A Symphony of Speakers, Carried By a Crowd, as Choir “Of Sleeping Birds” [Android+Geolocation]

Orchestras generally sit in place, safely contained in a hall. Speakers are arranged in twos, fours, and sixes in fixed positions. Audiences sit and listen, and players play. In “Of Sleeping Birds,” those boundaries are all erased. In “Of Sleeping Birds,” dubbed “a geo-locative multi-speaker symphony,” mobile speakers held by participants form a chorus of sound. Location is everything: it spreads the music through a city, and, with the aid of GPS satellites, determines the music that the speakers play. That same mobility also gets an audience on their feet, participating in the performance. All of this aside, the work …

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On Record Store Day, Music in Physical Places – In a Forest, Even?

If you’re heading out into the wilderness to find a record store, why not actually head out into the wilderness – the one with trees – and find music there? Today, a you’ve no doubt heard, is Record Store Day. The official site is a useful resource, today and around the year. Today brings a number of special physical releases, favoring vinyl but also including CDs. A mobile app download will help you locate record stores in your city, both in the US and other countries around the world. All of this does raise some deeper issues. Record stores can …

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Music for a Place, as Central Park Becomes a Score, and Location Meets Recording

There was a time when the ability to record and playback music didn’t exist – such things were magical fiction no one had seen. So, the idea of playing one channel of recorded sound, then two channels, had to be invented. Artists hadn’t created something called an “album” until there were devices that played back that monophonic and stereophonic sound; even the idea that such a strange art counted as “music” had to be constructed. It’s obvious now, but it’s easy to forget that these musical forms were produced to cater to the capabilities of what was once a new …

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An Album That Can Be Heard Only in One Location, in Interactive Ode to Washington, D.C.

“You had to be there.” Live performance has always been dictated by being present in a particular place, at a particular time. Now, the same is true of an interactive album produced by brothers Hays and Ryan Holladay, aka Bluebrain. Both a two-man band and a two-man development team, there’s no clear dividing line between “coder” and “musician” for the artists on this project. But the only way to hear the work is to physically go to Washington, D.C.’s National Mall, and begin walking around. The satellites that populate the GPS received in your smartphone, currently on iOS but with …

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Mobile Recording with SoundCloud: More Powerful, Less Buggy, Android + iOS, FourSquare Locations

Photo (CC-BY) John Fischer/stickergiant. Sometimes things look interesting even before you can fully grasp just what they mean. Such is the case, I think, with what’s happening with SoundCloud’s on-the-go tools. Now, back in the beginning of this service, I predicted it’d become the Flickr of audio, and I wasn’t alone. But it’s becoming something else, something that really involves mobility. The SoundCloud crew are out at South by Southwest, as good a gathering as any for the intersection of Web nerd culture with music and film. And they have something to show for it, too: they’re unveiling new Android …

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Locative iPhone for Audience Interaction, with Plastikman’s SYNK App

There’s the music player, the device in your home or your pocket on which you listen to the album. And there’s the concert experience, where you have a couple of longnecks and get sweaty and dance with your friends to live musicians. But wait a minute – now the musicians are using computers and music players to perform. What if that music player became part of the interaction at a live gig? Richie Hawtin is going live with a new show via his Plastikman persona – great news to those of us who love his original work. Part of the …

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GPS Beatmap: Ford LTD + Salt Flats = Locative Driving Control Surface

GPS Beatmap from Jesse Stiles on Vimeo. “Locative art,” the idea that somehow location will feed into music and visuals, has eluded culture. We have the technology, in the form of sophisticated databases of location information and highly accurate, publicly-available GPS satellites. But it’s one of those solutions in search of a problem, and begs the question, why? That is, until you unleash a nearly 6-liter V8 Ford LTD Crown Victoria on the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats, and your driving gets translated to music. Now it makes sense. And sweeping through the salty dust in one of America’s greatest action-car-chase …

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