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Volume 4, Number 2
WFAE Up Front News

WFAE BOARD REPORT: Nigel Frayne, Chair

The new year begins for WFAE with journal planning, changes to board personnel and the anticipated welcoming of two new affiliates.
     As was determined by the WFAE Board, meeting at the conference in Japan last year, Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology will be reinstated in 2007. The Affiliates all agreed to adopt a new arrangement where they will, in turn, edit and produce one year's issue on a rotating basis. First up is the American Society for Acoustic Ecology (ASAE) followed in 2008 by the Finnish Society for Acoustic Ecology (FSAE). Already the ASAE is planning themes, seeking external financial backing and discussing printing and distribution arrangements with the WFAE Committee. It is anticipated that the journal will be distributed to the membership in the second half of the year.
     Steven Miller has been the representative for ASAE on the WFAE Board since it first affiliated in June 2004. He is now passing the baton to Andrea Polli so that he can concentrate on his university commitments and editing the next Soundscape Journal. We thank Steven for his time and energy and welcome Andrea to the WFAE Board.
     Last year it was announced that we will soon be introducing two new affiliates to the WFAE fold. We are now in close consultation with both the Hellenic Society for Acoustic Ecology and the Mexican Forum for Acoustic Ecology and expect formalities to be completed within a few weeks. This welcome development indicates the growing acknowledgement of the importance of the soundscape to local communities and a desire to connect with like minded people around the world.
     The next WFAE endorsed event will be the Sounder Spaces Conference in London on March 14th. And, stay tuned to this Newsletter for upcoming announcements on the next international conferences and events in Acoustic Ecology.

AFFILIATE NEWS

AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR ACOUSTIC ECOLOGY (ASAE)

New Chapter Forming. A January organizing meeting was held in San Francisco at which a diverse group of Bay Area recordists, artists, and environmental activists began considering how to participate in WFAE and ASAE activities. A follow up meeting and listening session was scheduled for late February. The Bay Area Sound Ecology (BASE) intends to facilitate networking between artists and scientists concerned with the appreciation and conservation of soundscapes. Any readers of this newsletter who live in the Bay Area and who would like to get involved are welcome to contact Jim Cummings (listen (at sign) acousticecology.org) to be put in touch with local organizers, or to join the Yahoo Group bayareasoundecology. Submitted by Jim Cummings, Chair ASAE.

ASAE To Publish Soundscape Journal. Editorial planning is beginning for the next issue of Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology, to be published later this year. ASAE is serving as the editorial team, and we will soon be posting a call for submissions on the acoustic-ecology listservs. The provisional theme is "Sound, Art, Environment," with a focus on the ways that sound art and sound-related science is contributing to raising environmental awareness. If you want to know more, contact Jim Cummings (listen (at sign) acousticecology.org) . Submitted by Jim Cummings, Chair ASAE

Andrea Polli

ASAE's New WFAE Board Representative. Andrea Polli has replaced Steven Miller as the ASAE representative on the WFAE Board.
    Andrea is a digital media artist living in New York City. She is currently Director of the Integrated Media Arts MFA Program and an Associate Professor of Film and Media at Hunter College. She is also a founding member of NYSAE (The New York Society for Acoustic Ecology), a chapter of the ASAE. She currently works in collaboration with atmospheric scientists to develop systems for understanding weather and climate information through stereo and multi-channel sound. Her projects often bring together artists and scientists from various disciplines.
    Andrea is  very interested in helping build ASAE's role/profile internationally and looks forward to more collaborative efforts with other WFAE Affiliates, especially with neighbors in Canada and Mexico. Learn more about Andrea online.

