Ambient Addition

december 03, 2006.

ambient addition

This indeed is what is written across the image: "When you walk around with it, it creates music from the noise all around you."

... it ... [music ... noise] ... is a very interesting phrase.

I would never have written the phrase. Not precisely in that way. I would not have wanted to speak of 'the noise all around' ... In such contexts 'noise' always 'sounds'- is intended to sound - so negative ... But would it have been part of a guessing game ... ("what is it that when you walk ...") ... I would have answered: it's my ears! - or rather that what is between them - that creates music from the noise all around ...

Noah Vawter does not think so. Noah finds that, in order to hear music in the sounds that surround us, our ears need all the help they can get ...

Both phrase and image are part of a short promotional video clip for his Ambient Addition project, that I found out about through the excellent spanish mediateletipos blog.

Its "it" is not referring to your ears, nor to your head.

Here is the first part of the full text of the clip :

"Sometimes you want to take a walk,
but environmental noise is too disruptive.
Some people use Walkmans to block out the sound ...
But then you get completely isolated.
What if there were something ... in between?
Ambient Addition.
When you walk around with it,
it creates music from the noise all around you.

Ambient Addition indeed is conceived as an iPod alternative, somewhat along the lines of how I experienced FM3's Buddha Machine as an iPod alternative. The name is somewhat deceptive, though, I think. The FM3 loop player gets closer to what I'd call 'ambient addition' ... Noah Vawter's device would better be describes as 'ambient transformation' ...

I first read about Noah's thesis project shortly after having written the Buddha Machine entry, in which I observed that - for the time of one metro journey - I used and enjoyed FM3's gadget as an iPod alternative because its ambient loops nicely added to and mingled with the commuter's soundscape ...

The Ambient Addition machine uses a set of headphones into which binaural microphones have been built, that pick up the environmental sounds. The (chip built into the) 'machine' then analyzes these sounds and - all in real time - applies a certain number of DSP algorithms to them, in order to harmonize and rhythmetize them ... (How and what algorithms are applied is described in detail in Noah's thesis "Ambient Addition: how to turn urban noise into music", which can be downloaded in .pdf form. It does, for instance phase vocode the sounds "with its own internal sequence of chords") ...

How about that for an audio equivalent of watching the world through rose-colored spectacles? ... Personally I hardly feel the need to walk a round wearing something like 'sonic sunglasses' ... I don't feel at all that I need to be protected from the sounds the surround me. I like them sounds, I like them harsh, I like them loud. It is interesting as a sound processing project, though. But - of course - what comes out, will depend largely on the algorithms put in.

There's not just one 'ambient addition' ... there may be many, many of them ...

sblog2 {ii}

december 01, 2006.

n-collective +++ As of this december 1st there's a new Raudio edition streaming, the tenth in our ongoing series of no beginning/no end 24/7 audio webstreams ... The N-Stream was curated by Koen Nutters, who brings us a selection of near to four hours of recordings from the archives of the dutch N-collective ... loads of fine sounds and music, improvised or/and composed, by 87 Central, Anders Hana, Buttercup Metal Polish, Ensemble Adapter, The Friendly Boys, James Beckett, Jeff Carey, Koen Nutters, the Mayas / Nutters / Olsen / Galvez Quartet, Moha!, Morten J. Olsen, Morthana, the N Ensemble, Office-R(6), Phô, Platinum d'oro, Robert van Heumen, The Same Girl, TAPE THAT, Thai on Top, Ultralyd, USA/USB and Viljam Nybacka ... I've been enjoying the stream for quite a while now, discovering artists and tracks (title and artist of the currently playing track are displayed on the Raudio front-page) ... My favorites at the time of this writing, after about two complete rounds of listening: Robert van Heumen's 'Solitude Samples', and the Ultralyd tracks ... now listen to this ... +++

+++ I've added four new acquisitions to the Found Tapes Exhibition: #58, #59, #60 and #61, bringing the total of catalogued tape finds to 341. I did the unknotting and rewinding of #60 and #61 during the ana-R workshop last month in Lille. The finding itself dates back as far as april of this year ...
italian find Among the tapes that have found a spot in the new acquisitions, there's the one (#334) whose bemired housing is shown in the photograph to the right.
It was dumped on my hall table by Rinus van Alebeek, the evening he came to perform at the april SADO evening.
Rinus had picked it up in april somewhere along an italian country road. On it there was lots of dance and techno music, recorded from an italian radio program. It's a bore to listen to all of that stuff, sometimes. But in fact listening attentively to all that's on such tapes continues to pay ... At the very, very end of RInus' italian tape suddenly we hear the noise of someone hitting the 'record' button of a cassetterecorder with microphone. Two italian kids recording themselves, singing and strumming along on an acoustic guitar ...
It's "Adrenalina pura" ... (found along a secondary road leading from the community of Villafranca to that of Licciana Nardi) +++

[ __Earlier related SB-entries : {found tapes} modernités recyclées :: jenny likes poets ]

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