Archive for the ‘sound’ Category

Sounds, random news

April 28, 2012

I’ve been hearing a lot of nice frog sounds lately– local ponds, even one little water “feature” in the neighbor’s yard. It’s definitely that time of year, where the froggies remind me of their general awesomeness. Also, it’s owl bonkers city outdoors. Perhaps our own population has increased, as I’m hearing more and more of their nightly noises. My soda can is also fairly interesting. Lots of random popping of bubbles, like a poor man’s micro-event sound generator. I’ll probably be sticking a mic up to a Coca-Cola can soon enough!

Tomorrow, I’m covering “Style City” for my daughter, essentially providing my own lead-in to “Music For Swimmers” at 5pm CST. I will most likely be featuring experimental music throughout, from 3:30pm until 6, so be sure to tune in. It’s the last day of pledge drive– though your listenership is enough for me, I do welcome your pledges and donations which help WDBX-FM maintain community radio in Southern Illinois.

Feel free to call me any time from 3:30-6pm CST at 618-457-3691 or give online at

Thanks! –DaveX


Too long for Litnoise, sounds from “The Job”

April 4, 2011

I’ve been reading “The Job,” by Sinclair Lewis. It’s been a source of great sound-related quotes that I’ve been mining for my Litnoise project at Twitter. Here’s a quote from a particularly nice section, where the protagonist first manages to catch her breath upon arriving in New York City:

“Una gave herself up to impressions of the city: the voices of many children down on Amsterdam Avenue, the shriek of a flat-wheeled surface car, the sturdy pound of trucks, horns of automobiles; the separate sounds scarcely distinguishable in a whirr which seemed visible as a thick, gray-yellow dust cloud.”

Of course, I have lots more at Litnoise on Twitter. I’d love it if you’d follow me– give it a shot!


December 30, 2010

I’ve started a Twitter account, @Litnoise, to share sound/noise/listening-related excerpts of whatever I happen to be reading. I’ll also be dropping in excerpts from books I’ve previously read– this is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now!

I’ve been particularly impressed as I re-read George Orwell’s works, as well as those of Sinclair Lewis. I’m starting “Free Air” in the next couple days; I’m looking forward to seeing if it continues Lewis’ streak. At any rate, this is a really fun project, so check it out… or read along with me, and share your finds in the comments section!


October 21, 2010

I’ve got a lot of cool stuff coming up this weekend, so here’s your guide:

1) New broadcasts of “It’s Too Damn Early” and “Sounds Like Radio.” In case you’ve been living under a rock, “It’s Too Damn Early” airs Saturday mornings on WDBX-FM from 4-6:30 a.m. “Sounds Like Radio airs twice a week Sundays on WSIU-FM, from 3-5 a.m., and from 10 p.m. to midnight. Both episodes are going to be amazing.

2) I’m hosting a soundwalk of the SIUC campus. If you’re interested, meet outside the Student Center on the North end at 10:30 a.m. this Saturday. The soundwalk is free, and takes about an hour.

3) I’m performing in Nashville, as part of the Circuit Benders’ Ball. I’ll be employing “Lawrence Welk’s Secret Shame” for this show, which I have recently re-modified to include even more champagne secrets. The Circuit Benders’ Ball will feature performances by Tim Kaiser, Thriftstore Boratorium, CMKT4, Ben Marcantel, and others. There are also instrument-building workshops, visual art, and video projections. This is an all-ages event with tickets starting at $15 for general admittance, $30 including both workshops. For other ticketing information and a complete list of performers and workshops, visit Theatre Intangible.

4) I’ve got a new release out! “Free Air” is a CDR documentation featuring sound installations I originally created for multi-speaker through-home environments. Each copy comes with a sealed unicorn woodblock print, and is part of a limited and numbered edition of 10. These will be available first at the Circuit Benders’ Ball.

Some thoughts about hosting my first soundwalk

July 19, 2010

First off, let me say that I think the soundwalk went quite well, despite a couple challenges. The main obstacle was arriving to find a good portion of campus actually closed down. Apparently, the Illinois budget problems are reflecting themselves here in Carbondale– I had never seen the Student Center locked up before, nor the library, so I had to make some last-minute changes to the soundwalk itinerary. I had anticipated some reduced student population, but it had not occurred to me that the buildings themselves would be closed.

We also had some hot, humid weather. Fortunately, the soundwalk participants took it like pros, even when it later turned into a full-fledged rain shower. I was particularly impressed by the local reporter who trooped along with us– many would have gotten their quotes in the first ten minutes, invented an “important meeting” and boogied on back to the AC– kudos, Tom Barker!

So here’s the nuts and bolts of things. I’d like to share some thoughts because I’ve seen so many different ideas lately, especially on the “Phonography” e-mail list.

I started planning the soundwalk by considering a few basics first: duration of the soundwalk, ease of physically accomplishing the walk itself, and accommodating certain sounds that I considered essential. The original route actually came to me quite easily, in a rather organic fashion. I started at a location that I believe is a “resting/meeting” spot on campus, one from which it is simple to move to a variety of different places. I took some time here, just listening, figuring out what sounds were of interest. Then I’d take a bit of time in a space nearer to those, sometimes moving in an unexpected direction, but mostly attempting to obey ordinary human movements. In other words, if foot traffic pointed in a certain direction, I’d generally head that was as well.