NYSAE Chapter Report. Jonny Farrow has been named the new Co-Chair of the NYSAE. He is a composer and sound artist/phonographer and is an energetic addition to to the chapter. Farrow replaces Michelle Nagai.
     In other news, the Chapter's collaboration with free103point9.org is going strong. Edmund Mooney is now, and has been since fall of 2006, curating with great success the GIANT EAR))) show heard monthly on free103point9. Andrea Polli’s work on sonification of climate and weather data was presented with great success in Los Angeles in early January.
     The NYSAE is in the planning stages of a fundraiser and creating a targeted membership list that would (aside from raising money for the chapter) raise the visibility of NYSAE, ASAE and the WFAE in the tri-state area (NY/NJ/CT). We are proud to be affiliated with ASAE and WFAE and promote these relationships whenever we are in public. NYSAE membership is growing without our really without trying -- people are finding the chapter and are interested in joining. Submitted by: Andrea Polli and Jonny Farrow Co-chairs, NYSAE (New York Society for Acoustic Ecology).

Note to American Readers. Those who are not members of the ASAE are encouraged to join our listserv and begin to share in what promises to be an exciting 2007.  The ASAE is gearing up to edit the Soundscape Journal this year, and as more members join the ASAE, we will reach critical mass in more regions, which the New York and New Mexico folks can attest leads to rewarding synergies. Visit the ASAE Listserve web page to learn how to join the discussion group. Submitted by Jim Cummings, Chair ASAE.


AUSTRALIAN FORUM FOR ACOUSTIC ECOLOGY (AFAE)

AFAE Plans For The Year Ahead. The AFAE Committee had its first meeting for 2007 in February. We discussed the next working sessions on our website which we hope will be ready to publish in the coming weeks. It is intended that this will become a productive resource and repository for information and contact details for new and current members.
     AFAE committee member Anthony Magen has continued his work in promoting and hosting soundwalks at the Now now Festival in Sydney. During the year we are planning more local soundwalks in Melbourne as well.
     Finally, the AFAE intends to make contact with the National Film and Sound Archive following the announcement of their new initiative - Sounds of Australia - a new national registry of Australian recorded sound. Submitted by Nigel Frayne.


CANADIAN ASSOCIATION FOR SOUND ECOLOGY (CASE)

Soundscape Retreat in Canadian Wilderness. The Canadian Association for Sound Ecology's third Haliburton Soundscape Retreat 'The Soundscape in Our Landscape' has been rescheduled to March 23-25th, 2007. Workshops and talks will be held by R. Murray Schafer, Bernie Krause, Andrea Dancer, Kristi Allik and Robert Mulder. Although the registration deadline was February 23rd, you can learn more about this event at the Haliburton Forest Wildlife Reserve on line at the CASE web site. Or for more information: case@magma.ca or call 416-910-7231 or 905-454-5714. Submitted by Charlotte Scott - CASE Representative.


FORUM KLANGLANDSCHAFT (FKL)

Symposium in Basel. FKL members and the general public are invited to the "Soundscapes - Landscapes" symposium in Basel, Switzerland on April 21 - 22. The event will include presentations, concerts, and soundwalks. Detailed information about the symposium is available online. Submitted by Clemens von Reusner - FKL Representative.


UK AND IRELAND SOUNDSCAPE COMMUNITY (UKISC)

London Conference. The UKISC in partnership with the Mayor of London, London Parks & Green Spaces Forum, Noise Futures Network,World Forum for Acoustic Ecology and Zoological Society of London, is involved in a one day conference, "Sounder Spaces: the Forgotten Side of Quality?" at the London Zoo on the 14th March. The event focuses on the protection of 'quiet areas', one of the aims of the European Noise Directive, which requires noise mapping in London by mid 2007 and action planning by mid 2008. The conference offers you the chance to discuss with leading experts and contribute your ideas to this novel area of work.
     It is particularly exciting to do such an event at London Zoo, as this is one of the locations where Ludwig Koch in collaboration with Julian Huxley, carried out his pioneering natural history recordings that lead to the sound book, 'Animal Language' (1938). The event will include a listening space "In the Footsteps of Koch", curated by Peter Cusack and John Levack Drever. The event is free, but places are limited. Please register for 'Sound Spaces' now. More details and a registration form are available online. Submitted by John Levack Drever.


