Echozoo Launch

At long last, a project I’ve been working on for over four years has arrived!

Recreating the sounds of extinct animals is a call to listen in the present.

Echozoo is an audio portal to the past, an invitation to the present, and an urgent message to the future.  Reimagining the sounds of earth’s ancient history beyond a human scale, reconstructing the sound of extinct animals and their habitats, Echozoo connects listeners with the sounds of the distant past. Created with field recordings of living animals, these are digitally processed to re-create the sounds of their now-extinct relatives and recomposed into immersive audio experiences. These long-silenced voices are re-sounded and heard within an imagined soundscape of their habitats, encouraging us to hear imagined ecosystems together with these ancestors in a powerful meditation on nature and the current loss of biodiversity in our natural world.

Echozoo Promo

Explore the Echozoo Portal here at echozoo.org. You can listen to samples of creatures on the interactive map showing the region where these extinct creatures once lived.

You can support this largely self-financed project by buying one or more of the three-volume collection of extinction songs.

Listening in Asia…

Greetings from Yangon, Myanmar! I’ve had an amazing two months in Southeast Asia. In January I was Artist in Residence at ComPeung in northern Thailand where I was making field recordings, sound designing for some upcoming projects and experiencing the beautiful landscapes, people, smells, sights and sounds of the region​.

recording the landscape in Bagan, Myanmar; photo by Monica Gentile   Here’s a piece I made inspired by the landscapes of Thailand and Myanmar. Traveling in the land that’s home to Theravada Buddhism has been profoundly powerful. There’s so many temples, stuppas, pagodas, monks and lots of psychedelic Buddha shrines! To see all this first hand has changed me and given me perspective on the practice, dhamma and the nature of connection.​ Click below to hear and download this new piece of music “Once You Hear This You Will Always Be a Part of the Song”.

My next stop will be a residency in North India at PECAH in the Uttarakhand region in the foothills of the Himalayas. There I’ll be working on Echozoo, playing and collaborating with North Indian musicians and artists and working on upcoming projects for a very busy April when I return to Philadelphia for a month. If you’re in Philadelphia I’ll be involved in a number of projects including:​

2017 In Review

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Happy holidays to everyone reading this! Thanks for being a part of an amazing year of sonic adventures. Without the connection I get by sharing these sounds, moments and memories with you all, this would be meaningless. In the midst of the busy holiday season I hope you’re all finding moments of connection and peace.
If you’re looking for a tonic to the holiday sensoral overload, I recommend two Mikronesia ambient albums I released this year. :dibba-sota is a quiet sonic meditation on Deep Listening and natural spaces and Dissolve is an hour long continuous piece of music that was described by music legend King Britt as “sonic sage”, great for clearing and cleansing a space. In the spirit of the season all the albums on my Bandcamp (including the Landscapes series) are “name your price”. So you can download for free or pay any price that’s good for you 🙂

dibba-sota

Also this year I released three albums in a series called Landscapes. These albums were created at artists residencies around the world this year. The intention of these albums is to allow the listener to experience a sense of place through listening and explore the sonic character of a geographic location. The environmental recordings are augmented with subtle effects and “sonic photography” techniques to represent our own coloring of sound through listening consciousness.

Landscapes 3: Iceland

In 2018 I’ll be continuing my nomadic life with residencies at Com Peung in Chiang Mai, Thailand and PECAH in Uttarakhand, India. I’m very excited to travel to Asia for the first time and focus on the soundscape recording, creation and Echozoo at these residencies.
In addition to traveling and releasing music this year I was glad to begin a new collaborative project Mixes from the Field, with fellow Deep Listener Sharon Stewart. This project seeks to connect people of all ages to explore modes of Deep Listening and the work of Pauline Oliveros through field recording, sonic meditation and music. Our initial project was supported by American Composers Forum for workshops in Philadelphia at Village of Arts and Humanities. My connection with VAH will continue in 2018 in an exciting community project around a basketball court in North Philadelphia that’s being renovated by the Philadelphia 76ers. More on this early next year….

