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Monday, December 19, 2011

Psyops, Sonic Warfare, The Rumbler and Goodman

Great video showing the aggressively initiated cultural contamination. Very little is concerned with sonics but the clip with the Psyops guy walking through a field with loudspeakers on his backpack is worth watching. The smugly superior commentary is tragic.

Also, check out Disinformation - Sonic Warfare (embedding disabled).

...and now we leap to The Rumbler

you can listen to The Rumbler, or right click save as from here (from Wired magazine).

Steve Goodman, snippet:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Auditions 11/12 Thematic Universe (for reference)

Auditions 11/12 Thematic Universe

I/ Listening to Sonic and Vocal Manipulations, Affects, and ‘Covert Control’

  • M: sound and silence in political speech. Not talking, the space between sentences, the musicality and manipulation of political speech.

  • T: sound and cerebral or sonic manipulation, sonic warfare

  • G: the voice in neoliberalism / ‘if you don’t have anything to say you don’t exist’ /Chion/Cinema

  • L: sound as a trigger, sound as interpellation, the aural and visual in commercials, the emotive call of pop songs, coercive nostalgia. Why do we feel this way?  [Example: Dustin Hoffman for Sky Atlantic]
Possible References 

Jacques Attali. Noise, the Political Economy of Music
Butler, Judith.  Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative 1997
Derrida, Signature, Event, Context
Jacques Derrida, "Speech and Phenomena: And Other Essays on Husserl's Theory of Signs, tr. David B. Allison
(Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 1973)."

  • Michel Chion

Dissolution of the Notion of Timbre


differences (2011) 22(2-3): 235-239doi:10.1215/10407391-1428906

Althusser – IS and ISA, in reader
Zizek, On Ideology
Dolar, The  Voice and Nothing More
Noise and Capitalism, (various authors) online
Caroline Bassett
Twittering Machines: Antinoise and Other Tricks of the Ear
differences (2011) 22(2-3): 276-299doi:10.1215/10407391-1428924
Suely Rolnik. The Geopolitics of Pimping http://eipcp.net/transversal/1106/rolnik/en/print

II/ What is Heard and What is not…Listening to/As Politics

R: Meta-narratives (Foucault), re-writing/sounding histories, the ‘truth’, documentary, sounding those who have been forgotten by history, the ‘low type’

C: Sound of spaces, listening to animism/objects and people, what kind of ‘community’ is constituted beyond the human?

J: ‘We can hear people’s pain’. What does is mean to listen to ‘political pain’ or to pain politically…unspoken conditions (the internship, the difficulty of obtaining a visa) and how they might or might not be heard.

Possible References
Keenan, from reader
Jacques Ranciere, Disagreement
Crimp, Mourning and Melancholia
Deleuze, G or Massumi B, on Affect (Milles Plateaux)
Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (from reader)
Spivak, G. Can the Subaltern Speak?
Ultra-red : What is the sound of the war on the poor (online)
Mara Mills On Disability and Cybernetics: Helen Keller, Norbert Wiener, and the Hearing Glove
Suely Rolnik,  Deleuze, Schizzoanalyst: http://www.e-flux.com/journal/deleuze-schizoanalyst/ 
From Stethoscopes to Headphones: An Acoustic Spatialization of Subjectivity

III/ Listening / Perceiving/ Knowing and Not Knowing

B: Not knowing/unknowing
Shifting paradigms of knowledge related to sound and listening. What do we hear? at a very fundamental level i.e. in terms of perception
(example from art project or from listening session in class). Things happen in recordings that you don’t hear when you are there. What is the ‘truth’ of a sound? How can it be trusted?
On what grounds are desire for truth constructed? What are the affects on subjectivity/life when this knowing/unknowing occurs? What regimes of knowledge are unsettled?
Upon what are these regimes based?

F: Listening in relation to perception and the audio-visual [Chion] contract in a moment of misunderstanding Pasolini, knowing it only partially, through the visual. How to write from the anecdote, 
How do we theorise from situations in the everyday?

