"Macro-Lens for the Ear"



For the SDG's 2012 contribution, we created focused on sounds that are missed or not heard in the din of everyday life. Like a magnifying glass reveals the geometric complexity of a fly's eye or the structural coloration of a butterfly's scales, we're asked for entries that reveal the small details sounds we take for granted as well as those that are hidden from most ears.."

The result is an amalgamation of sound designers, composers and sonic artists from all over the world interpreting  "Macro-lens for the ear".

Curated by Anthony Mattana



-Track 1
SUBMITTED BY: Bassam Yaqout, Egypt.
SUBJECT: Let's Go Tour Grand Pa.
DESCRIPTION: A kid is asking his Grandfather to tour with him. Listen what he hears.

-Track 2
SUBMITTED BY: John Leonard, United Kingdom.
SUBJECT: Ghost In The (Time) machine.
DESCRIPTION: Ghost In The (Time) machine came about as I was backing up a number of recordings of the ticking of two clocks and one watch on to a portable hard-drive. The three clocks were separated by about two hundred years each - one tower clock from the 16th century, one incredibly ornate and valuable Japanese clock from the 18th century and the wrist-watch belonging to my wife's grandfather from the early twentieth century. As I saved the files to the portable drive, I could hear the data being written to the disc with a tiny scratchy sound and that, along with the drive start-up whine, became the basis for this short ad-hoc piece. I used a Izotope's IRIS to process the sounds for the abstract layers and Nuendo and Altiverb to mix and and add a reverb derived from a huge mausoleum to the original sounds. And of course, for non-Mac users, I should explain that Apple's data backup program is called Time Machine.

-Track 3
SUBMITTED BY: Nela Brown, United Kingdom.
SUBJECT: (not so) quiet garden
DESCRIPTION: I always thought of my garden as a quiet and tranquil suburban sanctuary, away from all the noise and hubbub of the inner city university campus where I work. Listening to its soundscape being amplified through my sound recorder, I started noticing the distant racket of the neighbours doing DIY, police cars, ambulance sirens and the air traffic. No doubt these sounds were always there, but over the years I just stopped noticing them. What a bliss it would be if I could also stop noticing the rolling noise, the flanging noise, the structure-borne noise and the rail squeal whilst travelling on the London underground!

-Track 4
SUBMITTED BY: Erik T. Lawson, United States.
SUBJECT: Nine John Cage Haiku Selected at Random and Copied to a Scratched MiniDisc
DESCRIPTION: Nine John Cage Haiku Selected at Random and Copied to a Scratched MiniDisc explores the inaccuracy between a sender and a receiver. The sender, on the left channel, is delivering information (in random order) from a compact disc featuring multiple copies of John Cage's Seven Haiku. The receiver, on the right channel, is a MiniDisc. The MiniDisc has a word scratched on the surface, and is unable to accurately receive the information from the sender.

-Track 5
SUBMITTED BY: Gintas K, Lithuania.
DESCRIPTION: Innuendos, banalities, crackles, micro sound, sound granules, softness.

-Track 6
SUBMITTED BY: Gintas K, Lithuania.
SUBJECT: minimal2
DESCRIPTION: Innuendos, banalities, crackles, micro sound, sound granules, softness.

-Track 7
SUBMITTED BY: Joe Pino, United States.
SUBJECT: "Ingraham Dixie dollar pocket watch" made circa 1935
DESCRIPTION: I miss the sound of clockworks in the age of quartz and atomic and digital. There is something magical about the intricacy of hundreds of tiny machined parts that create the movement of a watch. This is a cheap pocket watch from the 1930s - it cost 79¢ near as I can tell. It has a slightly unusual mechanism for a pocket watch - it's called a pin-pallet escapement and it's what makes the watch so cheap. It also gives it a very distinct sound as it moves. The first half of the recording is over the face of the watch (with it's "Non-Breakable" crystal!) and then I flip it over so the second half is the back of the watch facing the microphone.

-Track 8
SUBMITTED BY: Rick Thomas, United States.
SUBJECT: Intruders at the Bird Feeder
DESCRIPTION: It all started peaceably enough. Sparrows, goldfinches, even cardinals gathered at the bird feeders for their morning ritual. A single cricket provides the backbeat. The odd flying insect zips in and out of the scene. A hot, dry but relatively calm day in West Lafayette Indiana, USA. Then suddenly, without warning, their tranquil day would be interrupted.

-Track 9
SUBMITTED BY: Rick Thomas, United States.
SUBJECT: Squeaky Chair
DESCRIPTION: Tom and Emma and Rick sat on the patio overlooking the lake. Emma became discontented because her chair had a nasty squeak. Tom volunteered to grab some lubricant and fix the problem. He soon returned and bent down under Emma’s seat to access the problem area. “How’s that honey?” Tom asked. Emma swiveled. Squeak! “I think you need to get it in a little deeper,” Emma replied. “Can you lift your leg?” Tom asked. It soon became apparent that the conversation had a decided double meaning, particularly from Rick’s vantage point—since he could only see Emma, and not Tom, who had disappeared underneath Emma’s seat. Tom and Emma proceeded to embellish on this as Tom continued to attempt to relieve her squeaky seat. When it became apparent that no amount of lubricant would fix Emma’s squeaky seat, Tom and Emma obliged Rick with a brief concert of the problem.

-Track 10
SUBMITTED BY: Steven Brown, United Kingdom.
SUBJECT: Sweeping My Desk (with an Induction Coil Pick-Up)
DESCRIPTION: My desk, like most peoples I'm sure, is covered in electronic and electrical items. Using a Induction Coil Pick-Up I swept my desk, collecting and recording the hidden sounds these items make.

I simply swept the induction coil from left to right and right to left stopping at devices which made for me the most interesting sounds. I was amazed at some of the tones my hard drives made (towards the end of the recording) and will investigate and hopefully use these further.

The devices on my desk which I recorded were -

Sony Vaio Laptop
BenQ Monitor
Various Lacie and Seagate Hard Drives
Blackberry mobile phone
Thompson wireless router
Soundcraft 124 mixer
A couple of old Fostex self powered monitors
A desk lamp
A small, broken, Arduino project!
Presonus USB Audiobox Interface

These invisible sounds of devices talking to and sometimes ignoring each other surrounds us every day...

-Track 11
SUBMITTED BY: Taylor Kirk, United States.
SUBJECT: The Sound of an Airport Pub
DESCRIPTION: I was sitting in the airport in Austin, Tx the other day waiting for my 3 hour delayed plane to get here and did some recording. It is interesting to me because waiting at the airport pub is something we have all done but the entertainment that can exist in this perturbed waiting state is actually quite interesting.

-Track 12
SUBMITTED BY: Anthony Mattana, United States.
SUBJECT: The Last Living Breaths of a Hard Drive With Moving Parts: A Musical Interpretation
DESCRIPTION: I started thinking about this concept shortly after Apple released its new line of of laptops which do not contain a disc drive nor an internal hard drive with moving parts. We all know the familiar sounds of a disc drive revving up inside of a laptop, or a hard drive moving around when bouncing a massive sound file.

In a way to stay true to this year's concept, I decided to compose a somewhat emotional response to what I think the last living hard drive with internal moving parts would express while lying on its technological deathbed waiting for flash memory to take over the world. Ha.