VAH Students exploring the sonic spaces above Philadelphia

Mixes from the Field also led workshops and soundwalks in Berlin, Germany and Arnhem, Netherlands. We’re hoping to continue the work in 2018!
A quick note for anyone in Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve. I’ll be leading a dharma talk, discussion and silent meditation at Springboard Studio in Mt. Airy from 10pm through midnight. The theme for the night will be intention and the infinite potentials found in the ground of being. Hope to see you there! It will be my last night in Philly as I fly to Thailand on Jan 1!
Again, thanks for being a part of an amazing 2017 and I look forward to keeping in touch with you all in 2018.
with Mettā,
Michael

Europe Residencies

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Greetings from Berlin, I hope you’re enjoying your early fall / late summer days and nights. I had a wonderful time in Iceland. The other artists at Listhus were very inspiring. I got to take many walks in the mountains, fields, shores, towns and volcanic plains taking in the otherworldly sights and sounds of that lovely country.

I recently uploaded one of the tracks built around fields recordings from Iceland. You can listen here on Soundcloud:

Olafsfjordur ♫ 

My travels continue this month with a residency in Berlin at the prestigious soundart gallery/venue Liebig12. The space has a really great sound system where I will be working on some mediation / sleep music and Echozoo sounds. Also as part of my residency I’ll be taking part in three concerts (many with my old friend, Bilwa, from Philadelphia who lives in Berlin now) and a Deep Listening workshop. If you’re in Berlin it would be great to see you!

Here are the dates of the events:

Friday Sep 8
SPEKTRUM

Wednesday Sep 13
XBLiebig

Saturday Sep 16
Opening soundscape at Liebig12, 15:00-19:00
for Natsuko Tezuka + Tomomi Adachi Duo, 19:30

Friday Sep 29
18:00 – Deep Listening Workshop at Liebig12 with Sharon Stewart

CITIES AND MEMORY PROTEST SOUND MAP

I created a sound collage piece that I recorded at a Black Lives Matter Protest in Philadelphia for the Cities and Memory Protest Sound Map. This sound map is an amazing collection of over 200 recordings and remixes from protests all around the world. The project has been featured on Wired, BBC, The Guardian, Mashable and dozens of other news outlets. Check it out!

http://citiesandmemory.com/protest/ Protest and Politics is the first global mapping of the sounds of protest, demonstration and political activism.
Sourcing field recordings from our own archive as well as from dozens of field recordists around the world, we assembled a database of protest sounds over summer 2017, and opened this up to artists and musicians to recompose and reimagine, bringing to bear their own experiences and memories onto these sounds.
You can explore the documentary field recordings of protests, spend time in the alternative sound world created by their reimagined counterparts, or flip freely between the two as you choose.

MIXES FROM THE FIELD

Sharon and I are ramping up our Field Recording, Deep Listening, Sonic Works project Mixes from the Field with some exciting projects in 2018. Check out our latest Newsletter detailing all we’ve been up too and having coming up, including a Deep Listening outing in Arnhem, NL in October. Also please get on our mailing list to find out more about our upcoming events and projects!

Read more here: http://mailchi.mp/b03cec94af07/deep-listening-and-roundtable-at-sonsbeek-park

Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2016

I have music/sound design in two Philadelphia Fringe Festival shows in the next two weeks. 

This Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I’ll be doing some live sound design and music for Fran Markey’s new piece At & About the Edge of.

Then next week I have some brand new music in Zornitsa Stoyanova’s Explicit Female.

Also I’m hard at work on several new music / sound projects including Echozoo – my forthcoming iPhone/Android App which plays sonic portraits of extinct animals from your area.

As part of the research for Echozoo, I traveled to the Northwest United States to do some field recording. The trip was made possible by the support of the Echozoo Hatchfund backers (thank you!). My trip took me to Portland, Forks, The Hoh Rainforest and Turnbull Wildlife Refuge in Washington and the National Bison Range and Glacier National Park in Montana. I captured a lot of great ambient sounds of rain, wind, trees, crickets, birds, elk, owls, squirrels, bison and lots of unidentified sounds for the Echozoo App. Here’s a Flickr album with some photos from the trip. 

Peep Croak Growl

Echozoo

Happy Summer Solstice! Thank you to everyone who has supported the Echozoo Hatchfund project. If you missed the last email, Echozoo is a new smartphone App I’m developing which will play a musical score of re-imagined extinct animal sounds that lived in your part of the world. The App seeks to foster a sense of connection and wonder with our biological sound world past, present and future.

This is going to be one of the biggest projects I’ve even undertaken. It’s really a culmination of my work as a composer, sound design, meditator and Deep Listener. This Hatchfund will enable me to take the time I need to work on this project and not just work on it in my “spare time” away from work. I’m so grateful for the support I’ve received for this project so far.