Possible References
Foucault, Power/Knowledge 
Foucault, the Archaeology of Knowledge
Merleau Ponty, The Primacy of Perception, Introduction I and III 
Michel Chion, Guide to Sound Objects, tr. John Dack and Christine North (unpublished manuscript, 2009); originally published as Guide des Objets Sonores: Pierre Schaeffer et la recherché musicale, Paris: Éditions 
Cogan on The Phenomenological Reduction in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy -see http://www.iep.utm.edu Buchet/Chastel, 1983/1995);http://www.ears.dmu.ac.uk (last accessed 4 May 2011).
Francis Dyson, "The Ear that would Hear Sounds in Themselves: John Cage, 1935-1965," in Douglas Kahn and Gregory Whitehead, ed, Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio, and the Avant-Garde (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1992): 376-77.
Luc Ferrari, "I was running in so many different directions," tr. Alexandra Boyle, in Contemporary Music Review 15
(1996): 95 - 102.
Iain Chambers Sounds from the South in differences (2011) 22(2-3): 300-312doi:10.1215/10407391-1428933
The Acoustic Mirror: The Female Voice in Psychoanalysis and Cinema (Indiana University Press, 1988)
Pauline Oliveros, On Sonic Meditation p.1-10 [elliot to upload onto blog] but first published in 1976 in the Painted Bride 
Jane Gallop: Anecdotal Theory. Durham: Duke University Press, 2002.

IV/ Listening at and Beyond the Limit

C: What can be thought from the position of illegality?
What political and theoretical potentials open up? Is there an ‘autonomous freedom’ in the illegal position. How do we listen to illegality? How might we ‘listen to the illegal’?

J: Building from experience, from the experience of recording utterance.  What are the ethics, accountabilities and formal processes that emerge from the experience of recording found sounds? [in relation to ongoing work on a housing estate] .

E&J: What is the sound of the limit of the classroom?
-       time as a limit, scoring what we have done together so far
-       where can we hear the limit i.e. the administration of the limit of who can come and who cannot, of where and how teaching is done, of the marketisation of the teacher student relationship.

Possible References [ more work to be done here!]

Charles Stankievech From Stethoscopes to Headphones: An Acoustic Spatialization of Subjectivity
Jane Gallop: Anecdotal Theory. Durham: Duke University Press, 2002.
Grace Lee Boggs, Freedom Schooling http://monthlyreview.org/2000/12/01/freedom-schooling
Alternative White Paper: In Defence of Public
Higher Education can be found here: 

Ultra-red. Fifteen Sounds of the War on the Poor.

Cornelius Cardew, The Ethics of Improvisation http://www.ubu.com/papers/cardew_ethics.html

- - - - 

The new issue of the journal differences is on sound.

We have included some of the articles in the list above but the issue as a whole can be found at http://differences.dukejournals.org/content/current

Research Notes (Goodman Rips)

Pretty much all my interests are mentioned in the first 3 chapters of Steve Goodmans Sonic Warfare. His notes are an interesting warren. I've picked out some. 3rd one down, the recording of Tape No. 10 for the Wandering Soul project from the US Psyops on the Vietcong -  features an audio track that was played at high volume through the trees to taunt them (the Vietcong).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Adam Harper on Cornelius Cardew's Alien Scores

There is a great little article by Adam Harper of Rouge's Foam in the Epiphanies page at the back of this months The Wire magazine (335). It's all about Cornelius Cardew's 'Treatise' score. You can check out some other pieces of Cardew's work over on Ubuweb. Here's a video of Treatise:

After all the discussion of form, mode of investigation I felt there's a nice parallel to be found whilst contemplating Cardew's scores - the undefined exterior..., and this also ties in with my investigations into sub-sonic 'sounds' and infra-sonic 'sounds': sounds outside our listening range, inaudible sounds... So much of sound is outside the simple logos that's presented (or projected?) - like the Chion text, the meaning is often generated internally, it's heard between the ear-drums.... it's there in our soul or our minds - Cardew's scores remind me of this. Here are some images of his scores:

Page 134

Page 72

Page 29


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lyre bird..