As I moved from place to place, I kept a small notepad open, allowing me to keep a list of sounds I heard in different areas. I made no real attempt to cause sounds to occur; everytime I see this sort of action in a soundwalk, it strikes me as somehow false. I don’t want to say it’s completely wrong, but it seemed a poor choice for my purposes. Later on, I’d amend this feeling a little. In addition to the list of sounds, I also kept a list of ideas, just little phrases or concepts that would pop in my head as I considered the sounds themselves. A bell reminded me to discuss issues of power and noise, a creaky escalator prompted me to think about the use of our sense of hearing as one of our earliest warning signals to danger.

Eventually, I typed these lists up, organizing them sequentially by their location on the “trail,” with separate headings for “sounds” and “ideas”. I was very glad I did this, as it helped me re-plan the soundwalk path upon discovering the various buildings were locked up on the morning of the soundwalk.

I won’t go into the specifics of what we heard or where we went, but I do want to share a couple of my practices with you. First, I took some time before arriving in each location to engage in a small thought exercise. I asked the participants to think about what sounds they expected to hear, and also to make a mental list of adjectives they would use to describe the sound of that area as well. When we moved to the areas, I’d again ask them to reflect on these thoughts, comparing their experience to expectation.

Additionally, I would occasionally ask the participants to take a “mental snapshot” of the sound of an area, for later comparison to another. I also mentioned that they could use these “snapshots” to compare the same places during future visits in other seasons, etc. I cheated a little bit, though, check the photos: that’s Mo running the Marantz, doing her best to capture the soundwalk!

My typed list came in handy during the walk. I never expected that I would refer to it constantly, but it did serve me well for gathering up some of the ideas I wanted to discuss so I could sort of “check them off” along the way. Because I often had to find a new example to replace a sound locked up in a building, the list helped keep me focused.

I think flexibility is a must on a soundwalk as well. The newspaper article mentions that the low campus activity level was “inconvenient,” but in actuality, it was just different. As I explained, there are different sounds to be expected at different times– so the super-quiet campus because a great way to highlight the transient quality of many sounds we consider more permanent. It also made the true soundmarks stand out all the more. At one point in time, I nominated a sidewalk lamp with a large metal dome covering as a miniature soundmark. My thought was that it stands quite constantly, and will always make a small sound to note the falling of a nut or raindrop on it’s metal top. Unlike the campus clocktower, which has functioned intermittently for the past 20 years, this lamp had remained. With little or no reason to replace it, this small soundmark might be one of the most enduring on campus!

Happily, the soundwalk participants seemed to really enjoy the process. A few new sounds and sound-related phenomenon were noted, so there was an element of shared discovery to the event. As a rain shower started to blow in, we found ourselves passing through the campus woods, on the walking path through this sizeable forest. We had taken some time to listen to the sound of the wind, birds, and insects, but we had yet to hear the rain itself. Underneath the leaves and a darkening sky, we took a vote on whether to stay for the rainfall or head for the parking lot– I didn’t want to be responsible for any camera damage, or wet clothes! We ended up staying, listening to the gentle patter of raindrops on the leaves, and the occasional bird call. All in all, a pretty nice way to finish off a soundwalk!

Soundwalk makes the news!

July 19, 2010

Reporter Tom Barker joined us for the soundwalk yesterday, and posted a nice review and description in The Southern. Click to open the article in a new window— when you’re done reading it, go check out my own writeup as well!

I got a new shirt!

July 17, 2010

You can come see it tomorrow morning at 10:30, when I’ll be hosting a soundwalk tour of the SIUC campus. Meet me outside the Student Center on the north end of the building. Bring a friend– you don’t want to miss seeing this awesome new shirt of mine!

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 1/16/10

January 16, 2010

Today’s guests– Chicago sound artist Eric Leonardson will be joining us over the phone, and local drummer Matt Sickest (say it slowly, folks) is here in the Hi-Life Room.

Frank Rothkamm — Ich (from Monochrome Vision release “Moers Works 1982-1984”)
Frank Rothkamm — Relikt
Eric Leonardson, Steve Barsotti — The Six-Leggers
Matt Sickest — LIVE at WDBX-FM, 1/16/10
Interview with Eric Leonardson, 1/16/10
Eric Leonardson — Revolving door, CTA bus, walk to CTA Blue Line (from AudioBoo)
Eric Leonardson — Locus Sonus; Chicago, Westside (excerpt)
KRN — Locus Sonus; Zone B, Amitie, Dakar (excerpt)
Auris — Kr-Tkec-Pte
Eric Leonardson, Steve Barsotti — Near and Distant Relations
Eric Leonardson, Steve Barsotti — Four-Anna Bit
Anna Friz, Eric Leonardson — Waltz of the Parking Meters
Anna Friz, Eric Leonardson — Switch Yard
Eric Leonardson — White As White
Eric Leonardson — Pittsburgh Electric
Eric Leonardson — Eko
Eric Leonardson — Handwriting
Eric Leonardson, Steve Barsotti –Round Airy Light on Dark
Eric Leonardson, Steve Barsotti — Middle Neck and Scrag End

Reactive Music, revolutionary sound

October 13, 2009

HarS wrote (with greatly catching enthusiasm) about ubiquitous mobile devices, and their involvement in a future “turning point” for music consumption and production.