JAPANESE ASSOCIATION FOR SOUND ECOLOGY (JASE)

Affiliate Report: In November the JASE, together with Hirosaki University International Music Centre (HIMC), held the WFAE 2006 conference in Hirosaki under the title of 'The West Meets the East in Acoustic Ecology'. With deep gratitude, our staff of 25 welcomed 65 participants; 45 from the overseas including Canada, USA, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, France, Germany, Austria, Finland, Australia and Italy (only paper) and 22 from Japan.
     It was our great pleasure to have the opportunity to spend time and space together with those participants with whom we enjoyed sharing our common interests and exchanging information in the field of acoustic ecology in various ways; such as a symposium, paper presentations, poster sessions, lecture and performance, listening walks and tour. As an official report, we edited and published a book, which we distributed to the participants during the conference. As copies are still available, please contact us.
     After the conference, some participants including R. Murray Schafer and Gabriele Proy remained in Japan and were engaged in lectures and concerts in several cities. Some of their activities were organized as the SAJ’s events. Schafer visited Nagasaki and, together with the members of SAJ living there, visited several significant soundscapes around the city. Schafer also visited old radiation victims, whose words moved Shafer about a half century ago to write a youth choir and orchestral piece. He also gave a lecture on the campuses of University of Kyusyu in Fukuoka, and University of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo, under the titles of “From Noise to Soundscape” and “From Music to Soundscape”.
     This year, from February 10th to 12th, Dr. Teruyo Oba organized an exchange study meeting and workshop events between Natural History Museum and Institute, Chiba and SAJ, on the theme of "How to Relate Ourselves to Natural Environment through Ears" focusing on a special listening gadget developed by Dr. Oba and Sound Panorama Mapping System developed by Tazuko Kobayashi, Nagoya Women’s University, who is also preparing another exchange study meeting between The Japanese Association of Professional Geographers on March 11th at University of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo.
     The SAJ’s current broad policy is 'Soundscape and Society' casting light not only on ‘noise issues ’ but on their cultural and social significance. Submitted by Keiko Torigoe.  Note: JASE is an operational unit of the Soundscape Association of Japan (SAJ).

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NEWS CLIPS & SOUND BITES


"Memoryscape with Toby Butler and Lewis Gibson" (Article by Mark McLaren) Memoryscape are sound walks that take place at two of the most contrasting stretches of river in London. DRIFTING begins in the peaceful surroundings of Hampton Court Palace and DOCKERS ends up in the rarely explored industrial landscape of the Greenwich peninsula. Mark Mclaren interviews Toby Butler and Lewis Gibson the artists behind the work and starts by asking how memoryscape was recorded and realised. Read More. (Source: Futhermoise.org)

"Duae - Pablo Reche and Miguel Angel Tolosa" (Review by Mark McLaren) A collaboration between sound artists Pablo Reche (Buenos Aires) and Ubebeot (Madrid) which explores "post-industrial landscapes and isolated urban spaces". Read More. (Source: Futhermoise.org)

How do music and nature connect in your work? (new music box) Five composers discus the relationship between nature and their work as sound artists. Included are: John Luther Adams, Bill Fontana, Cherly Leonard, Richard Lerman, and Robert Morris. Read Interviews.

Annea Lockwood Beside the Hudson River. (new music box) An interview and video clip of Annea Lockwood discussing listening to the environment and the value of acoustic space. Read and View.

Marcus Coates by Artist Dawn Chorus. Dawn Chorus is an ambitious exhibition comprising films of 17 singers that uncannily recreate birdsong in their ‘natural habitats'. The individuals are located in various situations such as an underground car-park, an osteopathic clinic and a bath-tub, the project is as much a portrait of British idiosyncrasies as it is of the natural world. The films are hung on screens in the gallery according to the position of the birds when they were recorded, creating an immersive soundscape for visitors to the exhibition. Continues through March at
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK. Read More.

Crossing the Bridge: The Sounds of Istanbul. A recent documentary by Fatih Akin is playing in theaters that explores the musical soundscape of Istanbul. A lover of experimenting with sound, Alexander Hack (of the German avante-garde band Einsturzende Neubauten) roams the streets of Istanbul with his mobile recording studio and "magic mike" to assemble an inspired portrait of Turkish music. You can view the film's trailer online or learn more about the movie on its internet web site.

