The possibilities of a microphone and the world are limitless, so as this week we looked at a recording of music made with playgrounds, a mic, and Ableton Live, readers responded in kind with a fantastic spectrum of sampling-inspired, real world-produced musical wonder. From comments, a few examples:

Diego Stocco, a favorite sound designer on this site, ventures in his latest installment into a dry cleaner. Clean, wrinkle-free clothes and great music – see, you don’t actually have to choose. See top.

“Vega” by CDM reader Cordovan Music (Gregory Reeves), is an eerily-lovely ambient score made from LA’s freeways – and perhaps an ominous, if beautiful, portent of a lot of us driving on said freeways for NAMM in January.

Vega by Cordovan Music

From the experimental and minimal ambient release “Photic”, “Vega” is made entirely from field recordings taken on Los Angeles freeways.
About the album:
Gregory Reeves is a Los Angeles-based electronic artist, composer, and musician. His work can be heard on A&E, History Channel, FUEL TV, Universal, EA Games and many more. His sound art and installation work includes pieces for the Gaffa Gallery, Sydney, as well as creating a soundscape for the huge geodesic dome at the Peats Ridge festival in Australia, New Years eve. Electronic releases under various aliases have received winning reviews in XLR8R, URB, JazzTimes, and Rolling Stone. Remixes include Bob Marley and the Wailers (“One Love” from “Roots Rock Remixed” on Tuff Gong/Quango), Sarah Vaughan, and others.
“Photic” is a collection of minimal, generative ambient works. “Vega” is made entirely from manipulated field recordings taken on Los Angeles freeways. “Dark Field” uses convolved urban sounds to create a brooding ambient soundscape (the piece was originally composed for the DUOscope multimedia installation in Sydney). “Anemone” was created using undersea video footage to generate musical events, while “Haiku in C” is based on classical Japanese Gagaku music. For fans of Brian Eno, Murcof, and Loscil

Reader Cillian John, in the more pedestrian-friendly city of Stockholm, looked instead to escalators.

On and on by cillianjohn

He writes:

The urban environment is full of inspiring noises. I particularly enjoy the mechanical rhythms you hear all round.
The rhythmic element of this track is a field recording of escalator I recorded while on a trip to Stockholm.

Audiovisual remix superstar Pogo, aka Perth, Australia-based Nick Bertke, is embarking on a mission to “remix the world” as has inspired the headline of this post. Check out the spectacular results, and perhaps even get involved (thanks, BenAlex):
Kickstarter on Tibet

(I’m awaiting further details, but I am personally angered by the apparent mistreatment of Bertke which recently resulted in a 10-year deportation from the United States of America – and even that only after seemingly-extreme prison time and detainment that required the intervention of the consulate of New Zealand; you can follow on his blog. I’ve been deeply frustrated by the apparent targeting of artists, whatever the requirements of the law, in the US and Canada. More on that soon; anyone with expertise or experience in these matters, I’d love to hear from you. I feel it’s worth bringing up, as I’m sure that someone would have done so in comments as this story has spread.)

I’m sure there are many, many other examples, but this seems to me a nice place to begin – and fertile ground for inspiration to make something yourself.

  • BenAlex

    Mad props for mentioning Bertke as well as his outrageous ban from the states. One thing though, it's just "Pogo". Pogo Mix is the name of his website 🙂 

  • these videos remind me of two things. in my Super8mm production class we were asked to shoot playgrounds and no one in the class used environment sounds of the play grounds. most likely because nobody wanted to lug around a cassette recorder and then sync to their super 8mm. and, how i wish i could code so i could make a VST that precisely emulates my favorite samplers like a Mirage, an s900, and the filter outputs of an sp1200.

  • I love Avant Guard experimental music.  So when the more conventional listener states:  "That's just noise", I sometimes question what it is that defines music?  Here's what I can come up with.

    1)  A unique sound signature.  (the best artists have their own somewhat identifiable signatures.)

    2)  Periodicity.  

    Other than these two minimal points, I can think of little else a work requires to be considered "Music".  So, I suppose anything a person records that isn't simply pure pink noise, can be classified as music.  And that's OK, because some of us outgrow the conventional pop song, at least some of the time.

  • Thanks for including "Vega"–I'm honored.

    I'm also dumbfounded reading about Pogo's situation on his blog—it's unbelievable!

  • Steve

    It's great to see Nick get some attention, especially after what he went through these past couple months. Viva Pogo!

  • Very interesting projects. I love these.

    @Brian Tuley: That is a nice definition of music, but you can go even further, as Edgar Varèse did, saying there's no music anymore, it's just -more or less- organized sound… 🙂

  • Well, I have sounds I've made from orbital sanders, a rattle from one of those hydraulic door closer things at my uni, and I even made a clavinet-like sound using my voice as the source. One of the elevators at my uni has now taken to vibrating at an audible frequency as the doors close, so I'll be taking my field recorder in tomorrow to capture that one.

    The world is full of sounds.

  • j

    this isn't avant garde.. come on people, this kind of stuff can be seen/heard in mcdonalds commercials. When will people realize that sampling shit is over 30 years old, this isn't new, not that it's bad.. just saying. 

  • This reminds me of the work of Einsturzende Neubauten

  • Peter Kirn

    @j: These are examples of people now making music using samples.

    About every other darned post on this site, I get someone complaining that I think something is new when it's not.

    If I claimed everything I posted was "new," that would be a valid criticism. But I don't.

  • john z


    so right at the top of the original video Diego is taping what appears to be the head of a stethoscope to something…

    if that's the case, how is he transforming the air pressure to electric current in order to record?

    i own a stethoscope…

  • Delighted to have my track included here. I'm a long time musician but up until 2 or 3 years ago I had no idea what sampling, a vst, even MIDI was. This site has been a great resource, and more importantly, often gives me the gentle nudge to press that record button.

  • Bogzz

    Do you know what kind of preamp did Diego use?

  • Brian Tuley

    Everything has already been done before.  So what.  It's just nice to see the technology in the hands of everyone, instead of a select few for a change.  

  • ^ This

    Forget the rush to be new, show more discussion of processes because it's great to be inspired to try new things.

  • That hits the target dead ctneer! Great answer!

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