Sound Design: How to Make Your Home Into Eraserhead or 2001: A Space Odyssey

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

Hi, everyone - Welcome to back to the show. This week is all about noise. Noise in a home can be a disruption, like when an air conditioner cranks on suddenly; that's a common disruptive noise source. But noise in a sculpted sense can add a second layer to your home and help transport a space. Two of my favorite examples of this are the inventions of sound design found in Eraserhead and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both of these films use noise as an core part to the world they present. So for this week's episode, I thought it'd be nice to use only the technology available to Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch at the time of their films to recreate those sonic atmospheres.

So this week you'll learn how to use noise to modify your home, including a tutorial on how to make your kitchen sound like a room from Eraserhead or turn your attic into a control center from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It turns out limiting the techniques and tools to those eras is not very restrictive. Both Kubrick and Lynch had some of the finest gear in history to work with. It's my guess that they both used noise generators along with a 907 or 914 Moog Fixed Filter Bank. We'll use an inductor based 907A FFB to replicate the steps involved in The Lady in the Radiator scene and get a nice space sound aboard Discover One on your trip to Jupiter. Read the rest

For triggers, gates, clocks, and sociopaths alike, "Master/Slave" faces retirement

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

Hello, everyone - Welcome back. Part of this week's show is on language. One great result of the recent protests is a reassessment of some of our worst phrases. "Master/Slave" is an ugly one, with a direct path to some of the world's most terrible history. Unfortunately, it's largely adopted into electronics as an example of one device maintaining control over countless other devices. It's been suggested a better phrase might be Leader/Follower, and in that way you realize "Master/Slave" also describes politics, too.

As language is finally being addressed on this shameful history of semantics, I offer one final discussion on "Master/Slave" as an EXPLANATION for how people are still following and supporting Trump. Electronic control can be their only defense. In sympathy, I call for us all to love Trump Supporters and seek to emancipate them from this mental prison.

Mind Control is an interesting subject. There's been an ongoing effort to control minds with technology, and some consider this to be happening right now. Today's episode discusses triggers in drum machines as an explanation for how Trump's very sharp signal clock controls his followers. He's a perfect drum sequencer. He keeps his messages monosyllabic and sharp. That's the best signal for opening up a drum to follow a controller. And the term for this in synthesis is, regrettably, "Master/Slave", in that the Master is the sequencer and the slave is the follower. Read the rest

In Praise of THE SPAMP! And SPIT-COIN: A Proposal to Convert All Money to Saliva

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the show. This week we sing the praises of portable headphone amplifiers, specifically The SPAMP and the ROCKMAN — This leads to a discussion on the good work of Tom Scholz, who designed and built the entire sound of the band Boston in a home studio in the basement of his apartment in Watertown MA, and the likelihood that many of you were conceived to More Than A Feeling. With grief, the sad ending of Brad Delp's life is also briefly discussed .

Tom Scholz went to MIT and was offered a good job at Polaroid right out of school. This earned him a salary that funded much of Boston's burgeoning sound. So this episode also discusses how to spend money. Lots of people are very boring about how they spend their money, and the chance that you might not be born if Tom Scholz had opted to cash out and not build a home studio is explored. Good guy, that Tom. But why did Scholz need money in the first place to pursue this great dream? Money is a problem.

Track two for this week solves money entirely. Presenting SPIT-COIN, A new economic platform based on points and saliva. You can opt to transfer your money to a shared resource for every human, or you can have your cash liquidated into saliva that you carry in your mouth perpetually, your choice. Read the rest

Space Aliens are no longer visiting Earth due to an allergy to our cell phones

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

Headline: Space Aliens no longer visit Earth because our technology now drives them crazy. They are allergic to our EMF Radiation.

Welcome back to Spoken Word with Electronics. Episode fourteen greets us with some real news. Important stuff. Humans have long benefited from help from alien lifeforms. They taught us how to make fire, possibly introduced the virus that gave us the consciousness, and even invented Febreeze. These are all alien gifts to us.

Recently, however, we haven't been seeing much proof of alien life. Our race of humans have insisted on making our own technology. Like any kid in the kitchen, we've made quite a mess, too. Our bodies don't have the development to perceive our mess, but Space Aliens sure sense it. It's EMF Radiation, or Electromagnetic Fields, and our planet is now covered in it. It's gotten so noisy Aliens don't ever visit. They are allergic to our progress.

Jump into our spacecraft and spin around the planet for an hour as we discuss this phenomenon, including a basic primer on alien allergies, the flaws of human hubris, and how insects are much more advanced as creatures than any human (or any human technology, for that matter).

