perseids

Welcome the Perseid meteor shower with songs about space

The Perseid meteor shower arrives on the 13th of August – this Thursday. So, let’s celebrate with some music and sound. First, a quick refresher: what is a meteor shower? It’s what happens when the Earth passes through the debris trail left by a comet. (Ah ha! See, just now you were sitting at your desk, and may have forgotten that you’re traveling at hyper-fast speeds on a rock hurtling through the vastness of the cosmos. Oh, yes.) We hit the Perseids every August, but this year is special in that you’ll only have to contend with urban light pollution …

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firefighter

These Students Put Out Fires with The Power of Bass

The next time you’re facing a life-threatening fire in, say, your kitchen, you may simply shout, “where’s the drop?” George Mason University engineering seniors Seth Robertson and Viet Tran have made a fire extinguisher that works entirely using sound. If you haven’t seen it making the social media rounds yet, of course, it’s worth posting here. Not only is it absurdly cool to watch, but it’s the latest reminder that music, sound engineering, and science can go hand in hand. That is, music is made of sound, and the study of sound overlaps with engineering and physics. In fact, this …

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Displacing sound is one of the illusions that figures into their work. Here, a field recording from another environment will later find its way into the Kraftwerk interior.

Exploring Sound in the Vertical, as Three Brothers Make New Sonic Architectures

Korinsky – Atelier für vertikale Flächen /// documentary from Korinsky on Vimeo. We imagine we see where we are. We even describe our eyes as being open as awareness. But perhaps that’s because we are so deeply connected to sound as to take that connection for granted. Perceptive research has revealed in profound relief that we hear where we are, too. And artists are beginning to take that knowledge and fuse it with art making. To quote The Outer Limits, “We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a …

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facetech

Could You Someday Wear Speakers? Wearable Tech and Expression

Wearable tech so far has often tended to dresses that light up or wristwatches that act as remote controls for your smartphone. But what if wearable tech actually produced sound – and it wasn’t a pair of headphones? That’s the question posed by SubPac. It’s a sort of backpack subwoofer aimed both at improving tactile bass response for consumers and allowing proper bass monitoring for DJs and producers – you know, when they can’t just try their latest mix on a big club PA. We’ve covered wearable tech on CDM before – we’ve even hosted workshops and labs on the …

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worldsoundmix

A Small World, After All: Freesound.org Sounds on Earth, and an Ambient Musical Laboratory

Through the eyes of satellites, roving Google trucks, aerial imagery, and more, we have plenty of eyes on our planet. But what does it sound like here on Earth? In a Web application and accompanying art installation, the world turns as it echoes sounds recorded around the world on Creative Commons-licensed site Freesound.org. It’s stunning to hear our world’s acoustic diversity – in some strange way, even more than seeing it, in that sounds can instantly give you a sense of place and time. You can load a version on your browser or on the iPad; then, from the world’s …

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Designing the Sound of a Real Car: An Audi, from Silence to Noise [Video]

Hear the idea of creating a car sound, and you might imagine a sound designer working on a video game or film. Imagining that person producing a sound for an actual car could sound like a joke. But as today’s vehicles go silent – whisper-quiet electric cars to human-powered bicycles – the problem of imagining noises for them to make becomes deadly serious. Our brains are wired to respond quickly to sound, so when cars suddenly don’t make any noise, alerting us to their presence is a serious issue. Audi’s engineers are working on that problem in the video here …

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digitalwaveform

Last Chance to Help Moog Foundation Teach Art of Sound Science in Schools; Why it Matters

Science and art, physics and music, come together and come alive in one place. You know where. Photo (CC-BY) Mikael Altemark. We’re here today not just because people like synths, or electronic music, or even music itself, but because the advancement of technology depends on kids learning about science and math. That was certainly the history of Bob Moog himself. What he got as a student opened up the doors to the knowledge and interests that gave the world Moog synthesizers. Dr. Moog himself long credited his education – as a youngster at Bronx High School of Science in New …

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selbyfilm

For a Deaf Artist, The Process of Sound Art, Transformed: Short Film

Revealing a deeper understanding of what sound means in our world, how it works as “currency” and “ghost,” Performance Artist Christine Sun Kim explores sonic media without the benefit of hearing. She finds how to make its presence more physical, to find greater dimensions of movement, and to make a personal connection beyond what most of us might find in the everyday sense. As she describes it to NOWNESS: There are social norms surrounding sound that form our speech development and our way of handling sound with care. They’re so deeply ingrained that, in a sense, our identities cannot be …

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paperrecordplayer

A Record Player Made from Paper, as the FlexiDisc Lives; Thanks Be to Pythagoras

It’s not in any way digital – we’re in paper and needle territory – but clever design transforms packaging and notecard into playable music device. Create Transducer Music, anyone? Designer Kelli Anderson concocted a novel approach to the wedding invitation for her friends Karen and Mike: turn the paper invite into a playable sound device. The couple even made and recorded their own song for the occasion. (The story of the individuals is worth mentioning – Karen advocates for the rights of makers and coders and Mike is a Grammy-nominated engineer.) The device itself plays music without electricity or circuits. …

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foursquareglobe

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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