What can you do in one second? Listening to the musical/sonic concoctions of sound designers, composers, musicians, piano tuners, and the odd stand-up comic faced with the time restriction, a lot. Asked to “create digital music” in honor of the leap second added to correct atomic clocks New Year’s Eve, you responded with an astounding array of miniature compositions. They’re a reminder that in an age of sprawling evening-length music and all-night DJs, a tiny musical morsel can be just as pleasurable. They also prove that the 23 seconds added to our clocks since the early 70s to account for slowing Earth rotation are no small matter.

Thanks to everyone who submitted; I’m now pleased to offer these sonic tapas, which I’ve assembled into a full leap second ode:

Leap Sounds [mp3] (play live / bookmark with play button at left)

Leap Sounds [ogg]

Piecing them together wound up being a fun challenge in itself, especially with the heavy-hitters involved, from major music software developers to award-winning composers to pro producers and sound designers like Simon Sound (gear pictured here). Read on for their description of each of their second-long works in order (have that pause button ready); I’ll soon have their individual sounds uploaded, as well.

The sounds, in order of appearance. Links to artists’ sites, blogs, and work, where provided. (Check them out: everything from an NYC piano tuner to a paper recycling firm!)

Note: If any of this information is inaccurate, or if your work is here and you’d like to add a Web URL or other comments, please contact me.

0:00 / Jeff Thompson

When I first heard about the leap-second I thought it was really fascinating. The idea of one second that exists not within 2005 or 2006 but somewhere in between seemed great, and I thought I should make some kind of artwork with it. My good friend Warren and I (both performance artists) decided to do separate but related performances at 7:00pm EST during the leap-second. We both videotaped them, and plan to combine them into a single piece.

Then, of course, I read about CDM’s project – also great. I’ve made a piece called “One-second Thunderstorm” which is a recording of an
entire thunderstorm, squished down so the whole thing lasts only one second. I have to say, while the computer was crunching the numbers, I
had no idea what it was going to sound like. Hope you enjoy. Happy New Year!

0:01 / Thykka, Finland

0:02 / Charlie Hoistman

I chose an excerpt from something I was currently working on and made some tiny edits.

0:03 / Adam Sampson

Here’s my submission for your leap second collection. You said that you wanted “something dramatic”, and I figured that there’s nothing
more dramatic than a good thunderstorm, so here’s one I recorded earlier in the year condensed into one second. Then it occurred to me that
perhaps a Shakespeare play would be more dramatic than a thunderstorm, so the low eight bits of each sample encode a Zip file containing the
script to Hamlet, just to make sure. OK, it’s not really music, but I think it sounds quite neat.

0:04 / Kimmer Smith

0:05 / Kevin Park

Note that Kevin is also an NYC-based piano tuner, in case that didn’t show. (Now, can anyone guess which piano he’s tuning from this single second?) -Ed.

0:06 / Lotus Wire

Here’s one second, which took me a shamefully long time to decide on and get just right 😀 It was fun though!

0:07 / Simon Davis

0:08 / Jordan Balagot

Just for kicks — Here’s Auld Lang Syne all in one second. I didn’t write it, just compressed it to a second and thought it would be

0:09 / Raihan Anwar, Van Nuys, CA

I’m just a lowly high school student who doesn’t have much to do tonight (they cancelled the Giant Village concerts in Downtown LA due to
rain. bummer!), so my 1 second is attached.

0:10 / Evening Seed

It’s an intentionally harsh/lo-fi and peaked electro bit.

0:11 / Peter Kirn

I couldn’t resist weighing in myself, so here’s a double-double ring modulation effort using Reaktor SoundSchool Analog (straight out of a patch I designed for my book) and some effects magic in Apple Soundtrack Pro.

0:12 / Michael Moncur

0:13 / Mark Rushton

“Give Me A Big Ramble Later” by Mark Rushton
Credits: Produced by Mark Rushton for Mark Rushton Productions
Voice sample: Phil Kuhlenbeck, CEO of ScrapItOut.com – used by permission – taken from the song “Sales Call, Service Call” by Mark Rushton Music and loops: synths, hi-hat, orchestral bass, pizzicato bass, and violins Mixed in Acid Pro.
Edited in Sound Forge. What an excellent and fun challenge! Ed: check out Mark’s podcast, too! -PK

0:14 / Stabilizer
Happy New Year from Stabilizer!

0:15 / gazellegirl (J. Tompson)

0:16 / Einer Andersson

Here is my one second of music. I made it as a part of my project “jimmy & alexander”. (Picture at right) Anyway,
it’s a kind of SID stylish song in aif format. Hope you like it.

0:17 / atariboy

ILM� = Intelligent Leap Music, innit!

0:18 / Simon James

Created on Minimoog Voyager, Dave Smith Evolver and synthesizer.com modular. — Simon James, radio producer/sound designer (Simon Sound) More gear shown below from their studio

0:19 / Rip Linton, Harmony Diva Productions

. . . was made from the 7.13 second vocal in the mp3 file. The singer is Carmen Matheny. It was compressed and pitch shifted by Rip Linton of Harmony Diva Productions. Thanks, we enjoyed doing it!

0:20 / Thomas Swift

0:21 / “tada”, Jordan Balagot

0:22 / Robin Diane Goldstein

The voice is my friend Jann, a stand-up comedian, who was on the road opening for Carrot Top in Las Vegas, leaving a message on my
voicemail . . . I figured, what’s a New Year’s Celebration without Carrot Top!

0:23 / “1 Swedish Second”, Leo Nathorst-B��s

0:24 / Richard Lainhart, O Town Media

0:25 / Brian Frye, Olympia, WA (left)

0:26 / Matthew Kallen

Granulized vocals… gots to love em’! (Vocals: Emily Moultrie right)

0:27 / Joe Reeves

. . . with Eno ideas in my head I tried to make a second long piece of music. I installed Audacity especially for the occasion . . . Ed: Joe apologized a bit for this one, but I like it! Welcome to digital audio fame, Joe! -PK

0:28 / Bryan Murdaugh

0:29 / Das Aalikz

Wrote it myself, for the Insaniquarium game to be precise. Well, actually, I wrote a minute and a half, but that wouldn’t fit in a second, so I tore this bit out.

0:30 / Simon James

Created on Minimoog Voyager, Dave Smith Evolver and synthesizer.com modular. — Simon James, radio producer/sound designer (Simon Sound) (Ed: second of two from Simon, same setup; I liked them both so here they are — viva analog!)

0:31 / John Minardi

Here’s my second of 5 tracks of four friends who live in different states (and myself) making noises over the phone.

0:32 / John Hidalgo-Barnes

This second of audio represents %0.24 of a larger work. Enjoy.

0:33 / James ‘Noriko’ Postlethwaite

I took a rather literal approach and wanted the sound of time passing, which to my mind brought up metronome clips (my favorite being Ableton’s blips) and the pips from the speaking clock/Radio 4 news bulletins. This clip consists of one minute of metronome clicks from Ableton (with some random panning to make it more interesting) condensed into one second, and a GMT pip tagged onto the end and then the whole thing re-condensed into one second. Ed: Saved this one for last as it seemed to embody the whole project! -PK

0:34 / Vicky, Mac OS X Speech Synthesis

CDM is a home for people who make and play music and motion.