Soundwalk & Chicago Phonography Performance at the Brushwood Center

pathYou’re invited to a soundwalk and performance by Chicago Phonography at the Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods — 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, January 25, 2015. This event, which is free and open to the public, is co-presented by the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology and the World Listening Project.


  • 1 p.m.: We walk through the Brushwood Gallery, listening to the interior soundscape of the Brushwood Center. Then we walk down a trail in the Ryerson Conservation Area, enjoying the winter soundscape. We walk into the Ryerson Woods’ Welcome Center, and then walk back to the Brushwood Center where we have a post-soundwalk discussion with hot chocolate.
  • 2 p.m.: Chicago Phonography performance

The Brushwood Center is at 21850 N. Riverwoods Rd., Riverwoods, IL 60015. Click here for directions to the Brushwood Center, and please email for more info.
Listen to past performance by Chicago Phonography on Soundcloud.

Framework:afield #326 Episode 4 Worlds Unheard

The fourth and final edition of the World Listening Project’s mini-series for Framework Radio will broadcast on Sunday, April 24. “#326 Worlds Unheard” was produced by Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology (MSAE) member Gregory O’Drobinak who assembled a fascinating collection of recordings of physical and non-physical phenomena normally beyond the range of human hearing and experience.

Use the broadcasts page to learn when and where Framework Radio is broadcast. On the Monday after its broadcast Framework is available as a podcast on Visit the archive to search and listen to past shows, also.

Worlds Unheard is a program that brings to the listener a variety of sound experiences that are far beyond our capacity to hear in everyday life. Some sounds require translation to be heard, like the extremely high frequency utterances of bats or the extremely low frequency vibrations of the earth. Others simply need to be picked up with the appropriate transducers and then amplified directly. This is only a small sampling of an immense world of sound that is available for us to discover and enjoy.—Greg O’Drobinak

(category / artist / sounds heard || description || website)

Ultrasound / Raimund Specht / bats: Noctule and Pipistrelle

Ø   A recording of ultrasonic utterances from two different bats brought into our range of hearing
via the Avisoft software package.

Living Cells / Anne Niemetz / sonocytology (sound from cells)

Ø   The sounds made by the microscopic movement of cells rendered audible via the atomic force microscope. A tiny
cantilever rests on the cell and picks up its vibration much like a phonograph needle.

Living Cells / Joe Davis / sounds of cell movement

Ø   Groups of one-celled organisms whose movement is rendered audible by Joe’s Audio Microscope. It uses a dark-field illumination technique with a coherent light source. This light is modulated by the movement of the cells and converted to audio by an amplified photo-detector.

Structure Transduction / Greg O’Drobinak / pneumatic HVAC steam valve

Ø   The sound of air and steam picked up with a geophone placed on the pneumatic control pipe in a machine room. The geophone is a sensitive electro-magnetic transducer normally used for recording seismic events, but it is also useful for recording other small vibrations.

Structure Transduction / Jodi Rose / mix of bridge sounds: “Norse Bridge Apocalypse”

Ø   Sounds from the cables and superstructure of bridges picked up by various piezo-electric transducers, amplified and woven into a composition.

Structure Transduction / Mark Bain / geosensor renderings of structural sounds

Ø   The physical vibrations within the architecture and furnishings of a large testing laboratory picked up by an array of geophones and amplified directly.

Seismic Waves / John Bullitt / seismic waves passing through the earth

Ø   A rendering of seismic vibration data of several areas of the earth greatly accelerated in time and amplified.

Electromagnetic Waves / Christina Kubisch / sounds of electromagnetic induction

Ø   The electro-magnetic fields of our urban environment are picked up via stereo induction coils built into a custom headset and amplified without modification.

VLF Sferics / Greg O’Drobinak / atmospheric whistlers

Ø   Whistlers
are electromagnetic waves in the audio frequency range produced when the energy from lightning storms is dispersed and diffracted in the upper atmosphere by the earth’s magnetic field. These waves (sferics), literally “nature’s radio”, are picked up via one magnetic (H-field) loop antenna [left channel] and one electric
(E-field) whip [right channel] antenna and amplified for us to hear. VLF is a term used to classify radio waves: Very Low Frequency

VLF Sferics / Stephen McGreevy / whistlers and dawn chorus

Ø   Stephen
uses a combination of H-field and E-field antennas to pick up a great variety of sferics. These natural radio waves are amplified directly for us to hear.

EVP [electronic voice phenomena] / Ray Cass / paranormal voice recordings

Ø   EVP uses radios and tape recorders to capture the disembodied voices of humans past. Ray is generally regarded as a notable master of the technique. There is no translation or modification of the audio signals that are picked up; they are simply recorded without modification when they occur.

EVP [electronic voice phenomena] / Michael Esposito / paranormal voice recordings

Ø   Michael is a contemporary EVP and paranormal investigator. We hear some of his private EVP recordings, untouched from their initial capture.



Crossing listening paths


Soundscapes are seldom simple; on the contrary, they tend to be complex sounding systems continuously changing in time, which no art or science can approach in depth on its own. Listening is the “corner stone” for the appreciation, participation and study of the sonic environment that surrounds and includes us. As Westerkamp (2002) remarks, it is the ecological balance of our planet that becomes audible “to those who care to listen.”
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