Mar 302008

Exciting times: Ms M. right away brought the following New York Times article to my attention. Soon after, i found the acoustic ecology community is all abuzz about it:

Researchers Play Tune Recorded Before Edison

I’ve often celebrated the achievement of Edison and Redpath in bringing sound recording into this world. To learn that Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville successfully recorded sound nearly two decades before Edison and Redpath is astonishing indeed.

However, what is even more astonishing is that Scott had the brilliance to accomplish such a feat but never the forethought of recording sound for sound reproduction. He has said so in his own self-published writings when reminding us of the true, literal meaning of the word phonograph: a visual representation of sound.

Impressive as the news of his invention is, i am reminded of the many music-makers and sound artists of today who attempt to conquer many if not most of the critical decisions in their work while looking at squiggly lines on a computer screen instead of closing their eyes and listening.

We do things a little more old school in the Red Sun Soundroom. We’ve got access to the visuals of the digital editing workstation interface, sure—and do use this tool from time to time. But you’ll find we make our decisions far more often with our eyes closed and our ears peeled. It’s like tasting a dish being cooked up in the kitchen to decide it needs more cumin, and not relying solely on what’s written in the recipe from a magazine. Physical response is a key component of how we operate.

That said, listening to those few seconds of “Au Clair de la Lune” sung by an unknown voice in 1860 and recorded by Monsieur Scott gives me goosebumps.

The excitement for me, though, is in the playback, in listening to those few seconds.

That’s where the magic lives.

Send us your thoughts.

Mar 272008

We had a delightful Listening Salon just recently here at Red Sun Soundroom headquarters. Check back in a few days for the full playlist (as well as the playlist for November’s Listening Salon we never quite got around to posting—the crazy buzz, excitement, and your pleas to release it notwithstanding). You won’t want to miss it.

But first:

As long as they keep coming, we’ll keep serving them up for you to enjoy.

Here’s yet another review of Pseudophone’s Reach that hit the interweb zone a few months ago, this one in the Teutonic territories. I’d have posted this earlier, but our scholars needed time to fine-tune the proper tone of the English translation. The original review in German is here, and reads:

“Ich tue mich immer sehr schwer, elektronische Musik in ein Schublade zu tun. Sei es, weil die Schubladen eine kurzfristige Mode ausdrücken, oder sei es, weil die Übergänge fließend sind.

Also versuche ich gar nicht erst zu ergründen, ob Pseudophone’s Reach Ambient, Illbient, New Age oder einfach nur Electronica ist. Die Musik ist durch lange flächige Sounds geprägt, die sich klangmalerisch langsam weiterentwickeln. Dazu ab und zu Percussions, verhallte Samples oder Field Recordings. Die Musik lädt dazu ein, die Tür hinter sich zu schließen, sich zu entspannen und den Rest der Welt das machen zu lassen, was er so will.

Daher mein Tipp: Unbedingt ‘downloaden’!!!”

Well that’s just fine, isn’t it? I put my best team on it to give us the clearest English translation, valuing truth over misappropriated applause, of course. This is what they came up with:

“It is always very difficult for me to categorize electronic music. I don’t know if it is because the categories express a short-term trend or whether the distinctions between the categories are fluid.

I don’t try to figure out whether Pseudophone’s Reach is ‘ambient’, ‘illbient’, ‘new age’ or just plain ‘electronica’. The music is characterized by deep drones, which through time-stretching slowly evolve. Interspersed among the sounds are percussion, samples, and field recordings. The music invites the visitor to close the door, relax, and let the rest of the world go.

My tip: a must download!!!”

Translation by Robert Nunnally and Tony Thornton

And i can happily report that listeners all over the globe have been letting “the rest of the world go” by the thousands. As of this posting, we’re showing that Reach has seen a upwards around 8,000 song downloads since its release last July.

Danke schön!

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