This is the most fascinating thing that I have ever heard... Don't even need all the technologies we have to copy the sounds that one can hear.. This actually pushes the frustration of disbelieving your hearing even further..


For those who are interested, I think this is the advert that Laxmi was talking about it the class..

P.S. Sorry, didn't know how to attach video, so hopefully this will work just fine.

Sine Burst files

Carey - Check out these sine burst files, they go from 20hz to 200hz - my speakers can't really handle the 20hz, they just click, infact they only sound bass-y and rounded from 50hz - that's still very low for music...

Do you have a sub? It'd be nice to really hear, or rather feel, the lower sine bursts.

If we had 2 subs we could use slightly different Hz to experiment with stimulating frequencies in an academic space.....

> 40 HzGamma wavesHigher mental activity, including perception, problem solving, fear, and consciousness
13–39 HzBeta wavesActive, busy or anxious thinking and active concentration, arousal, cognition, and or paranoia
covert aural stimulation....


Oh wow: Hypnagogic Sounds - not what you're thinking all you Wire subscribers ;-)

See Richard Wiseman's Infrasonic Research

For low frequency induced 'apparitions': http://www.richardwiseman.com/resources/Something-in-the-Cellar.pdf

Ideas and Refs (Dolar to Goodman?)

Just a few things I'll be pondering over.

Noise and Capitalism (thanks Janna)

Like I have said over on Vocalities blog about the schism of the voice into an extimatic dyad comprising of the alogos exo-remnant and the logosified (mutilated) main - language, I feel that sound also succumbs to this schism. Most sounds are now language, sonic cues and aural signs (hence Chion's quad's existence, or need to be used - the sign doesn't need to be studied, we don't listen to all sounds, we just read) - I'd like to use the above phenomena as a jump off to start questioning how, and why these sonics are so effective - I presume it's because they operate through an intrinsically internal platform, but not mediated by 'listening' - see binaurals - or are simply outside of our listening 'reading', exo-logos, -  see Infrasound perhaps. To map this out is my first task - then perhaps later I can start investigating the connected politics, sonic-ethics, and spatial existence.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Brown Note

Tristam was talking about sonic emitters as weaponry in Auditions this afternoon. Made me wonder about gestural interfaces such as the theremin, which registers how close one is to two ariels, pitch and volume, and emits sound correspondingly. Also began thinking about the brown note.

The brown note "is a theoretical infrasonic frequency that would cause humans to lose control of their bowels due to resonance." [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_note]. Mythbusters attempted to bust the myth, see below. Watch as Barthe's "stupid organ", the lungs (The Grain of the Voice), get a workout.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Texts and Questions

Anyone have thoughts on the texts? I just finished the Chion text, loved it, massive creative potential for extrapolating a seam to mine (like, excavate), I think his 4 modes of listening could be transposed onto the endless maze of dyads, syzygies extimacies, apollonian, dionysian, collective and individual, objective and subjective, logos (authority) and alogos (animal) that I'm a little obsessed with right now (see this rant over on the Vocalities blog)....the ear drum as sonic dyad, subjective and external, sound object and pareidolia are pretty big questions for me right now. Especially in relation of collective/individual/control/authority themes.

Freedman's Tyranny of the Tyranny seemed (in light of Cathy Levine's response) to almost become performative for all the wrong reasons, I just put it down and felt that each writer was pushing a view, an opinion of a preferred and prescriptive model of future activity... they were both arguing for control and dominance, and so even by arguing against specific forms of activity or by arguing for them - any autonomy of the movement is eroded. So if a movement's effectiveness is through atomized emancipation or by localized direction the whole freedom of the movement is still jeopardised. In short, as soon as you have the discussion about best route forwards, the movement loses autonomy (even if paradoxically the outcome for the movement is to gain autonomy).

Has anyone had any thoughts about the following?