“For pretty much anyone currently alive on this planet the concept of music cannot but be indissolubly linked with the possibility of the unlimited identical repetition of a relatively limited number of sound recordings. We call them songs, or tracks, numbers, pieces, compositions. These you may hear again, and again, and again. The listening to (which significantly differs from the – soundless – ‘remembering of’) music at any time other than that contemporary to its creation (when you’re at a concert, or playing the piano) roughly has been a common practice only since technologies of recording became available for the public. This consumption of music recordings is a consumption of music as an immutable form; of music as rigidly filled out stretches of time; of intervals that permit the identical displacement of themselves, both in space and in time: you may listen again, at the place and time of your choice.”<!– I have no idea whether somehow someone in some context ever researched along similar lines, but it seems obvious that this continuous exposure of human beings to a limited number of sound recordings (which, adding but a little bit of abstraction, I think of as 'temporal emotive identities') has a big influence on who and what we (think) are. It is therefore that surely, in a time and age with no sound recording and playback technologies available, music must have been a thing very different from what we know it to be. –>

I think you might see where he’s going with this.

“The recent possibility of delivering ‘music’ to popular and widely used consumer devices not as immutable, unchanging recordings, but in the form of more or less open-ended, dynamic processes, the sounding result of which will always be different, is the potential new turning point in the way in which we consume (and produce) music that I hinted at.”

He’s brought the discussion to both the “soundasart” and “oddmusic” Yahoo groups, where the reaction has been everything from outright dismissive to full agreement. My links direct to the opening message of each thread.

Here’s my take on the matter:

“I gotta say, Harold– this is probably more one of those instances where the potential revolutionary aspects of a device are presenting themselves to excitable folks like you, me, and a handful of others; but is just another case of “won’t catch on because the listening public has zero imagination”. Hell, I’d love to see someone use a combination of wireless and GPS capabilities in a handheld device to create textural works where large crowds hear portions of a single work, which shift as they move amongst one another.

You could create music that reacts not only to your own data (accelerometer, location, etc) but that of others, taking into account what they’re listening to, and creating on-the-fly amoebic conglomerates of sound. Train stations could develop into a pulsing meta-noise building in climax as hundreds of listeners board a packed subway car, sharing a sound event, and hearing their eventual release scatter as the train delivers them to their individual destinations, each taking a grain of this social sound with them into their day to be developed further. Cities might develop “signature” sounds, with “aural hallmarks” eventually making its way into the lexicon of every travel guide.

We might someday debate the relative qualities of a strain of New York sound as we similarly discuss a San Francisco sourdough, or a true Chicago pizza. Even more interestingly, rural locations might develop radically different local sounds– the work of years of a listening hermit’s solitary activities resulting in a previously-unheard evolution toward an unimagined sound destination!”

What are your thoughts on this?

New torrents for YOU

October 8, 2009

(Quick note: the torrent files referenced in this post are being replaced with new links. Sorry for any confusion. –DaveX)

There’s five– collect ’em all.

9/5/09 — “It’s Too Damn Early” salutes BKPR, and jams to Peter Gordon’s “Life is Boring”.

9/12/09 — Harold Schellinx phones in a sound tour of his home, and Trash Ant provides the most art-damaged cassette tape EVER.

9/19/09 — Improv saxophonist Randall Hall classes up the Hi-Life Room with THREE live sets, and a hands-on demonstration of extended technique. What does bubble wrap in the bell of a sax sound like? We do the things Mythbusters won’t try. Play along at home, and clap when you hear us say “John Cage.”

9/26/09 — Live phone-in set/interview from Swamp of Pus label owner Novasak, plus an interview with George Korein. Also, lots of previously-unreleased Korein recordings, and an extended selection of Glenn Weyant awesomeness.

10/3/09 — DaveX enjoys a bit of the Nashville SoundCrawl early, and interviews the organizers. Later on, Kim Cascone teaches kids a lesson about time zones, but still gets his interview in under the gun. Will DaveX be convinced to move to Linux? Find out in this exciting episode!

WDBX Membership Drive / Custom freebie giveaway

September 1, 2009

I kicked off the WDBX-FM Membership Drive this week, and (as is often the case) nobody called me with a pledge! I don’t want this to be one of the years that experimental music gets shut out at drive time, so I’m asking all of you to dig around your piggy banks and find something green for the station, preferably with a president on it.

WDBX has their own set of promo goodies for folks who make good on their pledges, but I’m prepared to offer something of my own to sweeten the pot. This year, I’m giving away unique sound collages, custom-made for anyone who pledges my show. The sound collages will be delivered to you via a unique download, that– once accessed– will be deleted from the net. If you want to have the only copy, fine. If you want to upload it to your blog, whatever. It’s yours!

Every $10 pledge coming in for “It’s Too Damn Early” gets a 1-minute custom sound collage, with every additional $10 garnering an added minute to the total length of your unique creation.