Do Disney's Real Elephants Have Tales to Tell? (National Geographic) Elephants communicate with one another in a number of ways, including sound, sight, touch, and scent. But it is the noises they make—a repertoire of rumbles, roars, trumpets, bellows, cries, screams, and snorts that spans almost ten octaves, including sounds that humans cannot hear—that scientists find the most challenging to comprehend. Read More.

Bioacoustics articles available: Advances in Bioacoustics II. Selected papers from the 20th International Bioacoustics Congress (Piran, Slovenia, 2005), published as "Advances in Bioacoustics II", a special issue in Razprave IV. razreda SAZU, vol 47(3) (2006) by the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and listed below, are now available on-line from the IBAC website.

The sound of the Neolithic. (BBC) New research suggests that the ancient stone circles and burial mounds of north west Europe may have been designed to act as giant loudspeakers to amplify drums being played during rituals. Read More.

The Hunt for The Hum. (BBC) Bill Bailey explores the phenomena of low frequency noise, and goes in search of apparently mysterious 'hums' that have been heard from Tokyo to Toronto, and Beijing to Bristol. Access Broadcast.

The Noisy Planet. (BBC) Robin McGinley, a UK-born acoustic artist, has initiated a pioneering project in a dozen Swedish secondary schools. He teaches his students how to effectively use their ears. As a result of writing sound journals and drawing simple sound maps, they began to acknowledge and pay attention to the sounds around them, for the first time in the case of some students. The project has been so successful that there is now talk about introducing it to schools across the European Union. Read More about this topic and others in this extensive web site about the noisy planet on which we live.

The Sounds Generated by Hydrothermal Vents. Though it was once thought that sea floor black smoker hydrothermal vents were essentially silent, recent measurements show that these vents are quite loud, and have interesting acoustic signatures that will help the study of fluid flow in these systems. Learn more online and listen to this unusual soundscape.

Park Soundscapes. US National Parks were created in part to allow the public to enjoy and appreciate the unique natural and cultural resources protected within our parks. Therefore, the sounds of people enjoying the parks through a variety of recreational activities are a common element of National Park soundscapes. When you visit a national park, you enter a world of memorable sights. When you listen to a park, you enter a world of inspirational sounds. Read More.

Ontario Looks to Cut Workplace Noise (Canadian Press). Ontario is moving to protect industrial workers from hearing loss by dialing down the noise they're exposed to in their workplaces.
    As of July 1, the amount of noise workers are exposed to during an eight-hour period will be reduced to 85 decibels from 90 decibels.
    The province is also introducing a new time-weighted averaging method to provide a more accurate way of determining the actual amount of noise a worker is exposed to. Read More.

Pupils exposed to 'too much' noise. Pupils are being regularly subjected to noise levels that exceed guidelines from the World Health Organisation, researchers claim.The survey says the daily exposure for a child at school averaged 72 decibels, while WHO guidelines suggest the maximum exposure should be 35 decibels in the classroom and 55 in the playground. Read More.

Listening Post Returns. Listening Post is a presentation featuring key people, CD labels and movements associated with the Free Improvisation genre of music. Formats include CD & DVD material and personal comments from those attending. Access The Listening Room.

Aural Architecture Glossary Being Developed. Many readers have requested that Barry Blesser extract a glossary of terms relating to aural architecture from his new book, "Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture" (MIT Press), in order to establish a common a working aural vocabulary of soundscapes. A draft copy of his glossary can be found at www.blesser.net/downloads/glossary.pdf. Blesser is looking for  suggestions for changes and additions that will be include in the next draft. The author can be reached at bblesser (at) alum (dot) mit.edu

Electronic Journal Technical Acoustics (EJTA), EJTA publishes accepted papers on the Internet. This journal is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes original articles in all areas of acoustics and related branches (mechanics, wave phenomena, signal processing etc.). EJTA has benefits of an electronic journal: speed of publication and very wide circulation. EJTA is available without charge to readers via the Internet: www.ejta.org.
    Authors are encouraged to take full advantage of the electronic medium to include colors, video, audio or other innovative presentation formats and links to more extensive tutorial information or data. Maximum article size is 16 pages A4 and 1 Mb disc space. Detailed information about the journal can found on the above website. Source: Igor Grushetsky, editor.

