The Living Stream

A field recording by Landsounds

There is so much going on in this track, a British field recording presumably recorded recently. Something about the suggestion of that time sync makes it feel physically proximate, too, even if it’s far away from wherever the listener might be. And even if nothing in it is, technically, “alive,” in the sense that an animal might be alive, it is nonetheless very much alive. This is “Underwater Stream” by Landsounds, the name under which London-based John Hooper captures audio of the everyday and, as happens here, reveals the complexity inherent in it. In these mere two and a half minutes, there is gurgling, certainly, and droning, yes, and a hum that makes the the droning seem like its trebly by comparison, and other sounds (rope against wood?) that creak like dolphins speak. None is isolated from the others. They are in sync in their own manner. And then there’s that slow heartbeat of a pulse at the start and just before the end. It’s enough to make you think it’s been a bit of ambient techno all along.

Track originally posted at More from Hooper at

Current Favorites: Cooked Viola and Buddha Machines, Thawing Ice

Heavy rotation, lightly annotated

A weekly(ish) answer to the question “What have you been listening to lately?” It’s lightly annotated because I don’t like re-posting material without providing some context. I hope to write more about some of these in the future, but didn’t want to delay sharing them.

▰ On the double album If Not Now, released at the very end of 2020, Meredith Bates sends her violin and viola through a range of processing, yielding echoes and textures, layers and atmospheres, stutters and breakage. It somehow manages to be both intimate and orchestral at the same time. Bates is based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

▰ Three field recordings of what’s going on under the ice, captured by Ivo Vicic of Rijeka, Croatia, on Under the Ice – Secret Sounds of Nature. As Vicic describes it, what we’re hearing is a water stream, amomg other activity, recorded at a lake that has frozen over during the winter. Released earlier this month. (Thanks for the recommendation, Patricia Wolf!)

▰ In a 10-minute live video, Poland-baed Grzegorz Bojanek makes rough-hewn ambient music in realtime with a handful of Buddha Machines and effects pedals. Even if you’re entirely familiar with the source audio, you’ll be enchanted by the new territories Bojanek explores.

▰ The cacophonous fragility of Marcus Fischer’s mid-February “Thawing” is a field recording made during the Portland, Oregon, winter. Writes Fischer of the brief track: “Thawing ice releasing itself and falling from a large oak tree onto the snow-covered street below.”


A mesostic

         MoSt evenings
something aKin
   to The CArs That
          ATe Paris
       happEns on our street,
 when kids Bored by pandemic
  restrictiOns rejoice in the
      open Air opportunities of
         caR-devoid pavement, and rattle
      arounD (fairly quietly) for hour

Now that the <pre> command works on this site, I may dip into mesostics on occasion. I created a mesostic tag, which unearthed a Rick Tarquinio recording from 2012 and a Felix Schramm exhibit from 2007. WKRP, Debris, Chernobyl

I do this manually each week, collating the tweets I made at (which I think of as my public notebook) that I want to keep track of. For the most part, this means ones I initiated, not ones in which I directly responded to someone. I sometimes tweak them a bit here. Some tweets pop up on sooner than I get around to collating them, so I leave them out of the weekly round-up. It’s usually personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud. They’re here pretty much in chronological order. Looking back at the tweets makes the previous week seem both longer and shorter than it was. The cadence is a way to map how time progressed. The subjects are another map of the same territory.

▰ 7:34am sounds: House creaking as it heats; wind outside much like a furnace itself, thought it’s anything but warm; garbage trucks peculiarly muted, dare say respectful. No birdsong, no airplane jet or motor noise. Occasional car engine, rumbling a block or so away.

▰ Small audience for this tweet, but I’d love 2021 to be the year for intriguing 1U modules

▰ YouTube’s grid of recommended videos put Steely Dan’s Walter Becker next to WKRP’s Les Nessman looking like he’s crooning: an algorithmic nightmare of a boomer concert cruise. (I’m Gen X, myself)

Better still is this Richter painting that the Facebook mobile thumbnail reduced it to.

▰ Eating ice cream and watching dan dan noodle recipe videos. G’night!

▰ Three episodes in, Debris had its first sonic clue last night, involving a phantom 2D portal (“the square”) in the middle of a field, the most interesting bit being that at first the audio was only caught on recordings, not heard in person.

▰ If you live in San Francisco and miss the Tuesday noon siren, as I do, don’t miss these Dutch air raid sirens, courtesy of Jostijn Ligtvoet:

▰ It’s unfortunate my Bluetooth headphones died barely a month after I got them, though it is reassuring that my [I’m sort of out of negative words] toward Bluetooth remains justified, but in any case the Muzak “We’re in This Love Together” hold music is textbook insult-to-injury.

▰ Can’t remember if I shared this previously, so here’s a shout-out to the excellent virtual synthesizer module developer (voxglitch) who put a request for assistance into the faceplate of of their modules.

▰ Yeah, I posted about new tracks with beats two days in a row on What a weird year this is shaping up to be, huh?

▰ Today I became a dog person. (If you haven’t contributed to the 1.4 million views of this dog singing along with wind chimes, you must join in.)

▰ Very glad Mayans MC is back on television, and also somewhat distracted by imagining conversations between Edward James Olmos and Michael Irby in which they discuss their distinguished careers as space admirals.

▰ I listen to the Chernobyl score a lot, and every time it gets around to “Vichnaya Pamyat,” I think it’s a track I’d forgotten from Todd Rundgren’s A Cappella.

▰ Friends report bot-spam on their friends’ social media accounts

▰ It’s Friday, and the birdsong outside is louder than the Zoom bleed from adjacent rooms in the house, and the cray cray has (relatively) quieted in my social media feed, so I’m gonna take that as a positive sign to, shortly, begin my weekend social media fast. I enjoy yapping with folks intermittently during the day, but there is something at the end of each day, and especially on Friday afternoons when I just shut it all down, that feels quite like a holiday has begun. Especially these days when I’m at home pretty much all the time, shutting off social media feels like coming home, quieting the world, focusing. So, on that note, have a great weekend.

Dobrawa Czocher x Deutsche Grammophon Project XII

The Polish cellist contributes to the monthly series

The Deutsche Grammophon label, its bright yellow logo long associated with the warhorses of the repertoire, has been exercising its experimental impulses in various ways, like the excellent “Recomposed” reworkings of Bach and Vivaldi by, respectively Peter Gregson and Max Richter, and more recently the Project XII series. Project XII introduces a newly commissioned composition each month for the year, and then collects them into an album at year’s end. It’s run twice thus far, in 2019 (which included a piece by Rachel Grimes, a pivotal early figure in the overlap of indie rock and classical) and 2020 (which included a piece by Christina Vantzou), and we’re now three months into 2021, a highlight of which is “Timelines” by Dobrawa Czocher, the Polish cellist. It’s a gorgeous, sweeping work, slowly flowing layers of cello wafting over each other in a state of classic minimalism repose.

Video originally posted at YouTube.