macintosh users to receive acceleration information transmitted from the Wiimote, translated to OSC messages, and sent to Kyma where they can be used as live parameter controllers.
OSCulator is able to be used with many hardware devices and software, thanks to the OSC protocol. And using OSCulator, the Lemur can talk directly to the Kyma sound design workstation using higher bandwidth and higher resolution than MIDI controls ... with great ease of use.

[Click here for more information]

Big Movie Sound Effects: Behind the Scenes and Out of the Speakers

2004 - Ten years after the OSCAR (Best Sound/Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing) for JURASSIC PARK, Gary Rydstrom discussed the dramatic purpose and the processes he used to create the unique aural effects, giving a clear and rare demonstration of the craft of motion picture sound.

[via MPSE]