Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Understanding the Art of Sound Organization

The art of sound organization, also known as electroacoustic music, uses sounds not available to traditional music making, including pre-recorded, synthesized, and processed sounds. The body of work of such sound-based music (which includes electroacoustic art music, turntable composition, computer games, and acoustic and digital sound installations) has developed more rapidly than its musicology. Understanding the Art of Sound Organization proposes the first general foundational framework for the study of the art of sound organization, defining terms, discussing relevant forms of music, categorizing works, and setting sound-based music in interdisciplinary contexts.

Leigh Landy's goal in this book is not only to create a theoretical framework but also to make sound-based music more accessible--to give a listener what he terms "something to hold on to," for example, by connecting elements in a work to everyday experience. Landy considers the difficulties of categorizing works and discusses such types of works as sonic art and electroacoustic music, pointing out where they overlap and how they are distinctive. He proposes a "sound-based music paradigm" that transcends such traditional categories as art and pop music. Landy defines patterns that suggest a general framework and places the study of sound-based music in interdisciplinary contexts, from acoustics to semiotics, proposing a holistic research approach that considers the interconnectedness of a given work's history, theory, technological aspects, and social impact.

The author's ElectroAcoustic Resource Site, the architecture of which parallels this book's structure, offers updated bibliographic resource abstracts and related information.


Download Chapter as PDFSample Chapter - Download PDF (43 KB)

Download Chapter as PDF Sample Chapter - Download PDF (76 KB)

Download Chapter as PDF Sample Chapter - Download PDF (72 KB)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth

Film sound technique and aesthetics

Picture editor/re-recording mixer Walter Murch (left) and sound designer/re-recording mixer Pete Horner

[via mixonline]

Loudness Radar Meter plug-ins for ProTools|HD

TC Electronic has announced the LM5 and LM5D Loudness Radar Meter plug-ins for ProTools|HD. The plug-ins derive statistical information from the ITU-R BS.1770 standard to visualize instant loudness and loudness history, thereby helping engineers to realize the dynamic range at disposal during production, and to predict the dynamic range restriction needed during distribution to various platforms. TC tell us that LM5 and LM5D are highly suitable for use in broadcast, post production, film and music alike.

[read more - via]


// Date: 25.1.2008 // Time: 20.30h // Venue: Volksbuehne Theatre // Tickets: 14/18 EUR // CTM-Festival-Tickets and Accreditations are not valid for this concert

The 9th edition of CTM will open with a concert by major contemporary composer, Pierre Henry, whose work has had a crucial influence on the development of electronic music.

This extraordinary concert marks a further milestone in the long lasting cooperation between CTM and Volksbühne. On 25th January 2008 the French composer, now 80 years old, will return to Berlin for the first time in 10 years to present his latest composition, Pulsation (1h 12min), as part of an elaborate electro-acoustic installation. The concert will open with Dracula, an older (1h) piece from 2003. Pierre Henry describes the German premiere of Pulsation as a "retrospective with an eye on the future". The work is both a synopsis of all this indefatigably innovative artist has created to date, and his unique, personal vision of future music.

Born in 1927, Pierre Henry ranks amongst the most influential inspirations for electronic music. He studied at the Conservatoire National de Musique in Paris under Olivier Messiaen, Nadia Boulanger and Felix Passerone. In 1949 he met Pierre Schaeffer, with whom he founded the group, GRM (Groupe de recherches musicales). Using tape-recording techniques that laid the foundations for what we today know as "sampling", they together developed Musique concrète. A highpoint in Henry’s career was the composition La Messe pour le Temps Présent, developed in collaboration with Michel Colombier, from which the Psyché Rock track unexpectedly assured him a worldwide chart success, ultimately known to millions in the 90s as the theme tune of Matt Groening’s TV series, Futurama.

[read more]

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Unidentified Sound Object @ NMW

Networked_Music_Review (NMR) focuses on emerging networked musical explorations made possible by computers, the Internet, and mobile technologies. NMR gathers data about projects, performances, composers, musicians, software and hardware. It includes interviews with artists, articles, papers and reviews. It provides up-to-date information on conferences, workshops, competitions, and festivals.

RSS Feeds are available for: Main page - all the posts, Live Stage, Interviews and Net_Music_Weekly. Subscribe now.

Networked_Music_Weekly (NMW) has selected U.S.O. Project as artist of the week. Many thanks to Jo-Anne Green for the support.

[more here]

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

The audio-visual memory of the Netherlands

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision looks after, and releases, 70 per cent of the Dutch audio-visual heritage. In total, around 700,000 hours of television, radio, music and film, making Sound and Vision one of the largest audio-visual archives in Europe.

