I’ve been meaning to start an entry for ACB for a while, but only just got around to it after completing this sound. A few months ago, I stopped by Weirdo Records in Cambridge, MA while visiting some friends in Boston and I picked up a few different battery powered noise boxes. My favorite turned out to be this small chanting monk device that has a built in speaker, a headphone jack, a button to change chants, and a volume knob. I immediately found a bend on the board that doubled the speed of the chanting and made it a high pitched chipmonk chant.
Once I got back to Minnesota, I plugged it into the input on a Korg Electribe and saved the results of some crazy effect work. From there I ran the file (then a 2 minute file) through the open source paulstretch software. I slowed it down by about ten times and the end result was a 28 minute ambient drone that fluctuated and sounded something like a desolate ice cave. I used Ableton to EQ out the ear-bleeding high end and to add a bit of reverb. The end result is a haunting drone sound-bed that I’m pretty fond of. Feel free to use it for any sampling or remixing or whatever you kids are doing these days.
What good is a Weird Sound Generator if you’re not using it to make weird sounds? Sometimes it is nice to just hold it on your lap and stroke it gently. That aside, it’s quiet useful once you plug it in and start twiddling the knobs. Here’s a piece I created by tuning the each of the four oscillators on the WSG and then fiddled with the filters. At the same time I made some adjustments to a phaser that I was running it through in Ableton Live and topped it off with ping pong delay.
Four Oscillator Drone
This is one of the coolest (no pun intended) sound design projects ever. Marlin Ledin rode his bike and camped around the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior covering about 150 miles on the ice recording the creaks and groans of the shifting ice plates. Listen to his recordings and checkout photos and videos of his expedition at www.bikingtheapostles.com. Marlin describes the ice sounds:
The Lake Drums, as some people call them, are an amazing phenomenon that rank right up there with Aurora Borealis. Lake drums, or drumming perhaps, occurs when a shift in the ice creates friction between sheets of ice, like tectonic plates of the earths crust. The unique sounds created come after these shifts in the ice. I ventured out and captured some of these sounds with modern recording techniques.
Plains cottonwood (Populus sargentii) grows near water, and tends to mimic water in several ways. Visually their leaves ripple in the wind like water rippling on a fairly still pond. The sound of the wind through their leaves also mimics water flowing in a stream. I recorded a gentle wind passing through a small grove of cottonwoods near a swamp full of cattails, birds, insects and amphibians. My wind sock for the PCM-D50 didn’t provide all the wind noise protection I would have liked, but I got a good few seconds out of it anyway.