This episode includes ACTUAL EMF RADIATION, as captured by a Soma Labs Ether. All sounds of static, feedback, glitchy clicking and comfortable washes of noise have been received from the air around us through this wonderful Russian device. Read the rest

Behold, Massospora! The Insect Pandemic That Turns Cicadas Into Uncontrollable Sex Addicts

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This week, being in the human world is getting too painful, so we're taking a trip into the wonderful world of insects. Our civic responsibility to comment on the craziness of the world isn't ignored, however, so if insects aren't your bag, jump to the final track, advocating for a Police Reform Act to be enacted by Congress.

Cicadas are the focus this week. If you're in a part of the world that doesn't have these incredible creatures, they are insects that emit a warm droning tone. The drone itself is a kind of clicking chirp, with hollers and other singing, and they fill trees happily during the summer. All cicadas in a tree syncopate with one another into doing this harmonic noise, and talk to other trees filled with cicadas, often pausing their drone while the other tree is talking. I love cicadas. Learn about red wasps truly terrible behavior turning cicadas into brain food, and you might be interested in some Cicada Facts, including Read the rest

The Facebook Community Standards Roast!

SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #12

David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) is the most essential punk artist of the last century. In this Covid era, he's even more vital.

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

Welcome back to Spoken Word with Electronics. This week we're in a good David Wojnarowicz mood. Which I mean to say David is a strong energy force for when you are upset and want to focus it into making work. In this Covid era, David's message about government neglect and illness is especially profound. He died of AIDS in 1992, which is awful. And he was one of the coolest people to have ever walked the planet, which is wonderful.

In this tribute episode, hear a discussion of his art, specifically a focus on his music, both the band 3 Teens Kill 4 and his amazing collaboration with Ben Neill, ITSOFOMO. A review of the book A Definitive History of Five or Six Years on the Lower East Side is also provided. Along the ride we discuss the late evening drive in highschool when our car was haunted by David Bowie's Suffragette City and play a track from The Cicadas.

SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #11: A Tribute to David Wojnarowicz

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I’m sure we’ve posted this pic before, but it’s just too good. Happy belated bday to our dear friend Donovan Pierce. Thanks for all your help over the years at sb ❤️

A post shared by Sacred Bones (@sacredbones) on Mar 24, 2020 at 1:28pm PDT

Like what you're hearing? Tell others about the show. Read the rest

SWWE Broadcast #10: "Jules Vern was a Copycat, How to Prank a Bird, Ice Cream on TV is Often Mashed Potatoes, and It’s Been 3 Years Since I’ve Had a Drink."

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

Hello, everyone: Welcome back to the show. A lot of lightning in the air as we proceeded with recording this episode, so in full bomb prepper mode, we pulled out an MRE for dinner and got down to recording via battery power. This was made possible by a Six Channel Sony MX-650 Microphone Mixer, which not only runs on batteries, but was meant for commercial broadcasts on the field for radio and TV.

Vintage SONY gear is often as good as it gets. To provide someone like Walter Cronkite the opportunity to complete an entire segment in his news van, it supports six concurrent turntable connections, has six wonderful microphone pre-amps (with and without attenuation for signal), line connections in both 1/4" jack and RCA phono plug, and LOVELY switchable A,B,AB stereo routing. Pretty sturdy tank. You can still get them at a reasonable price and if the original owner never ran them off line power (meaning ran power through the batteries and they didn't let the batteries leak) there's a chance it still sounds great. This week we discuss cancelling Jules Verne (let's all do this!) and explore alcohol as a dead but valued friend in my life. Also some good jokes on Potatoes and Oystercatchers. Let's roll the tape:

SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #10: Fun Facts, Reptile Republican Audio, and Jules Verne Was a Copycat

The backing track on Side A is an organ piece intended for a segment on Anne Sexton, which will be posted a few broadcasts from now. Read the rest

Those weird dirty records in our parents' basement: Belle Barth's Scary 'Adults Only' LP — and SMURF HEIST: "That Day, at Age 6, When I Broke Into a Friend's House to Steal a Gargamel Figurine"

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

Greetings, all — I hope you're doing well. This week, the episode discusses smut and theft, as perceived by my own mind at age five and six. Enjoy a time warp back in the late 1970s as you find a Belle Barth album, are given a tour of Aurora, Colorado, and break into a friend's house to get that Gargamel toy.

RIP Jerry Stiller. A great comedian. He played the Borscht Belt in many of the same clubs as Belle Barth, incidentally. Here's this week's show:

SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #9: Belle Barth's Dirty Jewish Jokes and THE 1980 SMURF HEIST

You can now follow Spoken Word with Electronics on Apple Podcasts.

Talk with you next week. Keep your Belle Barth albums close, and your Gargamels closer! — Ethan Read the rest

FAKE NEWS NOW. FAKE NEWS FOREVER. FAKE NEWS MUST NEVER DIE! (A Final Audio Tribute to Paul Krassner)

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

Welcome back, everyone. This week this series concludes the six part tribute to Paul Krassner. You'll find all the previous tracks in episodes 2,3,4, and 5. I will be collecting all of these tracks into an album later on Bandcamp. A link to that, if interested.

