Killing Me Softly with Bird Songby: Mike


Killing Me Softly with Bird Song – The Noise Project #9 The Free for All

By my home is a large tree where deep in its foliage large habitats of birds reside. Every morning just before the sun rises these songbirds begin to sing. It starts slow and singular. The sounds start to increase as the conversations progress. Is it just conversation and how much of the community is involved? As the sun starts to crest the horizon, the song moves to cacophony. I drift in and out of consciousness as light starts to pierce my blinds the open window challenges my sleep. The songs change from a choir to chaos. A good chaos, nature’s calamity. Then the alarm goes off the birds seem to stop and my day begins.

Simmer Dimby: Roxane

Noise Challenge 9

Saturday afternoon.  In all the other noise challenges I thought a lot about meaning, whereas with this one I just listened to everything around me without worrying about what it meant.  I was struck by the noise that is almost constant for all 24 hours of the day and night during Simmer Dim, Shetlanders’ way of describing the white nights of summer.  It is an energised, highly charged time of year, with lots of activity to go with all the light. It’s both quiet and wild, a mix of nature and man.


Apnea Suiteby: Mike

The Noise Project: Portrait

Apnea Suite


My practice revolves around the idea of unconscious sound generated by the spectator. We live in our own auditory architecture. This can be seen as barriers of sound that have become a personal white noise, or the sounds of our existence. I find myself conducting constant analysis of the sounds I generate so I felt it would be interesting to examine the sounds of my true unconscious self, during sleep. My partner as well as my children consistently comments on the sounds I generate during my sleep.

Apnea Suite is culled from a 7+ hour audio recording of my sleep patterns. I was shocked as well as amused by the sounds I generate during my sleep. Shallow breathing, whistles, coughs, sighs, deep breaths and snoring comprise the source of this composition. I have mildly processed the work. I wanted the suite to speak for itself.

caw’meeby: jessica

stream of consciousness…self poor’trait’urrrrr

cras, cras, cras…
(means ” tomorrow” or ” delay for tomorrow” in latin;
the word “procrastination” comes from it)






Click-Click-Whir-Bzzzby: Mari


When I sit at my desk for 6 or 7 hours a day, my world becomes fixated on the light-emitting box in front of me. I swivel in my chair, click my nails on the keyboard, push the scroller wheel on the mouse up and down. There is the downbeat ding  of the email notification sound, the staccato click of the mouse, and the ambient hum of the various electronics in front of and beside and underneath me. I am in a nest of electronic noise, yet I am in the center- a breathing, talking human being. I sigh and murmur to myself, and break the steady rhythm of  sounds by my variability.

1, 2, 1 2 3 4by: Richard

The cue, the cues! There are just so many.

I thought about the multitude of e-prompts that beset our online lives, the behavioural prompts that our societies drape around us, the “persuasive” hints that infuse so much audiovisual communication.

Many of the cues turned out to be interruptions rather than productive prompts. So in the end, I choose a cue that is a recent addition, and has been a nudge in the right direction. So the musical snippet below is derived from the letters of the phrase “Noise Challenge”. Rather than record it, here is the score, itself a cue to make some noise. All together now…


Music score for Noise Challenge #7: The Cues

Noise Challenge #7: The Cuesby: Nostalgia

The Journey

I have been a teacher for 16 years- my day is constantly punctuated by bells ringing- the school bell is my cue- John Betjeman wrote Summoned by Bells-  I read his poem Guilt over the sound of the ringing bells…

The Noise Project #7: The Cuesby: Elizabeth

My cell phone is my information cue for everything.

From an alarm clock to a calendar notification to message received.

In our society, we are so easily connected to each other through text messages, emails, and social media which we can access on our phones. However, we are disconnected from one another. We spend more time with technology than engaged with our family and friends.

Recently I went a week without my phone or internet (no access). I detoxed from technology and learned to reconnect with myself, my husband, and friends. I spend less time around technology and more time with books, painting, friends, baking, family, and walking.

Rules for Living Life with Less Technology

Let your phone go to voicemail when you are engaged with friends.

Only check your email once an hour at work or at home.

Turn off the TV. Music is much better background noise.

Go outside, go for a walk, and listen to nature.

Play cards and board games like Dominion, Seven Wonders, or Catan.

Talk your dog for a walk or your children to the park. Pack some snacks and stay a little later.

Use a paper map instead of GPS. Learn to read the map and learn where north is. Take a chance getting lost for a little while because you never know what you will find.

