Jocelyn welcomed attendees. She suggested a prompt of “what do you do with, or enjoy, in audio?” And/or “what food sound comes to mind?”
Barry – Gaithersburg, MD
Environments created with sound. The slurping sound of ramen noodles exemplified by the 1985 film Tampopo.
Ben, Annapolis, MD
Fly-on-the-wall sound exemplified by the New York Times online live-stream of the inauguration where a hot mic captured the sound of the prez and vice prez couples’ footsteps descending the hallway stairs in the Capitol.
The talking sound of a frozen lake in PA. The silence between sounds, including pauses in music. The crunch while eating corn-on-the-cob.
Jocelyn, Petoskey MI
Breaking the sugar crust on a crème brulee.
Missy, Mt Rainier, MD
Theater sound design & Foley. The sound of chicken frying as compared to rain falling.
Macy, Chiang Mai, Thailand
The sound of a spoon traveling up and down inside a tall glass of Vietnamese iced coffee.
Rene, Takoma Park, MD
The iconic Pop-Rocks candy sound.
Genise, Fairfax, VA
Creates World Reggae Party and hears her boyfriend eat crab legs.
WE LISTENED TOGETHER:
Barry – shared a 4-minute piece of the sound dead & live trees touching. He used a geophone which captures sound <100 Hz. The creaking sound is influenced by wind movements and evokes the feeling of “frictional bark.” Barry shared the anatomy of a geophone. Rene said that he had heard that you can actually hear the sap running through some trees and that the DC cherry blossom trees might be good subjects to geophonically explore.
Ben – played a 6-minute piece documenting an annual urban holiday hike visiting Christmas trees on the DC Mall. He used a binaural headset which gave a deeply spatial, surrounding experience. Highlights included participants playing Oh Tannenbaum (in F minor) on toy synthesizers and a hiker/musician playing Bach (Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring) on the ukulele in the sonically-appealing open dome of the Embassy of Canada (which contained an awesome tree).
Jocelyn – shared a recording taken at a Northern Michigan 8-mile long frozen lake at 17 degrees Fahrenheit. A sound was produced that was described as “Wonder Woman’s whip.” Worried that her Sony PCM recorder wasn’t cold-tolerant, she stuck the recorder “butt-end out” in her mitten, next to a teabag hand warmer. The faint sound of a bird pecking, then peeping, was also heard. She shared a photo of her sound-loving partner also recording icey-lake sounds earlier that day.
Henry – presented a collaborative sound project originating with King Crimson’s drummer Pat Mastelotto in which Pat provided an electronic drum file for other artists to overlay tracks. Henry multi-tasked with adding a vocal track (singing a traditional folk song), playing a Tetrax wood/oscillator organ, and a baroque E-flat clarinet. The work was described by one listener as “amazingly beautiful” and “emotional” and another observed “the sustains between phrases were especially appealing since they weren’t in the predictable key signature.” This led to a spirited discussion about profound quotes attributed, rightly or wrongly, to Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock such as “What you see here is the stew without the sauce” and “if you play a wrong note, play it again.”
Rene – was coaxed to close out this Listening Lounge with piece he recorded during a historical tour of a Parmesan factory in Italy. Parmesan is beat with wooden mallets in a process termed “sounding the cheese.” The sounds reveal the level of doneness. The charming tour guide could be heard interpreting the sonorous cheese sounds by saying “its perfect” or “its not perfect.”
And our evening concluded.
***Afternote: The day after LL Macy wrote a FB post expressing an appreciation of our meeting and shared that it inspired her to explore the use of sound in her work on environmental justice projects in the Mekong region. She and her colleague are considering using the sound of forests as a grounding experience for environmental activists being trained to learn skills to help protect their communities against megadevelopment projects. Thank you Macy!