*what question they would like to work on?
* in relation to to what concrete issue/sound does this question address
*to what/who you will need to read, listen to or watch to answer this question

Friday, December 9, 2011

Solar Bb6

Absolutely love this Craig Colorusso piece Francesca, Ear Room is a quality blog

Ear Room


This is a very interesting blog as well.
Interviews and presentations of artists and their research that concentrate on sound and space.

En abîme

As mentioned already this blog is definitely worth checking it out.

Why don't we organise an event and invite Daniela for a talk or reading and maybe combine this with a live performance?
I would also have some suggestions for performance and sound artists that we could ask to come and visit.
If I remember correctly Janna said we could eventually use the space in the centre for possible studies.
I think this could be really interesting, not only for us but also for the contemporary art theory people.

Thoughts, please!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Auditions Listening Notes: Feed Me Data + What is the sound of the limit of the classroom?

Feed Me Data

groups of voices sound like bees
or humming of electrical devices
these are walls of sound that restrict us
words jump out like mistakes
conversations overlaid with general

sea of people
spoken chant / prayer group
moving on all sides
anxious movement
center body

train station
small ants running around
a closed space, little sense of space or movement
sharp voices, nervous people talking too quickly
clicks & cluckles

What is the sound of the limit of the classroom?

song in the sound is two waves
the whisper is a part
distance from ‘us’ determines the significance
the singing grates in me – it is forcing something on me
popping of microphone is the sound I am most curious about. It is white, but …
other sounds (not the song) are more open …

it was an audition
the sound object is not a line. It is more like a zone?

working together

disappearance of the sound;
mixing of the sounds;
movement ?!

choral music
depth vector
people talking
mic jolts
(echo’s well! J)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Auditions Listening Notes + Sound, Nick Lands Meltdown and Binaural Frequencies

Smaller space

Feed me data-man in flat cap whistling – cluh ching – tills whistles, bleeps, plastic bags whispering to people – fridge hums – resonance – warmth – bass – denseness

Cash machine
Plastic bag – silver
Universe of sound
Gradual envelope (bass)

Cash register
Silvery sounds
Rustling bags
Sheets of sound
Electrical whirring noise
Reminds me of plane engines
Takes over the space

Enclosed space
Not an empty room
Conversation (not clear)

Cutlery clinking
Chairs on floor
“no it’s not”
accident with trestle table
voices knit together
nothing rises to the surface
space created by the sound is leaden  - - maybe warm, enclosed!?!
The recorder signs off with a thud
Speech is a pattern not a series of words
Sound has no pace, it just is
We can’t hear the listening yet

Public private / private
Becoming a part / / intruding
Being aware.
Feed me data 1 – airy.  – moving air. -  rushes of doors, peoples breath. Soft Floors.

Harsh sounding voices-  felt acoustic and fragile. A fragile building.
Buzzes, etc
Feverish activity of sounds


Background to foreground

“can’t hear the person listening”
“oh! Ouch!”

“Hmmm, hmm”

“I literally”

Auditions Notes chop up X Arch Carrier (short) by V1V1AN

listened to Nick Lands Meltdown this morning... lead to this... I'm very interested in taking the life out of voice - voco-mortism...so I just copied our notes into a reader and set them against Arch Carrier by Autechre - something to do with mirroring the cold flatness of the sonic world we dont hear ( due to our natural aural bias, aural acutism), part of getting to the cold mic... there are lots of surprisingly impersonal and hostile adjectives in our notes, so autechre seemed like a natural option for sonically conjuring our barren present...

edit - binaural sounds and the 'science' behind it is quite interesting too.... sort of tags on from my post on vocalities about Sirens

Video: - (7hz) Beat Frequency - - (100hz) Base Frequency -

Theta Brain Waves Information ( 4 to 8 Hz) :