Call in during this week’s broadcast, (618) 457-3691, or contact me via my e-mail for pledging details.

My life as a Humannequin

August 12, 2009

As part of London College of Communication’s “This Is Why We Meet” series of installations; Catarina Chaby, Daniel Camacho, Eleonora D’Acci and Yana Naidenov have created a set of interactive “humannequins” currently living outside an office in London.

Callers to the installation’s Skype address inhabit a humannequin, which allows them to see and hear passers-by with full audio and video feeds in real time. For my part, I chatted with Eleonora (unfortunately butchering her name a couple times before settling on Elly, sorry!) and playing some music as well– The Very Best’s “Warm Heart of Africa,” which is quite high in my personal playlist at the moment. I suggested that we should get a conference call going between the Humannequins and the Telemegaphone Dale, an installation located on top of the Jøtulshaugen mountain overlooking the idyllic Dalsfjord in Western Norway which broadcasts callers from a seven-meter tall loudspeaker array to the village below. It’s not often that a Humannequin can shout from a mountain, is it?

We also discussed the curious ability of so many Londoners to be able to walk right past, without any notice, the unlikely sight of people having a conversation (or a dance, as it were) with a mannequin. I’m guessing this is a big-city phenomenon. Still, I spotted my first English hoodie in the wild; and met “Emma,” my temporary Humannequin spouse. I offered her my umbrella, but she appeared comfortable with her blanket despite the rain, making no effort whatsoever to meet my gaze. We did, however, have a bit of conversation amongst ourselves– possibly our first since meeting, haha.

Calls to the Humannequins are taken between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., until Sunday, August 16th. Skype to: getalife.thisiswhywemeet to become a Humannequin yourself!


Bent Rhythmer

June 26, 2009

I was fortunate to pick up a Kay R-12 “Rhythmer” at a yard sale last week. It’s not every day that I have the opportunity to pick up a vintage drum machine for a buck! Upon trying it out at home, I discovered that it functioned, albeit with an additional high-pitched whining sound occurring throughout the chosen rhythm. This had to go, but I wasn’t at all sure what was causing it.

The next day, I cracked open the Rhythmer, figuring that I might get lucky and spot some sort of loose connection; basically, I hoped that my extremely limited electronics repair abilities wouldn’t be too severely called-upon. It’s true– I’m less truly knowledgeable about electronics than I am a helpful combination of lucky and willing to experiment. After all, I only spent a dollar, right?

bent rhythmer

I didn’t spy any obvious broken parts, so I employed my next “technique”… start poking wires in there! Now, before I continue, let me bring you a short announcement from Reed Ghazala, father of circuit-bending:

“Trying to circuit-bend any device operating on the “house-current” of your wall outlet is OUT OF THE QUESTION!!! This holds true even in the instance of AC adapters. Circuit-bending is for BATTERY-POWERED CIRCUITS ONLY.”

There’s a reason Ghazala says this– it’s so you don’t set your instrument on fire, send blinding blue sparks into your eyes, or perform an act of auto-electrocution. It’s serious!

I did it anyway.

My first poke with my little wire tester miraculously cleared up the whining noise problem, go fig. Things were going well! Being somewhat excited now, I decided to get my bending tools (i.e. miscellaneous junk) together and approach the Rhythmer the next morning with the intent to fully bend the bejeezus out of it. This is generally where a commentator says “he’s going ALL… THE… WAY!” but I’m going to save that for later.

I started off by cracking open the Rhythmer open again. At the time, I failed to appreciate how difficult it would be to type the word “Rhythmer” over and over again. I wish I had photos of it’s guts, because they’re a bender’s dream– rows and rows of resistors, neatly spaced with huge gaps practically screaming for a molten solder jizz-baptism. The Kay company wasn’t interested in compact design, apparently! After prodding around for a while with my tester, I found seven good bends. I decided to stop there, frankly, because I’m not exactly hot with a soldering iron AND because I only had seven switches that I had rescued from some sort of Rat Shack TV switcher device earlier.

The switches looked really nice! Three-position toggles, fluid movement… but unfortunately, the pins were all pretty mangled from the de-soldering/yanking/cursing/poking my fingers process of removing them from their original board. I still managed to get all my wires soldered on, but it was a huge time-sink and a pain in the ass. I’m sure you’ve already noticed that these aren’t in the photo, right? That’s because of those dang pins! No matter how I tried, I couldn’t get the solder joints as strong as I wanted them to be. I didn’t relish the thought of cracking open the Rhythmer every time a bit of solder decided to flake out on me, so I junked them and rewired the whole mess to the bank of RCA jacks you see at the top of the photo.

Each top/bottom pair of jacks completes a bent circuit when connected by a cable. Rows 2-8 are the original seven bends, with the first row being reserved for the left-hand assignable trim pot. That means that I can “turn on” any of the bends by connecting the top/bottom jacks directly, or control that particular bend by running the cable from the top position of the pair (say, number 7) to the top position of number 1, then from bottom 1 to bottom 7… putting the pot in series with the bend. Naturally, this more open arrangement of jacks also means that I can explore some of the fun sounds that arise from connecting different circuits in series as well. There’s a lot more possibilities than seven now!