However, we still need to raise about $1700 to make our minimum goal and there’s less than two weeks to go! If you’re thinking of pledging to the project, now is the time. Please spread the word and support this project if you’re curious about the largely untapped world of extinct animal sound design. Any level of support is appreciated and all donations are 100% tax deductible.

http://hatchfund.org/project/echozoo

The hood of the Ayatana van "Jellymoon"

I just returned from my week in Canada at the Ayatana Artist Research Program. I had the honor to live and work with a group of artists as we met with animal and field recording experts for various outings during the week.

Recording bird sound. Photo by Alexis Williams

We went on at least two excursions each day to listen to the rich biophony found in Ontario and Québec. Above is a photo when we went on an expedition with a local bird expert.

Below is a photo of us at an animal acoustics lab at Carlton University. This team of scientists work with the audible communication and listening of caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers and crickets. 

Listening to Insects in the Lab

One of my favorite nights was listening to bats using an Arduino bat detectors we built with maker Michael Grant from Krazatchu.

Listening for bats at dusk. Photo by Nadya Edelstein

We all recorded so many sounds. Ayatana setup a SoundCloud page with many of our samples of birds, frogs, insects, bats, beavers, wind, earth, water and some man-made sounds.

Many of the sounds I recorded at Ayatana will make their way into Echozoo. I have another field recording trip planned for August in the Northwest US where I hope to record more animals sounds for the project.

Finally, I made this collage of sounds from the week in Canada. Please enjoy:

Ayatana Collage

Thanks for reading, watching, sharing and listening.

-Michael

Echozoo

Hello everyone! I’m writing you this week from Canada at the Ayatana Artist Research Program. I am honored to be one of the artists selected for this week’s Biophillia Sound Art Residency

This week I’ll be traveling with biologists and researchers to record sounds of animals. I’m super excited and hope to post lots of photos and sounds when I return.

Today, I’ve launched a Hatchfund to raise funds for my next big project (which ties in directly with this Artist Residency) called Echozoo.

Those of you who know me, know that I’ve been talking about this project for a while and asking these questions:

  • What did extinct animals sounds like?
  • What would our current landscape sound like if some of these animals were still alive?
  • How connected are we to our current sound world?

Echozoo is going to be a smartphone app that uses geo-location to determine where you are in the world and will play re-imagined sound-design of the calls of extinct animals that lived in your region.

If you’ve ever watched behind the scenes features for some of your favorite films (like Jurassic Park and Star Wars) you know that sound designers like Ben Burtt would mix the sounds of many creatures together (like the slowed down croak of a frog, the pitch-shifted quack of a duck and the reversed growl of a tiger) to make the other worldly sounds of the creatures in the film. This is essentially what I’ll be doing. I will take field recordings of living creatures to try and extrapolate the calls of extinct animals from them. What would a dodo bird sound like? No one really knows for sure, but I imagine like a deep percussive penguin chirp mixed with an ostrich.

This Hatchfund will go to pay for the expenses of this artist residency at Ayatana, travel expenses to Canada and other sites around North America this summer and studio time spent sound designing and developing the iPhone and Android applications.

There’s some great rewards for backing the project including downloads of exclusive creature calls not found in the app, having a variable named after you in the code or even adding your own voice to the synthesized creature calls!

My hope it have it released by the end of the year.

Thank you for taking time to read, watch and listen. Any support you can give is much appreciated.

Also all Hatchfund donations are 100% tax deductible.

Like Kickstarter and other platforms, Hatchfund is do or die! If we don’t make the goal, the project won’t be funded. Please spread the word. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

http://hatchfund.org/project/echozoo

Sleep Concert, Attune and Beep

SLEEP MUSIC CONCERT

Last month I played an all-night sleep music concert during the Spring Equinox at thefidget space. The 12-hour concert was a beautiful night / morning with people doing yoga, dancing, reading, and sleeping throughout the night as I played. The piece was covered in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Here’s a video taken of some of the music and projections that were happening throughout the night:

Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State

Here’s the entire 12-hour concert audio at archive.org.

Finally, I wanted to share this beautiful poem that Glenn Benge, who attended the event, wrote in response:


ATTUNE

ATTUNE
Image by Shaily Shah

As part of my training with Pauline Oliveros to becoming certified as a Deep Listening practitioner, I’m co-leading a sound and movement workshop with Darcy Lyons next week. I’ll be leading some sound meditations, Deep Listening exercises/scores and playing some music for the dance/movement portion.

“In this two hour workshop participants will be guided through improvisational movement structures, gentle bodywork, still/moving meditations, and listening practices that foster compassion, healing, and connection. Everyone is welcome. No experience required.”

