Online Grain Silo Music Performance, on the Silophone

Photographer Diana Shearwood took these images in a haunting photoessay documenting the Silophone. (Yes, “haunting” and “grain silo” can go together.) See the “Reservoir” section of the Silophone site. Music itself may be ephemeral, but it’s deeply connected to the spaces in which it’s performed and heard. You’ll notice that space all the more readily if it’s, say, a giant, cavernous grain silo, and you can access the space not only in person but over the Internet. And, really, you can’t call yourself an audiophile if you don’t have a grain silo handy for listening. JollyRogered writes with this gem …

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Buildings as Musical Instruments: Chicago’s Whistling Cabrini-Green in Ruins

The excellent architectural resource BLDGBLOG reports that the ruined husk of the recently-demolished Cabrini-Green in Chicago has been transformed into an eerie wind instrument of sorts. Geoff Manaugh writes about the image we see here: The old tower blocks of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green, transformed by demolition into totem pole-like wind instruments, flute-ruins, a musically-active wasteland whistling to itself behind security fences. Chicago’s Inner Flute-Ruins [BLDGBLOG] You know what this means: who in Chicago has a good field recording setup and time to stop by on a windy day? (As a former resident of the area, I know the city can live …

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Watch Poeme Electronique, Landmark 1958 Animation and Electronic Score

Architecture mixed with electronics mixed with animation — we think nothing of mixing these elements now. In 1958, as Poème Electronique was unleashed on the Brussels World’s Fair, it was still experimental. The animation/installation/composition was the collaborative creation of legendary modernist architect Le Corbusier, his assistant Iannis Xenakis, who would later come to be known as a ground-breaking experimental composer, and composer Edgard Varèse. Varèse is certainly one of us: part of the reason he went into a compositional drought for many years was he was frustrated by the limitations of acoustic sound, and longed for the electronic labs we …

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Reverbs from the Next Room, Metal Tanks, European Cars, Woods, More

AudioEase’s Altiverb remains the king of the convolution reverbs, providing highly realistic recreations of reverberations and other sounds by digitally combining your source with a recorded impulse. Lately, they’ve been going mad for impulse response recordings, the samples that drive the convolutoin process. The original Altiverb was infamous for its creation not only of soaring churches and halls, but the back of a Ford Transit van and a toilet. Ah, you say, but I don’t want a Ford Transit van. I want a Ford Ka — no, wait, make that a Peugot Partner. And I don’t want the sound of …

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David Byrne’s Playing the Building, Saturday in Stockholm: Architectural Music

By architectural music, I don’t mean some sort of funky digital installation. David Byrne’s new installation uses the pipes, metal beams, and girders of the Färgfabriken space in Stockholm as a musical instrument. It is definitely an installation (though the curator tries to say it’s not): there are automatic blowers forcing air through pipes, motors vibrating crossbeams, and solenoids (mechanical devices for, well, hitting things) striking the columns. But David Byrne’s installation is as notable for what’s not there as what is: no amplification involved. All the circuitry is exposed. It’s basically just a building, controlled by an organ. And …

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Sensacell Interactive Surfaces

So, you want to build an LCD-lit video wall and interactively trigger sounds? But, what’s that? You want your surface to be modular, reliable, pre-built? Why, that’s a job for Sensacell, a modular interactive wall system that responds to proximity within 6″ with a sophisticated LCD lighting system. I saw Senacell at a recent night at Compact/Impact here in New York; it’s very solid: lots of redundant circuitry (lesson there to be learned!) and impressive responsiveness. Additional commentary at futurefeeder. The images are cool; there was an installation at the Prada store here. But I’d love to see a music/sound …

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Sequencing with Architecture: Instant City

First colored blocks, now city blocks: Swiss-based collective Rosen & Spademan has constructed a "music building game table" for creating modular compositions with transparent blocks, converting improvised architecture into sound. (thanks, near near future) Their biggest goal, they say: getting people to grab the objects and play. You can explore this and other projects on their site. My favorite digital music term comes from their 'soundlounge' project: coach coaching. Coach-based musicians of the world, unite!

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Recycling Alternatives: Build an Audio Igloo

Wondering what to do with all that useless audio gear? Try building a big igloo out of it in a church, "a new home: a habitat for listeners of avant-garde music." There's everything from old speakers to turntables in there. Neat. But creator Benoît Maubrey's description of the sounds from these retired pieces of gear starts to get creepy, as he describes "a chorus of electroacoustic souls whispering their last prayer. We are allowed to enter this room, our body-resistance brings warmth into this media confessional, the sounds change around us – or is it our imagination?" Okay, officially time …

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