Read a book, a real paper book. Smell the pages, turn over the corner, and write a note in it.

Have a cup of tea with your grandparents, parents, sister, and friends. Listen to their stories, their problems, let them vent, make them laugh, let them cry on your shoulder, then hug them.


NUMBER SEVEN -CUES ; for when to RUNby: Thendara

If this flash player is not loading for you please click the link below to play your audio file.

I recorded loads of cues- the sound of alarms, timers, people calling my name but it was driving me mental.

so i wanted to run away from the whole thing…

and then it turned into something more.

Rather then look at the mundane cues that cause me to react  or just act I decided to explore  something new that might initiate a new response.

I am a professional walker and never much a runner- but were I gonna?

what would a motivator be?

being chased would initiate a running response.

as would someone trying to eat me, or drill me.


A cue to take a quick run away from wherever the chewing and/or drilling is coming from.

Run , Run , Run.

here it is number 7.


A word from myself: the promise of an excavated eavesdropby: Damon

If only I could eavesdrop.

I would if I could, but I’m afraid my unceasing self-absorption means that this week – the week in which we were challenged to dip in and out of other people’s chatter – I failed to listen in to anyone but myself. Or more accurately, I attempted to eavesdrop on my own solitary, one-way conversations, but as you’ll hear if you click on the sound file, it turned out to be harder than you’d think.

At least, until I found an old audio cassette, whose secret monologues were last unleashed in 1982…

Some Strange Seaby: Robin

No information is more fleeting than the electromagnetic emanations in which we swim each day, as if we were blind fish in an ocean chasm. Cell phones, computers, cash points, security systems… all are loud and vibrant sources, could we but hear them. But since we are not so equipped, they continue to blare in relative obscurity, their effects on our physiology and psychology largely unknown.

Surveillance in a world of constant closed-circuit camera footage has become a given. Everyone is being eavesdropped on all the time. More subtle is our self-monitoring and self-reporting. No-one needs to look far to find us; our trail of SMS messages, Facebook posts, and website cookies paints an exact portrait of our lives: where we are, what we buy, and who we spend time with.

Combine those facts with a personal failure of the corporeal that constrained me to my house all week. The only person on which to eavesdrop was myself, so I turned to the task of making audible the electromagnetic. In particular, I recorded the EM field of my laptop while it booted up. Once mapped to audio waves, these spectra may be heard as varying rhythms, persistent electrical hum, and aleatoric interjections.

This field recording I processed using one of my live Reaktor patches. The result is a mysterious haze of sound that expresses for me the unknown world of radiation. The fact that it is not dissimilar to atmospherics pleases me.

Number Six – dont waste your time Eavesdropping on Thendara

If this flash player is not loading for you please click the link below to play your audio file.


The Eavesdropper.

a blend of psycho babble combined with ambient sounds of the week.

I listened to quite a bit of a meeting and took the amusing bits and made it into more of a psychedelic meeting.

The interesting bits were few and far between.

more short phrases said in a way that tickled me.

nothing that would make you wish to be a fly on the wall here, no sir.

the meeting you have after the night before that isn’t quite what you intended it to be.

maybe you drank too much, maybe other things were involved.

the walls are pretty close to melting and now you are sweating.

why are they all laughing?

is it me?

Purple Monkey Dishwasherby: Alan

I have done tests in the past that proved to me that we also hear with our eyes.  Walking around blindfolded you become aware of your eyes trying to focus in on the sounds and gather more descriptors as to what it is and it’s exact source.  When you couple this with both the source and the observer in motion an array of effects happen to hinder a sound’s understanding, location, and in the case of words, meaning.

In this piece there are 47 samples containing dialogue, which also include sound from the environment in which they where recorded.  The average sample is around 6 seconds long.  In recombining/reconstructing this material I wanted to manipulate some of the positional cues that help us locate sound.  I did this by exploiting “boosted bands”.  These are particular frequency ranges that we always sense coming from a certain direction.  Of course there is also movement in the sound, by the source, myself, or both, which create a Doppler effect.  In this piece (as far as I can tell) the languages are; German, Turkish, French, Polish, English, and Spanish.  What’s interesting is that while this piece is a construction, it does not feel like it.  I was not attempting to create a naturalistic recording by I guess hearing fragmented sounds and conversation is a normal experience of daily life.

considering sensory modalitiesby: Robin

two drummers drumming

My work as a sound artist has foregrounded the fact that not only are our “common sense” (excuse the pun) notions of the senses incomplete, in many cases they are utterly wrong.