I also added the right-hand trim pot, hard-wiring it to the 8th position, which speeds up the rate of the selected rhythm. In fact, the rhythm speeds up enough to easily demonstrate John Cage’s rhythmic fact about the underlying rhythmic nature of sound– drum beats become tones. It’s great, and definitely my favorite bend so far. Adding the left-hand trim pot into the mix gives me an incredible amount of control over the precision of this bend. Another great quality of the Rhythmer is how different many of the rhythms are from one another. Because they make use of different sounds to build the actual rhythms, the same bend will often have unique results depending on what rhythm is selected from the front panel.

I also discovered the possibility of body contacts on the Rhythmer, something I’d assumed would result in me being fried.

“He’s going ALL… THE… WAY!”

Yep, body contacts. I’d forgotten that touching any ONE of the RCA cables wouldn’t be completing the circuit. Of course, I wouldn’t want to grab TWO…. but one at a time is enough to get some fun sounds going. You can hear the results in my sound sample, I’m using my thumb to create part of the beat at the beginning. The sound sample is about 11 megabytes, so give it a listen.

If you happen to come up with a better name for this thing than “Rhythmer,” leave it in the comments section! The best suggestion will get engraved front and center on the Rhythmer panel. Come on folks– you can do better than “Rhythmer,” right?!

Léger de oreille

May 29, 2009

Sadly, I will be out-of-town this weekend, so you’ll have to do without your “It’s Too Damn Early” fix for another eight days. To help get you through this painful time, I’ve put together a short list of some other interesting things to hear (for free) around the net in your spare time.

Ironing’s “Sum of Your Life” broadcast for May 25th: Features Hal McGee, Don Campau, and whaddya know– DaveX!!!

Southern Illinois Noise Summit 2009 2-hour collector set: Features Karthik Kakarala, the Cloud Cuckoo Band, and there he is again– DaveX!!!

Halaka – “ITDE Songs”: Features live performances created especially for– you guessed it– DaveX!!!

Marina Hardy, AKA Song for ITDE – “Rat Attat”: Yep, my radio show has a fanpage. No, I didn’t create it. But I’ll gladly link you there because I’m– DaveX!!!

I’ll be back in the Hi-Life Room on June 6th. Don’t despair!

Dictaphonia approaches…

May 5, 2009
I’ve been following along at Hal McGee’s “Dictaphonia” blog, as he chronicles the work involved with putting together a microcassette compilation. According to an e-mail I received today, he’s pleased as punch to report that the first volume has been filled in under a month’s time! I don’t know what order the final release might take, but these are the submissions he’s mentioned at Dictaphonia thus far:

1) Dave X – “Keeping my hand in” (Carterville, Illinois, USA)

2) Su Sous Toulouse En Rouge – “brugmansia tea” (St. Petersburg, Florida, USA)
3) Kathy Burkett – “Dachsooka Radio Buzz” (Lady Lake, Florida, USA)

4) Istituzioni Ambienti Naturalismo – “Nastro #13b” (Rome, Italy)

5) Otolathe – “Unorchestratable” (Tampa, Florida, USA)
6) IWANTTOKILLEVERYHUMAN – “One Dogless” (DeSoto, Texas, USA)

7) Mike Khoury – “Solo Violin” (Livonia, Michigan, USA)

8) Black Beast Of Arrrghhh – “Micro-Boogie” (St. Petersburg, Florida, USA)
9) Horseflesh – “Hyper Flies” (San Francisco, California, USA)

10) Vagina Teeth/Jesus Teeth – “The Sky and The Sea Bed” (Clemmons, North Carolina, USA)

11) William A. Davison – “Garbage Guitar And Objects 090410 (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
12) Homogenized Terrestrials – “air” (Princeton, Illinois, USA)

13) Violet – “Spring” (Bethesda, Maryland, USA)

14) Krysten Davis – “BBBBBAD” (Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
15) Fiver’s Stereo – ??????? (Jacksonville, Florida, USA)
16) Hal McGee – “Inverse Square Ratio” (Gainesville, Florida, USA)
17) 3dman – “Untitled Guitar Solo” (Stafford, Virginia, USA)
18) Chefkirk – “no-input for microcassette” (Eugene, Oregon, USA)
19) Ironing – “Microcaßettestraße” (Gainesville, Florida, USA)

20) Concrete Violin – “Distant Envelopment (dedicated to GX Jupitter-Larsen)” (Houston, Texas, USA)

21) Jeph Jerman – “Metamatic” (Cottonwood, Arizona, USA)
22) Blind Umizato – “Microcassette 04132009” (Fort Worth, Texas, USA)
23) Dave Fuglewicz –  “Liquid Glass” (Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA)

24) Big City Orchestra – “Treasure For Daddy” (Alameda, California, USA)

25) Waterdigger – “Hal McGee Has Stipulations” (Polk City and Tampa, Florida, USA)
This looks like the sort of thing that will sell out quick, so you’d better keep a live bookmark on Dictophonia— you won’t want to miss out.


