Webhamster Henry's Top 10 Imaginary Sound Events of 2011
  1. Water Water Everywhere: Hairy Patch (Groundhogger Records: 2011)
    Harry Partch's underwhelming and disappointing work WATER WATER, from 1961, is re-orchestrated and minimized in this environmental realization. Each section was performed in situ by the kind of punky lesbian Harry Partch tribute band Hairy Patch on old water fountains in various Western Pennsylvanian institutions.
  2. I Rode With Gagarin: GOSKOMKOM (State Commemorative Committee) (Baikonur: 2011)
    Fifty years after Gagarin's historic ride, cowboy Kazakhs cut this little tune, blending together the romance of space with the lonely twanginess of the desert. The instruments bodies are built by natives out of recycled spent rocket parts which have been continually dropping on them for the past 50 years.
  3. Fukushima Ya-ya! : Big Pleasure (Idoru Ikon: 2011)
    The worst earthquake and tsunami in recent memory, followed by a nuclear disaster of unreportable proportions, nevertheless has resulted in this J-Pop effort from teen idol wannabes Big Pleasure. Kind of a train wreck of a song, tasteless and hooky at the same time. I understand one of the group is a robot, but they are not revealing which one.
  4. Rolling On (installation: 2011)
    Uncle Joe's vast piano roll collection was celebrated in a gallery opening last June when all 500 rolls were spliced together and run through his Ampico equipped baby Knabe grand.
  5. Bone Music: The Chiros (Medical Malpractice: 2011)
    Every little bone has its own harmonic resonant pattern, and every muscle a natural range of frequencies as it stretches and relaxes. And this recording goes over all those frequencies for a pretty standard sized man, finding harmonies and crepitacious rhythms.
  6. Hear It Now : The People's Orchestra (phone recording: 2011)
    The Occupy Movement has popularized the technique of the Human Microphone, or the People's Microphone, where more traditional "call and response" is turned into a means of reliable communication to a large group. The same technique is here applied to short jazzy sax riffs and some vocalese. The transmitters, each with their own voices and instruments, self-select their timing and synchronization. Interspersed are anti-establishement messages, appeals for funding, personal ads, and tweets from celebrities.
  7. 4004 Symphony (hardware/software: 2011)
    In honor of the 40th anniversary of first microprocessor, chiptunes artist Dirke Christopher hunkered down with an ungainly collection of custom power supplies, legacy auxilliary chips, and wire wrap tools to design a 4 bit synth, running with 1 K of static RAM. By demultiplexing the data bus, he was able to get a kind of quadraphonic signal, routed to individual piezo speakers.
  8. AT&T and T-Mobile: Rethink possible 4G (private demo: 2011)
    Anticipating a speedily approved merger of corporate cell phone powers, this industrial presentation for stockholders was quickly funded, written, cast, and a demo was recorded. Featuring T-Mobile Girl Carly Foulkes, they may have to wait a while for the first performance.
  9. Stink!: UGA Labs (Olfactory Auricle: 2011)
    Taking advantage of some new technology developed for sniffing out funguses in agricultural products, the team at the University of Georgia Olfactory Sensing group took their sensor and patched it up with an Arduino microcontroller to drive a primitive wavetable synthesizer. The cigarette box-sized device was taken to various locales and the resulting tunes recorded. Emphasis cut: Tobacco Barn.
  10. Sing Along with Fannie and Freddie(US Govt. recording, 1940s)
    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or big band versions of them, give a jivey intro to mortgage securities and other financial concepts related to housing. This was actually a cartoon soundtrack. Follow the bouncing mortgage!