The first orthodoxy in need of revision is that we have only five senses. Consider that we feel cold differently from pain, we have a sense of balance, we know where our body parts are in relationship to one another (proprioception), and so on. Likely we have something like a dozen senses, depending on how you want to catalogue them.

Second, senses are not neatly categorised according to which organs perform the task. Sound is notable in this regard. We hear with the complex of parts known (for convenience) as the ear, but also with the spaces within our body, our skin, and other tissues besides. Everyone who has been to a nightclub is familiar with bass pounding in the chest. Some personal speakers (sound transducers) work through bone conduction. High frequencies can make our skin crawl, or set our teeth on edge. This doesn’t even consider the ganglia that process the nerve signals on the way to the brain, or the role of the brain itself.

Hearing is a whole body process.

It is far from surprising, then, that the senses inform each other. I am not referring to sensational accounts of synaesthesia  in rare individuals, but rather everyday phenomena. Some of these are driven by our cumulative experience in the world. Take for example these photos, which I took this week while thinking about this assignment. Can you view the first without hearing the snap of a snare drum?

Does the second photograph not conjure up the distinctive sound of a typewriter?

the sound of a typewriter

Furthermore we look for patterns everywhere, and are likely to use these to relate otherwise disparate sensory data. For example, flowing lines in a painting might elicit a feeling of speed, of wind in the face, or of a flowing melody. Many visual artists have relied on these conjunctions; I am thinking here specifically of Jackson Pollock’s jazzy paint drippings.

My own experience is that I often take photographs to capture a sound, or recall specific visuals when listening to a location recording. I imagine this experience is quite normal.

To extend these ideas, I am currently working on a poetry film, in which I perform a reading in a specific location, and capture that place also through motion video and field recordings. The film is not yet complete, so unfortunately I cannot include it as an example in this post. But the process of developing it has been one of rich reflection on my practice as poet, composer, and photographer.

This work is ongoing and now The Noise Project is a part.

The sweetest nothing: a night whisper for my sonby: Damon

A doorway to darkness

Having sifted through the hazy layers of everyday noise as requested, I plucked out something very particular – the sound of my son as he sleeps. I have often used this sound as a meditative tool of sorts – a kind of relaxing hypnosis at the end of a stressful day. But this time I went further and swallowed the sound whole.

The result is this night whisper – two and a half minutes of spoken word with breathing.

Sleep well…


My son sleeps; and in his sleep he breathes. And I sit outside his dreams, listening in.

Perched on the edge of his night time world, I try and hear the secrets behind those rapid eyes – but he keeps it all hidden; for him to know, for me never to find out.

So instead, I gulp at the sound of each breath he takes and I swallow it down. And I taste it – not the air itself, but the resonance, the vibration, the hiss and the whistle, and it fills my belly and it wraps my heart – a candy floss tangle of wonder, and innocence, and love.

But as I consume this late-night dessert – crouching in the dark, the illumination from the landing falling across my face like the light from an opened fridge – I feel the guilt of the kitchen thief, stealing biscuits from someone else’s tin.

And the sweet taste grows bitter. And I sense his worries, his loneliness, his fear.

There is no release in a stolen dream.

So I take one final mouthful of the sound that he makes.

And then I pretend it will always taste good.

Bloom Mike Hansenby: Mike


Bloom (Senses Challenge) Mike Hansen

This synesthetic challenge allowed me to echo the spirit of Kandinsky. Kandinsky’s paintings were coloured filled expressions of the sound around him.  His synesthesia rendered him the capacity to see sound and hear colour. In this project I used the markers of spring, the melting snow and the blossoming of the flower. I feel spring is alive in colour and the Winter Aconite is nature’s early signifier of this joyous season.

I have processed a time-lapse video of the Winter Aconite, moving it into the abstract, may I say a Kandinsky approach to representation. I then appropriated Vivaldi’s “Spring” from the Four Seasons, slowed it down, sampled and processed it, through turntabling, to represent the spring I have experienced this year in Toronto. Bloom is a representation of the 2013’s painfully slow process of nature’s evolution from winter.

Warm Sun, Cool Shadeby: Richard

For us northern-hemispherers, it’s spring now. More or less. The sunlight is warm, the air is crystal clear, but the evenings and the shade are still cool. It’s as if we can’t quite believe the winter is behind us, and so there’s a sense of diffuse but cautious hope in the air.