More than a collection
Sound and Vision is the business archive of the national broadcasting corporations, a cultural history institute and also a unique media experience for its visitors. Programme makers use the collections for new programmes and the archive is a unique source of information for research, not only for students and academics, but also for journalists. Furthermore, the audio-visual material is a valuable addition to traditional teaching methods, so Sound and Vision also promotes the use of media in the education system.

[more here: Beeld en Geluid]


[photos via Flickr]

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Flow 5.0

Flow 5.0 is an interactive art installation consisting of hundreds of ventilators, each being controlled individually by various sensors.

Microphones and other sensors control the direction and speed of the fans as visitors pass through a corridor. The fans form the walls of the corridor, and they remain off until a visitor moves in front of them.

Daan Roosegaarde, the creator of Flow 5.0, describes it as “…an interactive landscape made out of hundreds of ventilators which reacts on your sound and motion. By walking and interacting the visitors creates an illusive landscape of transparencies and artificial wind.”

Further reading on Studio Roosegaarde’s website.

Also check out the video of the installation.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

'Sound for picture' special

Genre pairs expose secrets of sound
Audio pros compare, contrast their similar films

Details important in sound editing
Even amid 1,000 tracks, small touches can be key

[via Variety]

Listen: Seeing Sound (2003)

Three masters of American sound design joined the Third Coast Festival for a conversation about radio. Academy Award-winning picture and sound editor Walter Murch (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The English Patient), Academy Award-winning sound designer Randy Thom (The Right Stuff, The Thin Blue Line), and Peabody Award-winning radio artist Joe Frank deconstructed excerpts from their work to reveal the techniques, discoveries and secrets within, forging a conversation about the ways sound can be used to create texture, build character and add rhythm, mystery and suspense to radio storytelling. (1:59:26)


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Maurizio Pollini Prospettive

A highlight of the 2007/2008 season, Maurizio Pollini's new project will launch the new year at The Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and enliven most of the month of January: no less than nine evenings with five different programs, featuring music that ranges from Brahms to Maderna, Schönberg to Chopin and Debussy to Nono.

Five years after the Progetto Pollini - the stimulating 2003 concert series that made the rounds of New York, Vienna, Tokyo, Paris and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia - the Pollini Prospettive series has been launched with the intention of setting very different musical genres in relation with one another, suggesting contrasts and oppositions while at the same time revealing unexpected and surprising assonances. Five evenings in January, on both the symphonic and chamber calendars. Two Brahms concerts, with Pollini himself at the piano directed for the first time by Antonio Pappano on the podium with the Accademia Orchestra, will include other greatly contrasting works, each one representative of its own time: Aura by Maderna, a mature masterpiece by the Venetian composer; Notations by Pierre Boulez, an emblematic work by one of the greatest living composers. Equally bold and invigorating is the pairing of piano music by Chopin with two works by Luigi Nono, Sofferte Onde Serene and the rediscovered La Floresta è Jovem e Cheja de Vida, resonant with political connotations (the electronic elements will be performed by Frieburg's Experimentalstudio). Among other friends who have joined in Pollini's project are composer and conductor Peter Eötvos, the Viennese group Klangforum and the Hagen Quartet, all of whom will give life to a fascinating journey backwards in time beginning with Karlheinz Stockhausen and winding up at Quintet Op. 34 by Brahms. Sealing and symbolizing the idea underlying the entire series, Maurizio Pollini's own recital will include music by Debussy, Boulez and Webern.

[The Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia]

Friday, January 04, 2008

GRM Special

Established in 1958, the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary: 50 years of research and musical creations that have enabled it to become a global benchmark in the field of electro-acoustic music.

See the program of the season-pdf]
[Pierre Henry at 80]
[DVD: Pierre Henry's Art of Sounds / Pierre Henry - The Art of Sounds (2007)]

U.S.O. Project via Music Zeit

Hi all, we are glad to announce that our first release 'Unidentified Sound Object' is now available online via the great Music Zeit Download Platform (formats: flac/mp3). You can always find the original surround disc via CDeMUSIC.
Here's the full project description:


1) Quantization A

2) Inflaction

3) Quantization B


4) Time Vector 1 : Elemental

5) Time Vector 2: Mutation

6) Time Vector 3: Modular Lexicon

7) Farewell - for Solo Violin and live electronics (violino solo: Massimo Cohen)

Pierre Schaeffer, pioneer of musique concrete - "The organization is conditioned by the material".

The exploratory journey of U.S.O. Project, even if based on different sections identifiable by their qualities, tends to a homogenization of the materials - from both a structural and formal point of view.
Although different manufacture procedures have been identified as first cause of every aural epiphany, signal processing and operating methodologies vary during the composition, alternating an improvisational approach with one based on more traditional composition.

The "sound matter" we analyze, morphs unceasingly through natural or "techno-mediate" gestures, always prefiguring a modulation path - self-referred but also unpredictable and explicitly "cultured.
In various sections, the transient drawing for example, takes a functional role different from that of basic entity, and becomes a real articulate and vectorial structure.

