Webhamster Henry's Top 10 Imaginary Sound Events of 2019

  1. Attraction attraction Iron Filing Project (Installation 2019)
    New research has shown that some people can sense fluctuations in magnetic fields. After a bit of screening, the audience for Attraction attraction is dressed in simple smocks, seated in a Faraday cage, and then subjected to rhythmic changes in magnetism. Participants have the sensation of something turning while their inner ears detect nothing. This is a new exploration of a soundless music, similar to a roller coaster, and it may cause slight nausea as the brain struggles to reconcile these new sensations. But some experienced magnetonauts, as they label themselves, have acclimated and even honed their magnetic senses to the extent that they can now actively sense the earth's magnetic field and anomalies caused by masses of steel.
  2. Electric Dowser Parade Ojai, CA (Event 2019)
    Woo-Woo! A research project on the efficacy of dowsing at Berkeley found that they performed slightly better than chance at detecting water sources and ground anomalies. When the study concluded, the 20 or so instrumented dowsing rods were donated to the the Underseek Collective, organizers of the Electric Dowser Parade. The merry band marches though town, wirelessly transmitting the dowsers' gyroscopic data to be processed in a trailing float, which blasts audio based on sonifying the dowser data.
  3. Now On Tape Rita Guelph (3M Museum 2019)
    Magnetism is not the only tape-based technology that can be used to record sound. Ms. Guelph thinks that sound can stick to adhesive tape just like everything else can. To elaborate, she puts all kinds of small objects, sand, and insects on a long, unspooled roll of gaffer's tape, and runs by it holding a simple reproducer made of a plastic cup and popsicle stick. Every show is different!
  4. Sit And Spin Stick it to the Man, Inc. (Sedentary Devices 2019)
    Sit and Spin is a Kickstarter project that produced a very interesting controller. It's a tricked-out adjustable monopod that uses a gyroscope and a strain gauges to track the position and and weight of someone sitting on it. Those signals can go off to a little Eurorack module and make their merry way into music making. The large number of degrees of freedom makes for a lot of control as the players sit, spin, bounce and fidget. Sedentary Devices is working on an instrumented baby busy box.
  5. Wasted Pacific Plastic Band (Death Ocean Music 2019)
    The headline-grabbing Pacific Ocean Garbage Gyre spins at a slow rate, but is here sonified, by using satellite photos, into a long, droney, noisy piece. Your wish to make it stop reflects the environmental message of the Pacific Plastic Band.
  6. Tons of Tones Wally Carlton (Undertone Music 2019)
    Fans of John Cage have had an underground network since the 50s of collecting room tones recorded as part of the sound editing process. Room tones are useful for spacing out dialogue and providing a comforting noise floor. Mr. Carlton has a roomful of room tones in formats running from acetates and wire recordings (with remarkably high fidelity) through various speeds and widths of tape, deprecated digital formats, and modern day 48kHz streams of bits. Tons of Tones makes these available on vinyl of course, as tracks separated with lock grooves.
  7. Cough Twice Smith Brothers (Flexidisk, 1971)
    This little ditty is an escapee from an industrial musical from the cough drop company. It sets up a classic doctor's office skit, with Nurse Candy's hands where they don't belong.
  8. Blow Me Down! Lawn Guys (TikTok video, 2019)
    Oh, those obnoxious leaf blowers make so much noise! Certain neighborhoods turn into suburban hurricanes. But the damn things can be tuned if they blow through different sized pipes. This crude kind of organ can be played like a bell choir, when damping the sound with garbage can lids. And so it is, a little practice and you've got a viral video!
  9. Wow and Flutter ASMRty Pants (Bandcamp, 2019)
    Finally! An ASMR recording for those craving the now sound of today. 48 minutes of end grooves, lead-ins, lock grooves and subtle distortions and - importantly - no clicks or scratches, just the familiar wubbly-wubbly and stereo warp of between track goodness. There's a Kickstarter to get this on an LP of course.
  10. Burning Down The House Stockholm Students (YouTube, 2019)
    Ms. Greta Thunberg was on fire this year, with her castigation of world leaders for sitting on their butts during the climate emergency. Here, at one of her Friday School Strikes for the Climate, the student group broke out into a chant based on Talking Heads' famous anthem, using alternate lyrics like
    Watch out!
    The planet's boiling over.
    Hot baby!
    Our clock is running out.
    We are burning on your watch,
    Burning up the Earth!
    Hold tight!
    It's time for legislation.
    Don't wait!
    Keep us from burning carbon!
    And subsidize those solar cells
    Powering the house!
    L.A.'s burning, Venice sinks,
    Greenland's glaciers melting down.
     And still you do nothing!
    Snowpack's missing, cornfields flood, Methane from the permafrost, And still you do nothing! etc.