April 8, 2009

Underground taping phenomenon Hal McGee is curating a microcassette-only compilation, and has opened a blog, Dictaphonia, to lay the process out for the public:

“One of the emphases of this project is to highlight the microcassette as a unique audio art format with its own unique properties. Participants are urged to bear in mind the particular and peculiar characteristics of the microcassette format, such as limited dynamic range (usually 400-4000Hz), low fidelity, and tape noise and hiss.”

This is something I like to hear– rather than coming up with a work-around for microcassette format limitations, embrace them! I’ve got a decent history with these machines, starting way back with my ~Ore~ radio broadcasts, which often featured multiple microcassette players/recorders in constant use. Two of my compositions specifically for microcassette recorders ended up on a Sounds From the Pocket comp, and most recently, my two Naked Arrival releases featured heavy use of microcassette recording (and indeed, were partially released on in this format as well!)

Anyhow, I sent in my submission yesterday. “Keeping My Hand In” features my first underwater microcassette recordings, using struck bowls as a sound source. It was a lot of fun, and is sort of a blatant nod to the “underwater” sound a lot of microcassettes end up having by the first or second generation anyway. By the time Hal is through (my tape > main master > dub) I expect these floating chimes will sound more like primitve dinosaur spacecraft!

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 3/14/09

March 14, 2009

I’m back! My self-imposed exile is over, Future DaveX says it’s safe for me to return– I was getting sick of him anyway– what a stereo hog! Anyways, I have a great show for you today, so I’m going to jump right into the playlist.

I guess some folks were fooled by Future DaveX’s cover story about me being in the Bahamas– I was actually inhabiting a 6×6 styrofoam cubicle– because when I got back to WDBX to check my mail, the fine folks at Hymns Records had sent me the latest Ironing disc, “Nassau”. This would have really been an awesome thing to find had I actually been coming back from a cruise to the same place! Better luck next time, guys. Do you have any recordings of styrofoam cubicles? I’m homesick.

Why yes, I DID just play from Zelphabet comps “F” and “G”. If you’re any sort of noise fan whatsoever, you can do yourself no harm (okay, maybe some minor ear bleeding) picking these up. Featuring Fin, Frans De Waard, Francisco Lopez, Government Alpha, Giancarlo Toniutti, and of course GX Jupitter-Larsen, among others…

Jeff Rehnlund sent some new vinyl from Hot Releases, a label/zine he’s running with fellow Boyzone member Ryan Martin. “Gangnam Basement” wouldn’t be out of place on the Hymns label– good field recording soundwork that focuses more on composition and a sense of place than it does on nitpicking the audio quality– in other words, just the sort of thing I like to hear. The second LP, American Band’s “Low Fiction”, is more of a noise assault. I’m guessing power tools are involved, and more than likely a fair amount of abused metal objects. I’m not discounting this one as simple dumb noise though; there’s too much effort here, it just takes a while to focus through the din.

Thought I’d let you know– Frank Rothkamm’s “Genius Is Star Struck” will be making my Best of 2009 list. Better grab it now!

Lee, Jon, Suki, Brian, Tom, Jesse — Untitled (From “Gold Record Studio”)
Sylvia — Untitled (From “Gold Record Studio”)
Zach, Dan, Suki, Michael, Lisa — Untitled (From “Gold Record Studio”)
Ironing — I Wanna Be Just Like You
Ironing — Maybe Next Year
Ironing — If You Go To School You’re Bound To Learn
Ironing — You Know I Love the Ladies
Ironing — I Smile Along With You
Ironing — Disembarking in Nassau
Ironing — Casino 1
Ironing — Casino 2
Ironing — Casino 3
Ironing — Whale Dancing
Ironing — Shopkeepers Argue in the Street
Locrian — Obsolete Elegy in Effluvia and Dross
Locrian — Ghost Repeater
Locrian — Barren Temple Obscured by Contaminated Fogs
Santiago Latorre — Canon
Felix Werder — Banker
Government Alpha — Corrosion Electrolysis
francisco lopez — untitled #210
GX Jupitter-Larsen — Explosion 2008
Frans De Waard — Meet Melt
Chaos Kit  — 5vcpack
Chaos Kit — shell32.dll
Chaos Kit — victor
Chaos Kit — setupapi.doc
Chaos Kit —
Chaos Kit — LPTT$VPN.170
Chaos Kit — iplw7.dll
Chaos Kit — VPTNFILE.170
Chaos Kit — wmp.dll
Chaos Kit — msoeres.dll
Chaos Kit — explorer
Chaos Kit — system.bak
Jeff Rehnlund — Apsa
Jeff Rehnlund — Tiger Tongue
Jeff Rehnlund — Quem
Jeff Rehnlund — Speak
Jeff Rehnlund — Chonghak-ri
Jeff Rehnlund — Inwangsan
American Band — Out Nurture
American Band — Infrastructure
Frank Rothkamm — Atari
Frank Rothkamm — Chelsea Girl
Frank Rothkamm — La Vie
Frank Rothkamm — Black in the Sky
Frank Rothkamm — Q
Frank Rothkamm — Roll X Tones
Frank Rothkamm — Vast
Frank Rothkamm — Elvis
Andre Custodio, Conure — Live, 1/26/09

Inexplicable photos, pt. 2

January 30, 2009

On the way back home this evening, I noticed this sign had been “translated” somewhat… Dr. John is actually fairly cool– and besides, it’s bad form to leave so much nonsense throughout the remainder of the sign. Next time, I suggest “DAILY ASS LEACHING / I CUT YA BUTT / USE PENIS WISELY!”

