Archive for May, 2007

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Sound advice

May 18, 2007

“So how loud is the world we live in?

“The fact is, listening to any sound at 85 decibels or higher for a prolonged period of time can cause permanent damage to hearing. The maximum safe exposure time to 120 decibels is eight seconds. The problem is there is a raft of activities in our everyday lives that exceed those noise levels.

“For example, an average conversation takes place at around 60 decibels. Standing on a downtown street corner in rush hour, you’re probably exposed to about 85 to 90 decibels. While using an electric hair dryer or pushing a gas lawnmower, you’re well into the danger zone at 90-plus decibels. At peak levels, iPods can hit volumes of 120 decibels, which is louder than a chainsaw or jackhammer. Music in dance clubs can peak as high as 150 decibels.”

Read the rest of this article on hearing loss by Denise Deveau at CBC News.

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a.raw on PennSound

May 15, 2007

PennSound kindly offered to host my poetry audio files. Excerpts from Wide slumber for lepidopterists now available online through their awesome archive.

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interview: ESO newsletter

May 14, 2007

Dana Gagnier, editor of the Entomologists’ Society of Ontario Newsletter, interviewed me about both the page and stage versions of Wide slumber for lepidopterists for their May 2007 issue.

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volta: first impressions

May 8, 2007

sonic effervescence!

as readers of this blog may have gathered, i’ve been an enthusiastic listener of music by björk for many years. there can be such pleasure in following the work of an artist. her tendency has been to release new material every two years or so… so the initial listens to new work are often quite powerful, curious, surprising, and even cathartic.

björk’s new album, volta, is out today. where her last album, medulla, focused on the voice (the bulk of songs a capella), she’s mentioned the new album focuses on beats (note: not rhythms… beats; her standard mix of 4/4 or arhythm is alive and well throughout). a few first impressions:

  • “pneumonia” is one of the most profoundly affecting songs i’ve heard in a long while, in the same zone (both lyrically and aurally) as “all is full of love” and “pleasure is all mine.”
  • “earth intruders” is goofy, catchy, and has a refrain that borrows a partial melody from her earlier song “one day” (off her debut album).
  • “declare independence” is an experiment, the first song where she’s spoken most of the lyrics. pseudo-punk, the song recalls homogenic‘s “alarm call” (lyrics) and “pluto” (dirty smash-it-up electric noise/sound).
  • two of the album’s songs are duets, an unusual move (hasn’t occurred since selmasongs).
  • memorable lyrics (much has to do with the intonation, descending notes, choral quality): i have lost my origin and i don’t want to find it again (from “wanderlust”).
  • ship horns (“hope”)!!!

have you listened to volta? what do you think?
do you have musicians whose work you follow?

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