•4.5 Hz - Brings about Shamanic/Tibetan state of consciousness, Tibetan chants.
•4.9 Hz - Induce relaxation and deeper sleep
•4.9 Hz - Introspection. Relaxation, meditation
•5 Hz - Reduces sleep required. Theta replaces need for extensive dreaming
•5.35 Hz - Allows relaxing breathing, free and efficient
•5.5 Hz - Inner guidance, intuition
•6.5 Hz - Centre of Theta frequency. Activates creative frontal lobe
•7.5 Hz - Activates creative thought for art, invention, music. Problem solving
•7.5 Hz - Ease of overcoming troublesome issues
•7.83 Hz - Schumann earth resonance. Grounding, meditative, Leaves you revitalized
•3 - 8 Hz - Deep relaxation, meditation. Lucid dreaming
•3 - 8 Hz - Increased memory, focus, creativity
•4 - 7 Hz - Profound inner peace, emotional healing. Lowers mental fatigue
•4 - 7 Hz - Deep meditation, near-sleep brainwaves

---------------- What are theta brainwaves? ---------------

Theta brainwaves are considered extremely relaxing brainwave activity that is commonly associated with sleep and dreaming. Theta brainwaves are high in amplitude and cycle within the range of 4 -- 8 Hz and are usually generated in the brains right hemisphere. Theta waves kick in when we feel emotional, relaxed, daydreamy, unfocused, or are asleep. Theta brainwaves are generally thought of as the brainwaves that are dominant in people with A.D.D., high levels of relaxation, high levels of creativity, and random thinking. The theta brainwave is considered the brainwave pattern that is dominant in deeply relaxed, dream sleep.

Theta brain waves typically range from 4 Hz to 8 Hz. Theta brain waves are associated with the "subconscious mind" and are usually produced in the right-hemisphere of the brain - as opposed to beta brain waves, which are produced in the left-hemisphere and are associated with the "conscious mind." The brain creates theta brain wave rhythms each time you are in "dream sleep." Also, during R.E.M. [Rapid-Eye Movement] sleep, the brain is full of theta brain wave activity.

Nearly 3/5 of your entire time spent sleeping at night involves the production of theta brain waves in your brain. Many individuals also are able to access theta brain waves when they are: driving for a long stretch on the highway, practicing their meditation routine, using a self-hypnosis recording, or practicing other forms of deep relaxation. When you are able to consciously access the alpha brain waves state, you are just one step away from accessing the depths of theta.

What's cool about theta brain waves is the fact that they allow you to connect with your "subconscious mind." The subconscious mind is the place where all experiences, long-term memories, natural creativity, powerful emotions, spiritual connections, and inspiration are all stored. Think of the "subconscious mind" as one big, infinite storage space for "everything" in your life. The theta brain waves are extremely helpful for healing the body of injury and the mind of diseased-states

--------------Benefits of increasing theta brainwaves----------

•Deep levels of relaxation
•Bridges the spiritual connection
•O.O.B.E. , Astral Projection, Esp, Other related phenomenon
•Advanced intuition
•Subconscious connection
•Ability to program subconscious mind
•Emotional connection
•Peak levels of creativity
•Advanced problem solving skills
•Large boost in learning ability
•Improved long-term memory
•Ability to hyperfocus
•Lower anxiety, stress, and neurosis
•Healing of body and mind


To find more detailed information on Binaural Beats and Brainwaves please visit -

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Great Other - December Trauma

"That's December at Goldsmiths!" Said Janna. December trauma...

After some discussion in Vocalities about Lacanian mutilation of the amorphous being, the chopping and screwing of life into signifiers - the reducing of the essence of meaning into semiotics, signifiers and codes the question of presence arose. I felt that the constant writhing of masculine and feminine, logos and 'other' around the voice (stemming from the uncertainty - or rather impossibility of true auto-affectation) came from the same place, emerged from the same problem as the Derridian musings and implications of writing (in the broadest sense, language, notation, communication). In short, if there is a gap between my internal meaning, my truth and others and also I cannot confirm, through any means of deduction or auto affectation, my presence, then I cannot truly believe I am anymore present in the world before my eyes than a cheap signifier is present for my neighbour. I felt that the issue of presence is the problem of both the voice and writing - the metaphysical roots of which lead me to Descartes Meditations, the brain in the vat, the snowballing doubts, the malicious daemon - except I am an atheist. Opposite these excavations of presence through Voice and Logos, the experience in auditions yesterday (listening re-listening to our field recordings) compounded the notion of doubt, with each listen, I found myself splicing meaning, warping sonic focus, I was the stagehand pulling foreground to the back to the sonic arena, the cold flattening properties of the mic and speakers were of no match for my splicing, warping and projecting ears. So after thinking around the possibilities of language being un-true (not totally connected to essence of meaning), of the world being mediated by my understanding, my renegade ears muting a plethora of details despite my efforts at objective aural analysis and the doubts of my presence in the world sleeping at the back of my mind I also discovered this week that I have a stigmatism (a stigmata would be more welcome, at least some hint of an ultimate truth- please) and need to wear spectacles. My ears, my eyes, my language and my understanding are all subject to doubt, their foundations are shaky - what other avenues are available to me?

