Do Not Adjust Your Radio: Surreal Sound Collage Interventions on BBC Radio 4

Before any explanation, perhaps you should listen. This is what some British listeners will hear as they tune into what they think will just be everyday national radio programming. Suffice to say, something will sound a bit off: Artist Christian Marclay is the person responsible for the work, the first of five such commissions in sound art for the widely-heard UK broadcaster BBC Radio 4. (He joins Ruth Ewan, Mark Wallinger, Susan Hiller, and Peter Strickland. More information on Radio 4’s blog.) This is the sort of commission that invites bold experimentation: working with London-based art platform Artangel, a GBP …

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Light Into Tones, in an Optoelectronic Hurdy-Gurdy With Rotating Wheels [Video, Images]

This isn’t like any Hurdy-Gurdy you’ve seen or heard before. Derek Holzer’s optoelectronic Tonewheels Hurdy-Gurdy is a combination of mechanical, optical, and electronic elements, part sculpture and part instrument. It recalls vintage mechanical and optical instruments, but with a sound that is decidedly modern and strange. In the translation, something wonderful happens: this becomes a serious punk instrument, producing surprising, hard-edged sounds. The wheels turn, and the gizmo rocks. Combining disciplines in this sort of design also means merging different skill sets, so it’s telling that input for the instrument has come from other artists, including friend-of-the-site circuit designer Eric …

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Pinball Pianola: Pinball Game Meets a Piano in a Wild Constructed Instrument

Pinball Pianola from Lucas Abela on Vimeo. The mechanical and kinetic collide – literally – with the sonic, in a devilishly-inventive hybrid instrument that cross-breeds a pinball table with a piano. Australian artist Lucas Abela is joining us next month as part of CTM Festival: The Golden Age. In the meantime, he shares this work. I’ve devised a Frankenstein experiment, combining the greatest musical invention of all time, the Piano; with the coolest amusement machines ever conceived; Pinball, to create an interactive sound installation like no other; ‘Pinball Pianola’, a musical device constructed by replacing the keyboard, hammers and front …

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Low-frequency sine waves make for a record that looks beautiful, too.

WOW: One Album, One Really Low Sine Wave, Most Minimal Record Ever

Digital or analog, it doesn’t matter: any sound you hear is heard in the real world. The playback device, the environment, all impact the sound. For evidence, try playing a record with a single frequency and nothing else. That’s the case with WOW. Perhaps the best recorded equivalent of John Cage’s legendary four-plus minutes of scored silence, the record WOW is in physical form as minimal as could be. It’s contains a single, ultra-low-frequency pitch (hear it on YouTube below, provided you have some speakers or headphones with enough low-end response). WOW is, then, about where it’s played as much …

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Music and Architecture: Corpus Sets Spaces into Resonance, in an Eerie Hum

Imagine an architectural music in which the surfaces, materials, and forms of a space speak directly. In Corpus, resonant frequencies make that happen. The architecture sings. French duo Art of Failure, Nicolas Maigret & Nicolas Montgermont, regularly explore media at the point of failure in their audiovisual work. They use the metaphor of glass, visible only as it accumulates flaws (dust and scratches). For Corpus, they make architectural spaces sonic by finding resonant frequencies. The results are eerie, as forms emit long, plaintive drones. They’ve also done a beautiful job of documenting the results, with videos that are essays on …

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Electronic Body Music: Organ Alpha a Sonic Installation That Makes You Into Sound

In an extended fancy on the sounds inside the body “Organ Alpha” is a kind of responsive musical instrument that transforms human input into surround-sound audio. Your body speaks, it listens, and it answers. Sensors watch for movement inside a virtual stomach, as stethoscopes dangle, inviting input. Watch for the kid’s reaction in the video. The project is the work of Israeli-born, UK-based media artist Avi Ashkenazi and Scottish textile designer Marion Lean, for their MA at Goldsmiths. I think it’s worth posting as part of an ongoing series of works that use biological interaction as the basis for music, …

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Thrift is Knowledge: A Radio from a Tube Map, Navigating Sound and Design with Yuri Suzuki

Designers in Residence 2012: Yuri Suzuki from Design Museum on Vimeo. Amidst an onslaught of disposable, impossible-to-repair electronics and waste, the best weapon to fight back can be know-how. That’s the message in a beautiful short film that paints a portrait of sound artist and designer Yuri Suzuki, a resident of London’s Design Museum. (Via our friends at Engadget DE) In this case, Yuri navigates the maze of an electronics PCB quite literally, mapping out a functioning radio on the schematic of the London Underground. But he also speaks poetically about why understanding the inner function of electronics is so …

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Fun with Turntables: Liberating the Decks By Dancing, Loading Hacks as Records

Here’s a way to change the relationship of dancer and deck: instead of the record “triggering” dancers, the dancers move the record. In “Autistic Turntable,” movement from onlookers gradually moves the platter. The work debuted earlier this year in the Nósomosòn exhibition at Normal at the Universidade da Coruña, España. It’s just one experiment in turntable re-engineering from artist, open source advocate, and electronic composer Servando Barreiro. In BInaer Platten, he modifies the mechanical turntable to instead read binary-encoded records with other audiovisual media. Seen at this year’s Transmediale 12, Servando’s work was some of the most practical to respond …

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thedrummachine

Multi-Player Music Installations and Moldover’s Jamboxes [Video]

The Drum Machine. Warning: may materialize on unfriendly alien planets, or just in UK rock quarries. Musical tradition is, by definition, often “multi-player.” From people playing in bands and strin quartets to families getting together to sing, live performance is often shared. But while you can drop a computer player into an ensemble, the computer interface itself is largely focused around one user. The “personal computer” is just that – one person, one interface. So, why not extend that performance to more than one person? Having championed the term “controllerism,” artist Moldover is now back with a video and site …

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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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