Saturday April 16, 11:30-1:30 PM
The Iron Factory

118 Fontain Street, 3rd Floor Philadelphia, PA 19122
Tickets $12 in advance (Sales End April 14)
$20 Cash or Check at the door


NOREMIXES NORESIDENCY

The NOREMIXES monthly at The Art Dept continues in April with sets by Mikronesia, Jeff Zeigler and Oh! Pears

Friday April 22, 7-9 PM
The Art Dept

1638 E. Berks St. Philadelphia, PA 19125
Doors 6:30pm, Show 7-9pm, $10


BEEP COMPOSER-IN-RESIDENCY

BEEP class

This semester I am Composer-in-Residence at Temple University’s BEEP (The Boyer Electroacoustic Ensemble Project). For this residency, I’m guest lecturing and developing a piece using my “Sonic Photorgraphy” techiniques for the students that they’ll perform at the end of the semester. More info on this premiere next month. Here’s a photo from my first BEEP class:

Discussing artistry, community, and Deep Listening with composer in residence @mikronesia. @beep_TU @BoyerCollege pic.twitter.com/cZi0ZGDYCE — Adam Vidiksis (@vidikulous) April 1, 2016

Fall News

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Hi folks, it’s been a few months since my last update. I’ve been working on lots of studio projects with some occasional shows.

Here’s a rundown of recent projects I was involved with this fall.

Utopia

Utopia

Over the past few months as I’ve gotten more into field recording and Deep Listening, I’ve been producing sounds for the site Cities and Memory. The most recent piece I did for them was part of a project to imagine sounds for the 16th century Thomas More’s novel Utopia. For my piece I focused on a darker aspect of More’s work: slavery. This seedy aspect of this well known concept of Utopia seemed to echo the modern day issue of hidden slavey in our “advanced” society.

Read more and listen to the piece at Cities and Memory


Papal Sound Collage

Another recent sonic piece I created was an audio collage of the sounds of Pope Francis’ historic visit to Philadelphia in September 2015. Approximately one million people visited Philadelphia creating one of the largest gatherings in the city’s history on the Ben Franklin Parkway. For three days I walked around with my field recorder and captured the sounds of the crowds, choirs, vendors, singers, chanters, musicians and ambiance to create an sonic photograph of what this beautiful weekend was like.

Listen to the Papal Sound Collage


The Buddy System

Buddy System from the stage

The Monday after the Papal visit I was honored to perform along side two giants in the electronic music scene: King Britt and HPrizm (from Antipop Contortium) for their Buddy System series at Johnny Brenda’s. Myself, finger drummer phenom OddKidOut and Matthew Law (AKA DJ Phsh) joined King and Priest for a smoking improvisational set of electronic music. I’ve heard the recordings back and they’re quite good. Look for some excerpts coming soon once the Buddy System site launches.


<fidget> Residency / dark matter / Fall Experimental Music Festival

Dark Matter Collaborator at the Ice Box

I’m also excited to announce that I am artist in residence at one of the most vital performance laborites in Philadelphia, thefidget space, for their 2015/16 season. As the resident composer/musician I’m sharing my time with choreographer/artist Zornitsa Stoyanova. We’ve been working together off and on for almost nine years! Throughout 2015 we’ve been doing some experiments with sound, dance, reflective mylar and modular lighting. On Friday November 6 we’ll be debuting a new piece that showcases some of that work. dark matter will contain four channel surround sound music, video, dance, mylar, smart phone media and live music. I’ll be joined by another old friend, violinist Carlos Santiago, for this performance.

Friday, November 6, 8pm
at thefidget space (1714 N Mascher St)
Space Pulse Pattern Presence, with:
dark matter, by Michael McDermott and Zornitsa Stoyanova (2015/16 <fidget> artists in residence)
SP3, by <fidget>/Peter Price & Megan Bridge (work-in-progress)
and guest curator Flandrew Fleisenberg welcomes:  
ID M Theft Able, Himself (Portland, Maine) 
Bromp Treb, Performance (Western Massachusetts)
Tickets: $10- $20 sliding scale

dark matter


New Website

Finally I’d like to welcome you to my new website SoundofListening.com. For years I’ve done sound art, film and dance scores, ambient music albums, performances, etc. all under the umbrella of Mikronesia. The Mikronesia moniker will still live on, but that will refer specifically to ambient music recordings, shows and productions. With Sound of Listening I want to highlight my work with Deep Listening, Field Recording, Sonic Awareness and Interaction. Check it out!