"noTnoTesnoTrhyThms by Henry Gwiazda" (Review by Alex Young) In the world of audio technology, 3D sound is often used as a selling point for all manner of weird and wonderful technologies. To Henry Gwiazda, however, the promise of "virtual audio" and placing sound in three-dimension space offers a world of possibilities. Read More. (Source Futhermoise.org)

Audio spotlights can aim as precisely as laser beam. (Guardian) Audio spotlights aim sound as precisely as a laser beam. If you're a centimeter outside the target area, you hear nothing. Read More.

Spectrum plan threatens radio microphone . (BBC) The future of radio microphones - used at concerts, sporting events, festivals and theatre shows - is under threat from new proposals from Ofcom.The media regulator is considering auctioning off the spectrum they operate on to the highest bidder, as part of the digital switchover. Read More. (Item suggested by Ian Stonehouse)

Photo: NASA


Ear Training N0.1 Place an empty container under a water facet. Close your eyes, turn on the water, and fill the container. Listen carefully. Turn the water off when it sounds as though it has reached the container's top. After checking your accuracy, empty the container and try again stopping this time when the container is only half full. Then try once more at the quarter level. Practice until you can judge the fullness of a container by the acoustic characteristics of the water filling the container's space.

SOUNDSCAPE STUDIES
This section is devoted to reports on past and current projects related to acoustic-ecology. Project coordinators and researchers are encouraged to write and submit reports about their work. Links to existing online reports are also welcome.

Acoustic Environments in Change. This article looks at an international, multi-disciplinary project in 2000, that studied the changes of soundscapes in six European villages. It involved European researchers, artists, journalists, local inhabitants and Canadian pioneers of soundscape studies. They all shared an interest in the relationships between the soundscape, the environment, and its various inhabitants. Read More.

What We Learned: A Report by Joel Chadabe. Ear to the Earth, EMF's week-long festival of environmental sound, took place between October 6 and 14, 2006 at various venues in New York City. Composers, sound artists, and scientists came from England, New Zealand, France, Italy, Canada, Austria, Germany, and throughout the United States to participate in concerts, installations, and panels at different venues in downtown Manhattan. The aim of the festival was to engage people in environmental issues through sound. "What We Learned" is a summary report on the Ear to the Earth event. Read More.

Acoustic Ecology and the Soundscape Bibliography. An online bibliography of published material pertaining to the interdisciplinary fields of acoustic ecology, soundscape research, soundscape composition, soundscape education ("ear cleaning"), and acoustic design. The bibliography takes into special account the writings of R. Murray Schafer, the "father of acoustic ecology", and his research team, the World Soundscape Project, by providing information on all editions of their writings, including revisions, collections and some translations. The bibliography is organized into three sections: Primary Literature, Interview and Secondary Literature. Compiled by Maksymilian Kapelanski. Access Bibliography.


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CALENDAR


March 1-3 2007
2007 Santa Fe International Festival of Electroacoustic Music
College of Santa Fe, Santa Fe New Mexico, USA
SFIFEM has a 10-year history of presenting cutting-edge international electroacoustic music performances, broadcasts, and installations in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For more information about this festival visit the festival website.

March 14, 2007
'Sounder Spaces' Conference, London Zoo
A one day conference, endorsed by the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, and supported by the Mayor of London, EPSRC Noise Futures Network, UK & Ireland Soundscape Community, London Parks and Green Spaces Forum, and Zoological Society of London, is being held at the zoo on Wednesday 14 March 2007.
     The Conference will explore how noise management and soundscape design can improve the use and enjoyment of London's green spaces and public realm. The 'Environmental Noise Directive', which requires noise mapping in London by mid 2007, is raising the profile of noise and 'quiet areas'. This conference explores not just practical management of negative impacts, but new dimensions of soundscape design - how the most can be made of the rich diversity of positive sounds in open spaces. The conference offers the chance to discuss issues with leading experts and contribute ideas at a formative stage in this novel area of work.
     Further details and an application form can be downloaded from http://www.noisefutures.org/sounderspaces.php Please return it to ben.crofts(at sign)london.gov.uk, or telephone 020 7983 4317 or Minicom 020 7983 4458 and ask to speak to Benjamin Crofts.