At any rate, it sure beats spray paint.


Next up– look what I’m getting in the mail! St. Louis ambient/drone-master Mystified took pity on a poor DJ and has mailed one of his BRAND-SPANKIN’ NEW vinyl copies of “Pulse Ringer Pieces” in my direction. He wrote to hip me to his gift, and also to warn me that he’d forgotten the insert. With his attached track listing, some watercolors, and my inkjet printer; I decided to whip up my own. Obviously, I am NOT talented with a paintbrush. No doubt you’ll be insanely jealous and want your own copy– if you order one in the next 2 weeks, I’ll make and mail you a custom insert myself, no kidding. I MAY EVEN PUT SOME ACTUAL TIME INTO IT!


This is the Nutone intercom/radio/phonograph unit that came with my house. Obviously, it’s a rather vintage item– no FM receiver here! The satellite speakers are scattered about the house. Although I have yet to source parts for the actual head unit amplifier, I was able to connect the speakers to my own amplifier for throughout-house “surround” sound by toggling a “remote” switch. At present, I can control each satellite speaker’s volume at it’s own control panel; I plan to upgrade this soon to enable individual volume control at the master panel. I’ll also be working on the talk/listen function, which I don’t fully understand yet.


Startling Moniker’s Top 12 Best Happy Neat-O List of 2008!

January 13, 2009

Yes, it’s mid-January 2009. Let’s just say I’m fashionably late, and leave it at that. Or think of this list as your buying guide– if you’re spending this coming Valentine’s Day alone (perhaps tearfully re-organizing your record shelves?) see to it that you order a bunch of these fantastic releases to cheer you up. Just as last year, I will be treating my inability to count as less of a handicap, and more of a endearing eccentricity. And now, in no particular order, here are the Top 12 13 Best Happy Neat-O List of 2008 winners:

amo_2001) Mooey Moobau — “All Murmur of Our Mothers’ Waters” — Earlier this year, I referred to this disc as “dictio-fuckery,” a term which captures the pure glottological delight of rolling words back and forth on your tongue until all meaning is lost save for the sweet sonority. As a child, I once said the word “question” repeatedly until I couldn’t figure out if I was saying it correctly at all. This could have easily been the accompanying soundtrack.

40782) Eddie the Rat — “Out Behind the 8-ball” — Privately, I think of Eddie the Rat‘s Peter Martin as  a more unruly modern-day version of Harry Partch. This may not be totally accurate, but hey, it’s my head. Still, what with the brash polyrhythms coaxed from oddball homemade percussion instruments, I may not be too far off. But where Partch carried elements of the American folk landscape back to a greater listening audience, “Out Behind the 8-ball” mines South Asian influences, resulting in something like a post-trepanation Les Baxter album. Lovely!

40773) Jess Rowland — “The Problem With the Soda Machine” — Here’s a weird one for you. Rowland comes across some intra-corporate vending machine related e-mail drama, and decides to set it to music. In less capable hands, a disaster. For Rowland, one of the most immediately loveable albums right out of the box that I heard all year. Order this, and I’ll tell your future as a free gift: you’ll soon find yourself singing “we are faced with a choice about the future of the machines.” (Psst, this disc and #2 are from Edgetone Records. Order them both, and you’ll save on postage!)

frank-rothkamm-just-3-organs4) Rothkamm — “Just 3 Organs” — I used to think that if I had math skills, I would have made Rothkamm music; that’s how much I enjoy what he’s doing. But lately, I realize that nobody can make Rothkamm music but Rothkamm. It’s really the only similarity this list of albums shares– it’s strange stuff, a unique product of a unique mind. Simultaneously sound-obsessed and math-enabled, “Just 3 Organs” visits a series of hyper-organ works upon us. It’s a post-Second Life music, both virtual and yet displaying the umbilicus of its creator. If my ongoing fascination with Rothkamm hasn’t got you to pick one of his releases up yet, now is the time.

5) GX Jupitter-Larsen’s “Zelphabet” Series — Didn’t I say it best already? “Like the RRRecycled tapes, but done with some class, and considerable more attention to quality.” This 27-CD subscription (or buy ’em individually!) series shows why Jupitter-Larsen is the Bruce Schneier of noise– he’s got deep connections, and even deeper knowledge. Each disc is like sitting at the knee of a master, so you better believe they’re worthwhile.

cc_elementalshifta6) Cristopher Cichocki – “Elemental Shift” — This is the kind of release that only comes around once in a blue moon; a perfect artistic statement in its own right, but also able to vividly enhance one’s perception of many other unrelated works. Undoubtedly, this was my favorite release of the year– I couldn’t shutup about it, either– so there’s more of my gushing here and here.

mangler-redbeard7) Warm Climate — “Mangler Redbeard” — Apparently the locus of many LA experimental projects I’m currently enjoying, Warm Climate’s Seth Kasselman recorded “Mangler Redbeard” in a month as part of an online challenge… true evidence of how hard inspiration can strike! Equal parts glam-rock and bizarro-world influence, this ugly little bit of Xerox-and-CDR should not be missed.

tefasimage8) Glenn Weyant — “SonicAnta D-Construction Series” — If you’re looking to develop an ongoing relationship with something truly unexpected, consider subscribing to this series of CDRs. They from full-length explorations with a Honeywell fan; to sonic smorgasbords of homemade instruments, field recordings, and Weyant’s trademark border-fence-and-violin-bow collage. Wild and heady stuff, crafted by someone with a palpable love of sound.