The studio work is essentially based around the paradigma of creating particles from scratch (transient drawing) or editing small selection of waveform (transformational).
These sound elements feed Kyma Sounds to be played in real-time controlled by human interfaces (tablet, midi controller and keyboard).
We used at least two kinds of generators: custom designed samples, as well as Kyma objects, processed through customized signal flow for an "exotic" result.
Another computationally intensive technique used in our work is called Convolution, an extension of the classic auralization process based on the linear convolution of the "dry" original signal with the impulse response of the system. This method is usually employed for adding to dry music or speech recordings a set of information related to an acoustic space such as reverberation and frequency response.

This pilgrimage from the infinitely small, to the real "sound object", has its accomplished and significant maturity in the "Modular Lexicon" section, where voice and "sound strips" act as actual elements of a rediscovered grammar, in order to cause hyperbolic mutations in both tone and time domains, two spaces finally unified and pacified in the ironic "Farewell for Solo Violin" by Massimo Coen.

Techniques used: Sonographic synthesis (Metasynth), Transient Drawings (Synthetic/Transformational), Particle Cloning, Custom Pulsar Synthesis, Trainlet, Glisson Synthesis, Granulation, Micromontage in d.a.w., Convolution. Spazialization.

The techniques employed have had a fundamentally important role in the signal processing work. They have been selected on the basis of their functionality and effectiveness as to the musical and poetical needs of any specific moment.

The "micromontage" allowed us to create elementary structures which could grow and evolve following precise criteria of composition based on the nature of the material itself (Quantum Dripping to Mutation), whereas additive and sonographic synthesis assured a visual and gestural control on the spectral evolution of various strata, filaments and resonances in the closing section of the work.

The improvisatory aspect of the composition deserves to be addressed separately.
Thanks to the use of a Graphic Tablet, it has been possible to use a gestural expressiveness - well-considered through a selected and attentive use of improvisation - and to take it back to control parameters peculiar for sound transformation, using the physical space and the various dimensions (X and Y axis, pen pressure or tilting on the tablet) as instruments to access groups of parameters, or even complex configurations linearly interpolated using the digital signal processor Kyma of the Symbolic Sound.

In the conclusive part of the work, for instance, the prosody of the text has been controlled using a resynthesis algorithm called TAU, mapping time and pitch on the Graphic Tablet, in order to create "impossible" inflexions with the non-reciting voice - the vocal part has been intentionally recorded without expression.

In this, Kyma is a straightforward improvisation partner, allowing us to create our own sound identity, without any preconception or definition, and without hiding the recombinant world of sound computation.

Composed, recorded & mixed @
Sound Room Studio (Rome) & Graphicalsound Studio (Milan) by Unidentified Sound Object (U.S.O. Project) - aka Matteo Milani | Federico Placidi

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

European premiere: John Cage - Variations VII

One of the highlights of AV Festival 08 (the UK's largest international festival of electronic arts) will be the first ever restaging in Europe at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art on Friday February 29th, of John Cage’s Variations VII, a work rarely heard since it was first performed at 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering, held in October 1966 at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City.

"My project is simple to describe. It is a piece of music, indeterminate in form and detail ..........using as sound sources only those sounds which are in the air at the moment of performance, picked up via the communication bands, telephone lines, microphones together with, instead of musical instruments, a variety of household appliances and frequency generators....... they produce a situation different than anyone could have pre-imagined."
(John Cage on Variations VII, 1966)

This new performance of Variations VII will extend the Cage legacy by combining the equipment used in the 60’s version with what is available now in telecommunications and audio technology.

"Variations VII along with two preceding works, Variations V and VI, are unique in the extensive use of electronics and in particular use of photocells as a trigger device for activating and distributing sound."

"For "Variations VII" John Cage wanted to "use sounds available at the time of the performance". 10 telephone lines were installed in the Armory by New York Telephone Company. He had lines open in various places in New York City including Luchow's, the Aviary, the 14th Street Con Edison electric power station, the ASPCA lost dog kennel, The New York Times press room, and Merce Cunningham's studio. Magnetic pickups on the telephone receivers fed these sound sources into the sound manipulation system. Cage also had 6 contact microphones on the performing platform itself and 12 contact microphones on household appliances such as a blender, a juicer, a toaster, a fan, etc. He also had 20 radio bands, 2 television bands, and 2 Geiger counters. Oscillators and a pulse generator completed the sound sources. Thirty photocells and lights were mounted at ankle level around the performance area, which activated the different sound sources as the performers moved around. Cage invited the audience to move around freely and many stood near the performance area."

Indiana Jones on

First post for 2008: Xenakis - interview

[via Stage6]