We can go back to Descartes. Cogito ergo sum, I think therefore I am. The only truth is that I exist, because I am thinking - I. It doesn't matter if I am beneath multiple dream worlds a la Inception, or if I am plugged into the Matrix, submerged in a metallic vat inside some massive mechanistic alien, sleeping in a sterile amniotic substitute. I think, that's cool, I is.

So I think how can we internalize meanings, in art, in sound, not just excepting that an art piece inevitably lives autonomous inside us but how can we set up an art piece, a mode of communication, to go straight there, or rather to commit to existing first inside - being more endo-psy than the external materials and everything else. I think of subliminal imagery. Cue classic scene from Blatty's/Friedkin's The Exorcist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD0RJ_iuBPo&feature=related (embedding disabled by Satan). Or asemic writing, or going a little more meta ergodic literature, and hypertext fictions. Structuralist film theory too, is the gap we fill as real as any depiction we interpret? Providing a platform for introspective musings, these modes 'give in' to the notion of never knowing - but conversely, by internalising the thoughts, by enjoying the art endo-cerebrally rather than extrospectively we can think the art and is this not as real as any Titian or Debussy or Burial that we cannot ever truly hear or see. Perhaps essentially, these introverted modes of experience are as valid (ontologically) as everything else?

Subliminal cues, tickling our internal switches, happen all the time, our westernised ears are trained to certain modes, these modes come from the logos-philic greeks - who chopped and mutilated sound and noise so it was language rather than soul (for that would be dangerous and tempting). But between these amputations of logos violent splicing art can still flourish.

For example, check out the wonderful Oscar Peterson talking about subliminal notes:

Can art operate, deliberately in the cracks? Can we pre-calibrate something to activate within the eye of the beholder? I conducted an interview some time ago with an american artist, Joseph Nechvatal, he made digital art and was very interested in the idea of a transcendental 'noise' in art and the viewer.

Here is a 'Number Complex' by dubdub (inspired by one of my favourite writers):

"ASCII and feed back filters, made with Pure Data & Pure Data Packet. Inspired by ()Hole Complex Theory taken from the book 'Complicity with Anonymous Materials' by Reza Negarestani.

"()Hole complex attests to the confusion between solid and void. Every activity happening on the solid part increases the degree of convolution and entanglement on the holey side of the composition..." -Reza Negarestani

Can we harness the viewers/listeners nature of apophenia, or conduct and orchestrate their pareidolia coupled with their cultural format? (A great example of this in action in popular culture is Paul is Dead - all growing from Lennon uttering "cranberry sauce" in the closing seconds of their hit 'Strawberry Fields Forever'). E.g. - have you ever heard the 'smoke on the water' riff cut short? The urge to complete the riff is tremendous. Can we orchestrate sonic (rather than musical) cues for political purposes if we know our listener(s) or can control their environment enough?

There's a wonderful article in Cabinet Magazine by George Prochnik - The Orchestra, sort of looking the other way, enquiring about how sirens (from their greek genesis) have been used as warnings, these are still being used politically and have been evolving for ever increasing efficacy. Interesting to think about how some sounds have consistent effects upon humans, guilty, innocent old or young - could these attributes be harnessed for artistic mixed media compositions, to build an experience of loaded juxtapositions and sonic cues (consciously and subliminally)?