Tuesday, October 31, 2006

audio pugilism

it feels later than the clock shows, thanks to falling back this past weekend. at the moment my ears are duking it out over two distinct sounds. one is the irregular delivery of high-pitched squeals coming through the floorboards from my eighteen-month old neighbor downstairs which, frankly, sound a lot like the wailing of a very agitated teenager in the throes of desperate sex. i was first awoken by these cries about a week ago and am hoping that the kiddo soon learns a new way to vocalize her wants and needs to the entire neighborhood.

the other sound is coming from my stereo - violin and cello and guitars and percussion combined on a record by
the clogs called 'stick music.' what i keep telling myself: it does no good to fret about not having learned of a band years earlier when everyone else was enthralled. most of the time the right music will find you in due time, sometimes with a little external guidance, and the best part is that all that time you had no idea what you were missing. isn't it time you shared some recordings that you think are special with a friend?

i'm happy to report that as this post comes to a close all baby noises have abated and i'm left with the some beautiful music to listen to, as little monsters, witches, devils and maybe a hand-me-down shrek traipse around the block, hauling away treasure troves of fun-sized candies. here comes november.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

speaking of festivals...

i'd be remiss not to mention the obvious... next week brings the
third coast festival conference to town. it's too late to register for the gathering (very sorry but we've run out of space) but there's a whole mess of related audio hoopla you can enjoy in evanston and chicago. and the good folks over at transom and open source will be keeping a steady blog about what's going on throughout the conference. including photos in case you're interested in seeing what 350 radioheads gathered to talk shop actually look like. and how they dance.

favorite chicago sounds redux

the word 'redux' brings immediate memories of browsing the huge bookcase in the basement of my parents' house and seeing 'rabbit redux' by john updike, and always wondering what sort of book about bunnies a Grown Up would write. i can still picture the font along the spine perfectly. VERY seventies.

ahem. to the post.

a while back i mentioned a project called 'your chicago favorite sounds,' which, obviously enough, is collecting people's favorite chicago sounds. here's an update - there's now a website where you can submit yr thoughts. the project's also part of the upcoming Outer Ear Festival, which i'll write more about soon.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

all the live long day

get some rest, there's a 24 hour arts festival closing in on chicago, including plenty of sound-based performances, from the listening queen pauline oliveros to jazz king fred anderson.

chicago calling takes place from 12:01 am - 11:59 pm, wednesday, october 25th. that's CST, people, AND it's picasso's birthday*. throughout the day chicago-based artists will showcase work that involves collaboration with artists from all over the world. performances will take place in venues all over the city and through live feeds from faraway places too. if you're NOT attending the third coast festival conference i suspect this would be a fine way to spend some of your wednesday, october 25th, 2006.

*in honor of the day, maybe you'd like to play mr. picassohead?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

the trill

no, i never really thought i'd blog about my cat. but it's been awhile since i've written about anything, and it snowed today in chicago and the trill is ON right now, and so...here we are.

i just picked a splinter out of my hand, which was acquired while reaching deeply back between the piano and the wall to extricate not one, not two, but THREE mousies from the darkness where pony (the cat) swatted them all in the last couple weeks. actually i suspect one's been nesting in there for over a year.

each cat toy was filthy, coated with a combination of cat hair, dust and whatever else lives behind the piano. pony was ecstatic to see her long lost friends and immediately began pacing nervously as soon as they were liberated. i stashed two away and put one on the floor, where she could have at it. as soon as i left the room - the trilling began.

if you have a cat you may know the sound i'm talking about. it's deeply high pitched, is sung regularly and comes out like a frustrated, rhetorical question. the trilling carries a half dozen tones at once. think bleating lamb. think devastated creature. think ancient. it's a prophetic voice, warning of inconceivable horrors, upcoming. even though it's courting a small package of fabric and stuffing meant to resemble (apparently) a mouse.

so that's how things sound over here tonight. until pony swats her dear friends back behind the piano or under the couch, or somewhere else i'll probably hurt myself retrieving them from,
where they'll soon after attain 'out of sight, out of mind' status.