April 18-21, 2007
The School of Sound Symposium

The School of Sound presents a stimulating and provocative series of master classes by practitioners, artists and academics on the creative use of sound with image. Directors, sound designers, composers, editors and theorists working at the highest levels of art and media show us the soundtrack from unexpected perspectives. They reveal the methods, theories and creative thinking that lie behind the most effective uses of sound and music. If you work in film, television, commercials or multimedia, this event will provide the perfect complement to your technical expertise. More Information.

May, 2007
Translocal Events - Deep Wireless Festival
May, 2007 will be the first 'Deep Wireless Festival' to include translocal events (performances and broadcasts that occur simultaneously in more than one location locally and internationally). For details on how you can participate or to send your own proposal e-mail naisa@naisa.ca.

June 19-21, 2007
8th WSEAS International. Conference On Acoustics and Music: Theory and Application.

Vancouver, B.C. Canada
For more information on this event go online to the WSEAS Conference web site.

December 2007
Mamori Sound Project
A 2-week workshop/residency for professional and semi-professional artists with previous experience in the area of sound experimentation and field recordings. It takes place at Mamori Lake, in the middle of the Brazilian Amazon, and involves theoretical/discussion presentations, field work and studio work. The project has a special focus on creative approaches to the work with field recordings, through an extensive exploration of natural sound environments. It does not have a technical character but is instead conceived and directed towards the development and realization of a collective project of sonic creation with the interaction of all participating artists. The deadline for application has been extended to mid-April. More information: Download attached PDF brochure. Or, contact franciscolopez (at sign) compuserve (dot) com or visit web site.

September 15-18, 2007
XXI IBAC - International Bioacoustics Congress
CIBRA, University of Pavia,

The XXI International Bioacoustics Congress will be held in the historical buildings of the University of Pavia, Italy, where Spallanzani in the 18th century studied the ability of bats to fly in the dark. The Congress is organized, for the third time, by CIBRA, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Bioacoustics and Environmental Research, University of Pavia.
    The subject of bioacoustics is principally a marriage between the fields of biology and physical acoustics. Given its multidisciplinary nature, the Congress aims to bring together, in informal settings, biologists from different specialists (ethnologists, physiologists, taxonomists, ecologists, etc) with engineers, sound archivists and amateur sound recordists, to foster discussion and exchange of ideas.
    During the Congress the 2nd European workshop on animal sound research and libraries will be held. The workshop will be organized by CIBRA for the European Network of Bioacoustic Collections for Taxonomy, Systematics and Conservation. The network was created based on the agreement of experts who attended the 1st workshop at the Fonoteca Zoological (Madrid), 27-30 September 2006, to foster co-operation among institutions, researchers and interested amateurs to safeguard animal sound recordings and to optimize their use as a resource for research and nature conservation. Further information on the Congress will be published on the CIBRA web page at and on the official IBAC web page.

On-Going - Artist Review Series: Immersivity, Art, Architecture, Sound and Ecology
Goldsmiths College, London, UK.

This program features transdisciplinary presentations facilitating critical exchange, discussion and review through an informal and supportive atmosphere; and guided by specific research interests. The general focus areas are: live art and mixed media performance; landscape & interactive architecture and sustainability; critical studies and philosophy; biophysics, acoustics, ecology and sound art. The guest review presenters invited are drawn from these backgrounds and disciplines. The aims of the artist review meetings are both to support the development of researchers or practitioners, through the sharing and review of recent practice including work-in-progress, and the Live Art Garden Initiative, an art, architecture and ecology project. Visit web site for dates, times and location; the series full program; and all further information. This project is supported by the Networking Artists’ Networks Initiative (NAN) through a-n The Artist Information Co. It is co-organised by the Live Art Garden Initiative and Electronic Music Studios, Goldsmiths College.