9) George Korein — “Another Corpse” — I can’t seem to nail down exactly when this disc came out, so I’m going to be bold and claim it for 2008. As always, Korein appears to have dropped in from somewhere out in space, content to mystify Earthling listeners with another art-fractured gem. Describing Korein’s music always reminds me of an old Rolling Stone review for Missy Elliot, “She jumps so far off the heezy, she lands right on another heezy.”

10) LX Rudis — “Audible Method 1.43” — I don’t have a lot of info on this one, but I’m still super-excited to hear a live-studio-CDR hybrid disc such as this. Field recordings, live performance, editing, mastering all get mixed up quite thoroughly here. It’s hard for me to make this sound as amazing as it actually is, the mystery of whether you can actually acquire a copy makes it every more fun. Better check with Rudis at his MySpace profile… and while you’re there, dig his blogged bio for fun bits about trying out for tuxedomoon and the Dead Kennedys.

transe_des_mots11) Frederique Bruyas — “La Transe Des Mots” — This is the album that got me thinking, “gee, I really need to learn French.” It’s a one-two punch of bibliophile elan and Diamanda Galas’s swagger, and well worth your time. Bruyas collaborator Pierrejean Gaucher’s dexterous fretwork surprises at all turns.

51tixbrjyxl_sl500_aa240_12) Annea Lockwood — “A Sound Map of the Danube” — A triumph, which all sound enthusiasts should own. Lockwood not only covers the entirety of the Danube in this three-disc hunt for the river’s voice, but features many inhabitants whose daily lives are shaped along its way. This is fascinating listening, perfectly captured in a sumptuous release from the always-worthwhile Lovely Music Limited label.

bnn21_313) Lee Hangjun, Hong Chulki — “Expanded Celluloid, Extended Phonograph” ( 확장된 셀룰로이드, 연장된 포노그래프 ) — An astounding film demonstrating a concept vital to understanding many of the fine releases from Seoul-based Balloon & Needle label, that of “cracks” or “gaps” in media. For Hangjun, this takes the form of not filming anything, but rather choosing to work directly with the film itself. For Chulki, listeners are confronted with the sound of recordless turntables, or of the “meta-record” created by putting two needles to digital time-code vinyl records. It’s a world where sound influences itself, and raw film finds a place in the spotlight, and is definitely a world worth your visit.

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 11/15/08

November 15, 2008

Sweet Action kicked off the first few minutes of this week’s “ITDE” with a nasty surprise– Tracy Chapman. Who knew Nick was such a fan? Anyways, it was supposed to be some Otis Redding for me, but he switched it! This is like drinking Pepsi when you think it’s going to be Coke. Nothing to do but hold your nose, and wait for the vomit.

I countered with some vintage DaveX material, and am currently swirling a bit of Jin Sangtae’s “Extensity of Hard Disk Drive” around my earholes to make sure no germy detritus has been left behind. But hey, cool things are on the horizon– I’m doing a live set tonight, just me and some processed balloon… and you might get to hear some more vintage DaveX, which I’ll be playing to illustrate points while being interviewed for an upcoming documentary about Southern Illinois experimental music!

As it turns out, keeping up a liveblogged playlist while being interviewed (and hosting a radio show) is very difficult. I will simply list materials used– if you’re super-interested in the exact order, let me know, and I’ll figure it out for you. Otherwise…

~OrE~ — Heavenly Noise (excerpt)
~OrE~ — Doug’s Party (excerpt)
DaveX — The Only Motion is Returning
EKV — Purification
Thanos Chrysakis, Dario Villegas, Oli Mayne — Terse Symmetry
Thanos Chrysakis, Dario Villegas, Oli Mayne — Phosphorus
Thanos Chrysakis, Dario Villegas, Oli Mayne — Sonoric Clay
Thanos Chrysakis, Dario Villegas, Oli Mayne — Fountain of Violet
EKV — 8onkey
EKV — We’re Having Problems
EKV — Incidental Damages
RP Collier — Dirigible
RP Collier — Prongulator
RP Collier — Over Valley
RP Collier — Yaw
RP Collier — Nightside
RP Collier — Jet Stream
Nils Butmann — Welcome
RP Collier —  2
Jin Sangtae — Fixed
Choi Joonyong, Hong Chulki, Sachiko M, Otomo Yoshihide — 1/1
Choi Joonyong, Hong Chulki, Sachiko M, Otomo Yoshihide — 1/2
~OrE~ — Mr. Lincoln’s Party (excerpt)