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this week in the sound course i’m teaching, we’re reading articles on mobile listening by michael bull and jean-paul thibaud. thibaud develops the concept of “sonic door”: “The door of the house may also function as a sonic door. On one hand, the door serves as a transition between two places of distinct status; on the other hand, as an intermediary between two kinds of listening experience” (2003, 332). these two modes of listening experiences have to do with social and architectural contours of indoor spaces versus comparatively expansive outdoor environments. here are two 45-second excerpts of recordings i made in august of nighttime insects. both record the transition as i walk through doors from inside to outside. the first is in a wooded area of upstate NY; i walk through two doors (front and porch) before arriving outside. the second is near DC. among the sonic details i enjoy are little bursts of wind when i open each door (in the first example), and children inside contrasted with cicadas outside (in the second). technical note: there is a lot of handling noise; admittedly, i didn’t plan to keep these transitional segments.
tonight’s analog duet features the jealous heart synth + electo-harmonix memory man deluxe delay pedal. jealous heart is a new arrival from flower electronics; the memory man i acquired years ago in upstate new york (maybe at parkway music, which has moved, and is moving again, “between the Appliance Giant and the Rusty Nail”). the smiley-face stickers on the memory man are leftover from the time it spent with the sound artist nancy tobin in the st-henri neighborhood of montreal. (an excerpt of one of nancy’s projects, “delay toys,” is on the new LMJ cd on improvisation + technology.) i could move the stickers, but i like the material reminder of nancy’s work, and have set a rule when working with the pedal to always “start at the smileys.” together, and without much prompting, the jealous heart + memory man spit out a stream of delightful sounds reminiscent of the spacey bloops on louis & bebe barron’s 1956 soundtrack to forbidden planet, and not unlike these recently-released data sonifications of subatomic particles… here’s bebe barron interviewed in the ohm documentary, explaining how their circuits were inspired by cybernetics, and seemingly had lifespans and emotions of their own.