Web Site Exploration

As a way to cope during the difficult period after the attacks on the Word Trade Center on September 11, 2001, many people began to revisit their memories of the buildings themselves. With a keen eye towards preserving some of these materials, National Public Radio brought together artists, historians, and other interested parties in order to collect and preserve various audio traces of these impressive structures. Through an impressive browsing feature, visitors can aurally move through the audio clips contained within the archive, such as an interview with a Taiwanese tourist and a voice mail from a concerned fellow fire fighter based in Austin to his fellow firefighters. Visitors can also search all of the materials by theme, such as commute, elevators, witness, work, and concourse. (Source: Scout Report)

EarToons by Tom Lamar
 

Resources

 

Steven Feld: Suikinkutsu: A Japanese Underground Water Zither. Volox 106 2006 Volox Documentary Sound Art

CD Review
Steven Feld's Suikinkutsu: A Japanese Underground Water Zither
VoLox / EarthEar
Reviewed by Dave Aftandilian (ASAE)

In this new soundscape recording, ethnomusicologist Steven Feld introduces listeners to a Japanese instrument known as the suikinkutsu.Suikinkutsu literally translates as “water-zither-cave,” and is a fascinating cross between a garden ornament and an outdoor musical installation. Originating in the mid-17th century Edo period, the suikinkutsu was traditionally associated with washing for the tea ceremony. Water drips from the stone basin into a partly filled underground ceramic bowl that rests in a bed of gravel. The dripping sound resembles that of the koto zither. Amplified by the ceramic bowl, the sound resonates in the basin and is projected up through hollow bamboo tubes into the garden. The hidden nature of the suikinkutsu is said to intensify the pleasure of listening to it.
     For this single, hour-long piece, Feld recorded the suikinkutsu of Enko-ji Temple in Kyoto on a hot August afternoon. The suikinkutsu is accompanied by waves of rising and falling cicada drones, an integral part of the soundscape of summer in western Japan.
     At one level, Suikinkutsu is quite soothing. The slow, resonant dripping of the water helps one enter a peaceful, reflective frame of mind. As I listened I found myself drifting back to childhood, when I would spend hours looking out the window on a rainy summer afternoon, watching rain drip from the eaves and hearing it splash into ephemeral puddles in the grass, feeling my troubles gently washed away.
     Yet the more deeply I listened to these simple sounds, at once completely familiar and utterly foreign, the more I found to hear. Focusing on the cicadas reminds me of how deafening they can be when heard while walking beneath summer trees; how small one feels when dwarfed by their cacophonous choruses. And in the hollow drips of the instrument, the trickles and echoes, and the silences between them, I began to hear melodies—melodies that would be unique to each suikinkutsu depending on its particular design, placement in the garden, and the time of the year in which it was heard. Listening to one particular suikinkutsu so deeply, so intensely, feels like a kind of immortality; a chance to enter a timeless place in which each moment hangs like a jewel in the air, stunning in its radiant uniqueness, yet also, at another level, just like every other instant that ever has or will pass.

Reprinted by Permission from Sound Mark: Newsletter of the ASAE - Winter, 2007.



December 2006 - MIT Press
7x9, 436 pp., 20 illus.
$39.95/£25.95 (CLOTH)

ISBN-10:
0-262-02605-8
ISBN-13:
978-0-262-02605-5

Read More Online

Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture by Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter.

In Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?, Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter examine auditory spatial awareness by attentive listening.
     The audible attributes of physical space have always contributed to the fabric of human culture, as demonstrated by prehistoric multimedia cave paintings, classical Greek open-air theaters, Gothic cathedrals, acoustic geography of French villages, modern music reproduction, and virtual spaces in home theaters. Auditory spatial awareness is a prism that reveals a culture's attitudes toward hearing and space. Some listeners can learn to "see" objects with their ears, but even without training, we can all hear spatial geometry such as an open door or low ceiling.
     Integrating contributions from a wide range of disciplines--including architecture, music, acoustics, evolution, anthropology, cognitive psychology, audio engineering, and many others--Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? establishes the concepts and language of aural architecture. These concepts provide an interdisciplinary guide for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of how space enhances our well-being. Aural architecture is not the exclusive domain of specialists. Accidentally or intentionally, we all function as aural architects.
     As a former Professor at MIT and a founder of digital audio, Barry Blesser has spent the last 40 years working at the junction of audio, acoustics, perception, and cognitive psychology. Linda-Ruth Salter, Ph.D., is an independent scholar who has spent the last 25 years focusing on the interdisciplinary relationship of art, space, culture, and technology.