Paul was a terrific human. In lieu of flowers, I recommend donating to his GoFundMe for his wife Nancy and other family.

This episode is on the importance of dishonesty, distortion, and rumor spreading as personal freedoms to challenge authority, and the fun involved in such practices. So, LET'S GET FAKE!

Spoken Word with Electronics · SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #8: Fake News Now

Spoken Word with Electronics · Episode 8, Introduction: "FAKE NEWS NOW"

Spoken Word with Electronics · Episode 8, Side A: Paul Krassner on "The Parts Left Out Of The 1967 LBJ Story"

Spoken Word with Electronics · Episode 8, Side B: "Optimism" (Everybody You Meet is Relevant) — A Good Bye to Paul

May all the change you want in the world be the kind where you fake it til you make it.

Talk with you next week, Continued Best - Ethan (Bandcamp/Soundcloud) Read the rest

How "Marijuana, the Devil's Flower" may have sounded like in 1951, as heard on Shortwave Radio, inside a Bomb Shelter

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

Welcome back. A few years ago, in 2010, the radio station WFMU posted a wonderful set of songs on its incredible blog.

Both songs had the identical title, "Marijuana, the Devil's Flower", or "MTDF" for short. I fell in love with both of these tracks and have pined for an opportunity to do something fun with them. For this week's program, hear MTDF turned into a shortwave radio broadcast signal, using an RF Nomad and an AModulator. Then hear MTDF looped oddly through a set of samplers. Here's a set of soundcloud links:

Ethan Persoff · SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #7: Marijuana, The Devil's Flower

Ethan Persoff · Episode 7, Introduction: "Setting Up Your Own Home Bomb Bunker"

Ethan Persoff · Episode 7, Side A: "MARIJUANA" (The Shortwave Flower)

Ethan Persoff · Episode 7, Second Segment: "I Have a Lot of Cereal to Share"

Ethan Persoff · Episode 7, Side B: "MARIJUANA" (The Devil's Remix)

I was going to call this one "The Bong Bunker" but thought better of it.

Back next week and may all marijuana temptations only be heard, never consumed! - Ethan (Bandcamp/Soundcloud) Read the rest

Hear Mel Blanc Scream "She's a Food Hoarder!" 2,000 Times

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

Greetings, all. To make this more like a proper series, I've expanded these posts into a more traditional radio segment format. You'll find a completely audio version in the playlist.

In 1942, Mel Blanc screamed about food hoarding in a Warner Brothers animated short, "Foney Fables". I was pleased to see the cartoon is in the public domain – Meaning you can do whatever you'd like with much of it.

THIS WEEK: Episode 6, "Food Hoarding with Mel Blanc"

I'll post the download links for the "Food Hoarder" sample in the comments.

Back next week. Have a happy hoarding, Ethan (Bandcamp/Soundcloud) Read the rest

Paul Krassner's Underground Abortion Referral Service, Kathy Acker's Don Quixote, and "Nightwalks During the Pandemic"

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

THIS WEEK:

Episode #5: Audio Politics

Hello, everyone - I hope all things are continuing to be comfortable and well. This installment begins with the fourth part of an interview conducted with Paul Krassner. You can hear the entire interview here as one playlist - There will be two more installments added to this playlist in the next few weeks.

The 60s offered a dystopian reality for many women. This installment focuses on an awful moment in US history (still at risk to return) where a satire magazine would be among the only places found to provide sanity and safety.

When I interviewed Paul in 2017 for a comedy magazine I couldn't help but veer into the serious business of Paul running an underground abortion referral service. This wasn't being an abortion provider, merely indicating where such services could be found. I'll let Paul describe this best, but as an introduction, consider that there was ZERO public information on getting an abortion: no phone book, certainly no Internet (or social media, Google search, or any network), no public record. It had to be word of mouth, leading to many distortions, blackmail, and worse.

Below is probably the most concise he's ever been describing his role of running an underground referral service. Paul did this for a decade, earning him a sizable chapter in his FBI file. Paul is a hero to me for a lot of reasons, but this most of all. Read the rest

Hear E.E. Cummings Read "anyone lived in a pretty how town" and Paul Krassner Recalls: "The Day I Met Lenny Bruce!"

