Wednesday, August 31, 2005

daily meaning

a colleauge of mine has been working very diligently on an audio installation that you should know about.

'daily meaning' is the combined effort of 5 audio producers and 5 photographers. it's a collection of audio portraits and photographs created to catpure the stories of work situations related to this country's growing dependence on a service economy.

if you're in or near chicago, or planning a trip here soon:

daily meaning: life inside america's service industries

the peace museum
garfield park, gold dome, 2nd floor
100 north central park avenue

the opening reception is this friday, september 2nd, from 5 - 10.
but you should additionally consider stopping by when you also have time to stroll around the garfield park conservatory, just up the road and probably my favorite place in all of chicago. the exhibit will be up through october.

(bravo, ben!!)

what is the sound of sleep deprivation?!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

the sound around

believe you me, i've been listening to a lot of radio documentaries lately. which is why stumbling across the canadian broadcasting corporation's series the wire was a nearly transformative experience - despite all of the new stories in my head, my ears are still ringing from it. the series spans eight hours, all of which explore the impact of electricity on music, and is simply put --> some of the most memorable radio i've ever heard, excelling in both form (beautiful production) and function (it's informative and deeply experiential.)

the wire's website is down right now, due to a 'labour disruption' up north, but i urge urge urge you to check back until it's back up and running. you won't be able to hear the programs online (many samples of copyrighted music complicate the situation, as far as permissions issues) but there's a ton of information about the people and music featured in each show (including...john cage, steve reich, dj spooky, lawrence lessig, amon tobin, kid koala, les paul, bob moog) and there's even a nifty (and informative, to boot) interactive timeline outlining milestones in the history of electricity's impact on music.

in the meantime, if you want to actually HEAR some of it and read an interview with one of the producers responsible for bringing the series to life, we're featuring the wire over at third coast festival HQ, and have posted two 15 minute excerpts from the programs. treat yourself, if possible through headphones, and then if the spirit (or the radio) moves you to, check back in here, and let us know what you think...

Monday, August 15, 2005

grab your passport...and headphones

motion. as i sit here on my back deck, watching the planes fly to and from o'hare, wondering about points of departure and arrival destinations (shouldn't planes have bright, scrolling LED displays on their bellies revealing such things, so curious observers below could know?) i'm also taking a trip in fact, from lappland to indonesia, with stopovers in andalucia and tanzania, by way of sounds recorded in all of these places and uploaded to sound transit, my new favorite daydream- generator.

sound transit is a collaborative online travel agency for your restless, peregrine ears. field recordists, phonographers and audio artists from around the world have posted some of their richest recordings to the site, allowing visitors / fellow travelers to listen or download them individually, or as part of a self-designed itinerary.

tonight's sojourn included very crunchy footsteps in snow, fireworks off in the distance, and a full moon gamelan festival. all of which just barely trumped the roaring cicadas, which somehow are thriving even in the middle of chicago. sound transit welcomes your own sound souvenirs, so don't forget to pack your recorder, next time you venture out into the world...

[happy trails]

Thursday, August 11, 2005


LISSENUPtwo is comingup.

- sunday, august 21
- 7 to 10 pm (listening starts around 8:00)
- in logan square, chicago
- email me for directions

come snack, drink, share the company of fine people and listen to a few audio stories. i don't want to give away too much, but you'll hear from a disenchanted boil, john cage and the VP of the muzak company over the course of the evening, to name a few.

the gathering is free / bring what you will

vacant city radio

sound artist / accordionist / and basically all-inspiring humanoid anna friz can really make radio static sing. i've known anna for a few years now, and her work, which incorporates ideas ranging from the sounds inbetween stations on the dial to the people living inside the radios making those sounds (where else do you think they come from?) is consistently beautiful, often hypnotic (spooky even!) and always provocative in just the right way.

her piece vacant city radio aired on kunstradio earlier this spring, (kunstradio = art radio [literally] and is an amazing show on the national radio organization in austria - the ORF) and will also air in berlin this winter. about the piece anna writes:

"I am interested in these moments of transition between the monumental past and the generic present, particularly in the context of the relatively young cities of North America. Vacant City Radio considers ebbs in place and memory through ephemeral sonic and radiophonic representations of city, through low-watt transmissions of lost sounds manifesting in the dark corners of the dial.

the studio version of vacant city radio floats through three movements in a sojourn across remembered and radiophonic urban spaces.

not all radio delivers information through text or narration, rather for some broadcasts, the experience is the information. to this end, may i suggest you find some quiet time, plug in your headphones and get thee to the vacant city!!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

free movies for the ears

if you've always wanted to book or host a listening event, specifically one featuring strange sounds and music, weird field recordings and psychedelic musical interludes combined into one hour long crazy story resembling a post 9/11 verison of kafka's 'the trial'... well now's your chance. the new free matter for the blind release, psicklops, will be released and effectively tour the world on september 24, and you're invited to not only Get in the Van, but to also Be the Venue.

here's how, according to someone deeply in the know who's taller than you might think:

"email free matter for the blind before August 15th (SOON!) if you are interested. Mention where (city) you would want to do it, and what your general idea is. You don't have to be very specific. A few sentences will be fine."

and as soon as you've sent this inquiring email, you'll probably want to start hunting for comfortable bean bag chairs immediately...

Monday, August 08, 2005

birth of a station

i'm just back from the grassroots radio conference / prometheus project barnraising event in northampton, massachusetts, where i witnessed the final stages of a multi-year effort to bring a new low power radio station to life: valley free radio / WXOJ-LP. i can't tell you how exciting (and slightly surreal) it felt to watch (and help! participation in the process was highly encouraged) this come together, in a day and age where most news about 'new' radio service has to do with clear channel, or the religious right, or satellite radio. there's a brand new radio station on the air, RIGHT NOW!!!

in general i came away more impressed than ever (in awe, really) with the prometheus project, which considers itself 'a collective of radio activists.' this group (and anyone can be in the group. even you) travels around the world (they'll be in tanzania by the end of thursday) helping communities bring low power radio stations to life. additionally the group has lobbied for legislation to change current federal laws concerning media ownership, and by all accounts has become a force to be reckoned with. a force for good, that is.

for those in the chicago area, or anyone that's just waiting for an excuse to
visit the windy city, rumor has it that the next prometheus 'barnraising' (station-building) will take place this november, in champaign-urbana - not so far. check back here, as i'll be posting more information then. all volunteers will be welcome, this i know already.

not only did i witness the birth of a new radio station over the weekend, i also caught an unexpected acoustic performance by thurston moore at a live taping of 'democracy now!'
really, the weekend gave me hope. Big Hope.