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OPPORTUNITIES


Call for papers, compositions, and round table discussions
Sound, Music, and the  Moving Image
Institute  of Musical  Research Senate House,  University  of London
10-12 September 2007

The conference theme is ‘Sound, Music and the Moving Image’, and we intend this in the broadest possible sense. Bringing  together practitioners and scholars from various disciplines, the conference will provide the opportunity to reflect on and challenge prevailing approaches to the sound/music and moving image relationship, and also to propose new directions in this dynamic field.
     We hope that submissions will reflect work being carried out in the widest variety of musical traditions, cultural contexts, and methodological approaches.
     For more information please contact the conference conveners:  julie.brown@rhul.ac.uk or info@miguelmera.com
Further information, including registration details, will be posted on the conference website.

Accepting Submissions - Atrium Sound Space. The Atrium Sound Space gallery is accepting submissions of multi-CD based sound installations for programming consideration.
    The Atrium Sound Space is a gallery for sound installations located in the lobby of Benildus Hall, on the College of Santa Fe campus in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dedicated to presenting sound installations as sonic environment in public spaces, the Atrium Sound Space runs continuously throughout the year - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    Though the Atrium Sound Space will be formally launched in early Fall 2006, it has already hosted installation pieces by Peter Swanzy and Al Margolis (in conjunction with the Santa Fe International Festival of Electroacoustic Music), and Steven M. Miller. The Fall schedule will be announced in September.
    Sound artists interested in submitting pieces for programming consideration can find technical specifications and submission guidelines/information on the Atrium Sound Space submissions page.

SoundTransit. SoundTransit is a collaborative online community dedicated to field recording and phonography. If you are a phonographer, you also contribute your recordings for others to enjoy. The Creative Commons Attribution license encourages the sharing and reuse of all sounds on this website.
     In the "Book" section of this site, you can plan a sonic journey through various locations recorded around the world. And in the "Search" section, you can search the database for specific sounds by member artists from many different places. Enjoy SoundTransit online.


WFAE MEMBERSHIP

Become a member of a WFAE Affiliate organization. See membership information and download a membership form from the WFAE Web site. The EarthEar audio disc catalog is now offering a 10% discount to all WFAE members. Just enter the coupon code "WFAE" on the first page of the online shopping cart. International orders: please remember to use the drop-down menu.

WFAE BOARD AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS

WFAE AFFILIATE WEB SITES:

  • American Society for Acoustic Ecology (ASAE)
  • Australian Forum for Acoustic Ecology (AFAE)
  • Canadian Association for Sound Ecology (CASE/ACÉS)
  • Forum fuer Klanglandschaft (FKL)
  • Japanese Association for Sound Ecology (JASE)
  • Suomen Akustisen Ekologian Seura (Finnish Society for Acoustic Ecology),(FSAE)
  • UK and Ireland Soundscape Community (UKISC). John Drever <ukisc@wfae.net>

NEWSLETTER AND JOURNAL ARCHIVES:

Archive: Back issues of the WFAE Newsletter are archived online. Click Here to access this collection dating back 2004.

Past Journal Issues Online.The Journal Editorial Committee has added Soundscape Vol. 4, No.2 and Soundscape Vol. 5, No.1 as online editions. These may be accessed through the WFAE web site, or as a special section of this newsletter. Past editions of the Journal are added two years after publication.

This online newsletter is a supplement to Soundscape:The Journal of Acoustic Ecology published by the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology. Our goal is to make available a bimonthly calendar of events, announcements, opportunities, and latest news from the WFAE Board, Affiliates, and other sources in the field of acoustic ecology.
   This publication is made possible by news contributions from Hildi Westerkamp, Harold Clark, Robert MacNevin, Gary Ferrington, and the many members of the international affiliate organizations of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology.
Please see the Contributions Section on how to submit material to this publication.

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