 

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

 

THIS WEEK:



Episode #4: "To Forget to Remember"

Welcome back to Spoken Word with Electronics. I hope this week has gone well for you, all things considered. Here's some audio theater:

This week we lead off with an uncommon recording of E.E.Cummings. One of my favorite poems of his is anyone lived in a pretty how town. It was first published in 1940 and has some interesting resonance today. He has a beautiful speaking voice, which surprised me, a blend of Oscar Wilde with Truman Capote, just with no capital letters. (E.E.'s name was often capitalized, unlike his poems)

Here's the track:

Side A: E.E. Cummings Reads 'anyone lived in a pretty how town' — with a Yamaha Loop and a Metasonix R55 VCO

Music for this track is a blend of a few things, but primarily a loop from a Yamaha Reface CP (GREAT FUN) along with other yamaha-based loops recorded over the last few years, and a Metasonix Voltage Controlled Oscillator, specifically the R55. The R55 (and its current version, the RK7) is based on a very unpredictable thyratron tube and is a wonderfully unpredictable source of noise and completely unique. It's not unlike a tesla coil with sound. You can hear it floating through this isolated track at a gentle dissipating scrape about halfway through. Plugging an LFO into its VCA can produce a wonderful snoring sound; this is audible in the ending third of the track. Read the rest

Paul Krassner, Interview Part 2 — And Henry Miller with a 1973 Buchla Music Easel

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

THIS WEEK:

Side A: "Paul Krassner's 1959 Underground News Report on the Birth Control Pill"

Greetings, all! This week continues my discussion with Paul Krassner, from an interview conducted in 2017. Paul is recognized as an early second-wave feminist, and one of the coolest things he did, in my opinion, was use his reach as a publisher to advocate for reproductive freedoms - including contraception.

In 1959, he began to change The Realist from a satirical paper into one blended with some sharp politics. Subsequently, he published one of the earliest news stories on Enovid, or the Birth Control Pill. At the time, it was sensationally referred to in America as the 1955 Puerto Rican Birth Control Experiments.

Hear Paul's recollection of this significant act of publishing:

Side B: "Henry Miller reads from "The Colossus of Maroussi" with a 1973 Buchla Music Easel, Linn Drum, and a Roland Jupiter-8

A fun side B, this is a reworking of Henry Miller's self-recorded vocal of "The Colossus of Maroussi". The vocal comes from a very rare LP, which is on colored red disc! - I visited a friend who has collected Henry Miller work for decades, who has a copy. Here's a look at one of the rarest literary records ever made, published in very small edition in 1949:

"Written in Greece and New York, 1940. Read the rest

Spoken Word with Electronics: "Paul Krassner Recalls the Day JFK Died" and "Earth, Take Four"

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

THIS WEEK:

Welcome, fellow occupant of Quarantonia! A few months back I posted the first installment of Spoken Word with Electronics, an audio history series. The first episode was a tribute to David Berman of the Silver Jews/Purple Mountains. Since then I've been finishing up a lot of the separate selections from interviews and other recorded vocals.

Here's Spoken Word with Electronics Issue #2, with a lot more to come.

Think of each installment as a two-sided record, a Side A and a Side B.

SIDE A: Paul Krassner recalls the day JFK was shot. Audio comes from a comprehensive interview I did with Paul in 2017, mixed in with a lot of electronic accompaniment. The printed piece ended up in The American Bystander, Issue #4. There was a huge amount of information recorded that couldn't fit in the printed piece, though, and these audio pieces will provide a much denser portrait of P.K. - Often going into territory he rarely discussed.

Future installments will have five or six other focused memories of Paul's on a variety of wonderful topics. Stay tuned for some fun stuff.

SIDE B: Our flip-side track of the album is an apocalyptic carnival ride called "Earth, Take Four" — I'd completed this a few months back but it feels timely. Watch out for the volcanoes!

The wind in "Earth, Take Four" is a combination of different colors of noise. Read the rest

My Unfinished Sound Project with David Berman (Hear: "Governors on Sominex", "The Moon", and "My Life at Home During Banking Hours")

Last month was a rough one. I began August grieving the death of a friend, Paul Krassner, which Mark remembered here on Boing Boing, following Paul's death on July 21. I also wrote a piece on PK, which ran on The Comics Journal.

I didn't share the Comics Journal item with many people, but one of those I emailed was the Silver Jews' David Berman. I figured he'd appreciate the politics, strength, and humor of Paul's life. I didn't hear back, which wasn't surprising, yet I'd regret it being the last message I'd send him. Two weeks later news everywhere would announce Berman's suicide.

For a brief moment I was horrified at my last message. I barely knew David, yet it's weird how grief can operate, overwhelming you with regret over help not offered. But what can anyone ever say.

Communicating with David had been a highlight of 2019. I'd spent years living with his music and art. I'd contacted David earlier this year to invite him to a project of mine, Spoken Word with Electronics. I'm now so thankful for the brief moment I felt a friendship developing, no matter how fleeting.

One wall of Harry's Loft, my recording space in Austin TX

I've been quietly working on this spoken word project for a few years. It's meant to be a modern take on Folkways Recordings. I either record a vocal performance from an author in the studio, do a live recording on the phone, or arrange for an emailed audio file. Read the rest