Turn your annoying neighbors into music using magic

I live in a “developing” neighborhood that sits on the fringe of the ghetto. I just recently moved here with my wife, and we like it a lot. For the most part the neighborhood is peaceful, accept for the occasional fight, loud car stereo or carrying on a block over. I generally like the sounds of the city. It’s a constant source of interesting sonic collisions. The church organ next door, mixing with a passing Craig Mack being forced out of a crappy car stereo, etc.

Recently though, a bunch of college kids have moved in to some new appartment buildings behind my house. They are pretty annoying. They blast radio-rap and have loud drunken conversations till the wee hours. I can’t really help hearing them and sometimes find myself actually listening to them. It can be kind of ammusing. The other night I got the brilliant idea to try to record them with this condenser mic I built. Primarilly because it picks up everything and seems to do well with distant sounds, that and I was sure their conversation would be priceless.

Here’s a clip

How awesome are they?!?! I recorded about a half an hour, trying not to get my laughter mixed in with the recording. once I was done, I began to think of ways I could use the recording in music. I have been doing a bunch of field recording over the past couple years. Location things, sonic events, sound walks, etc. and always felt the itch to incorporate them in some larger thing. As I thought about it I came back to something I have been playing with a lot lately… time. Sounds take on completely different lives when they are taken out of their natural habitat in time. I have been experimenting with this a lot, and really enjoing the results. So I took a snippet of this audio in pro-tools and began running the time compression/expansion filter on it to varying degrees and listening to the results.

Time Compression/Expansion in Pro Tools

It’s amazing what goes on inside a sound in such a short time. The following clips are pieces of the previous clip, slowed down to various degrees. I was surprised how musical some of the results were. They almost sound like raging guitar solos. I’m definitely going to have to play with this technique more.

Here they are, enjoy.

Slow 1
Slow 2
Slow 3



3 Responses to “Turn your annoying neighbors into music using magic”

  1. Lemon Mahler Says:

    My friend and I have been bursting with inspiration for the past couple of months. We both want to get out there and start exploring the audible spectrum, though we have one problem: we have no recording gear. If I may ask, how did you build a compressor mic? Also, how do you import you recordings, onto your computer for editing? To be honest while we’re excited as schoolchildren on a field-trip, we just can’t wrap our heads around the technical side of recording, editing etc. Any help would be appreciated, and if it’s to complicated I wouldn’t mind getting an email (of course this all assumes your not busy, which I’m sure you are). Thanks :D.

    Oh, and my email is [removed to avoid spam]

    Cheers again.

  2. Lemon Mahler Says:

    I guess on the holidays I’ll devote my time to studying the intricacies of amplification and the way instruments function. I guess I’ve put it off until now for fear of being overwhelmed in Jargon. I just don’t know where to start!

  3. howsthatsound Says:

    lemon, thanks for all the interest you have shown in this blog. it’s always good to hear that it is giving people a little inspiration.
    the mics i use come from an old tape op article and sound fantastic (at least to my ears). they are super easy to make too. here is the original article.
    a free program i use a lot of editing is audacity. it’s really easy to use and you can’t beat free. 🙂

    i’d be happy to help you with some info. i’ll send you an email.

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