Philadelphia Inquirer Interview

Hello everyone, I hope you’re doing well wherever you are. I wanted to thank everyone who tuned into the overnight sleep concert stream on YouTube. There was a great article by the insightful writer Shaun Brady in the Philadelphia Inquirer that talks about Echozoo and the threads that connect Meditative Soundscapes.

Photo by Tom Gralish

Keep Listening,
Michael

Echozoo on Sounds Curious

Hello everyone, two quick items about features for my Echozoo project exploring the deep-time of extinct animal soundscapes. 

You can hear one of my favorite podcasts Sounds Curious talk about and feature the work of Echozoo extensively on their most recent episodes.

Also, Dosage Magazine did a nice feature on Echozoo last week.

Third (I know I said, two things 😉 Echozoo related item, is my favorite iPad App Borderlands Granular released a new version and I designed a preset in the App form my Echozoo project! I used Borderlands extensively while designing and deconstructing imaginary animals soundscapes for Echozoo. If you have an iPad, even if you don’t make music, get it! It’s such a fun and adventurous way to sculpt sound like it’s putty in your hands.

Borderlands Granular

Be well,
~Michael

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:​

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

Landscapes

Greetings from Iceland! I’m currently writing you from the epic coastal mountains in Olafsfjordur where I am artist in residence at Listhus. Mostly I’m recording environmental sounds, doing research and sound designing extinct creatures for Echozoo. I also have access to a beautiful music studio at the nearby college at night, so I’ve also been recording some piano and other instrumental textures, mixing and editing sounds in the studio there and generally getting inspiration from the ancient landscapes here.

Olafsfjord
Music Studio

  Speaking of landscapes I’m happy to share with you a new album I’m releasing today. This one was inspired by a completely different environment, the rainforests of Brazil. In June I was artist in residence at Casa Na Ilha. During this residency I was again working on sounds for Echozoo. I had so much material and was so inspired by the sights, sounds and “emotional landscapes” (to quote my favorite Icelander) that I ended up working on a new album. This is the first in what I hope will be a series called Landscapes. This series seeks to meld field recordings from a specific environment with subtle ambient textures and beats in a process I called Sonic Photography.

Landscapes 1: Ilhabela   The last project I wanted to share with you was from of my on-going composer residency at Village of the Arts and Humanities in Philadelphia through American Composers Forum. While I was back in Philadelphia in July I taught a class that was a continuation of the Mixes from the Field project teaching high school students about listening and making music from the sounds of their enviroment. This project was for the students to create a Village Sound Map. It involved recording sounds from around the campus of the Village on portable field recorders, editing the sounds in post-production and creating a sound map to show what this neighborhood in North Philadelphia sounds like. Also some students used these sounds to make their own Village Sound Map remixes. Check it out!

Happy summer, be well and keep listening to everything all the time.

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