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Phantom Power

a FREE concert in Yerba Buena Gardens

3rd and Mission Streets, San Francisco

Sunday evening June 6th, 7pm promptly


update: hear Aaron and Jeremiah discuss Phantom Power and BASE on KUSF (mp3 link) thanks to host Jacob Heule!

Curated by Bay Area Sound Ecology featuring works and talks by Bernie Krause, Andrea Williams, Jeremiah Moore

Bay Area Sound Ecology (BASE) is proud to announce Phantom Power, a free site-specific concert superimposing potential and vanished soundscapes over the existing urban soundscape at Yerba Beuna Gardens, in the heart of downtown San Francisco. Amidst the myriad contemporary sonic identifiers present in the garden today, the audience is invited to experience a phantom image of other soundscapes which were lost to history, which never came to be, or which may yet come to pass. BASE co-chairs Aaron Ximm and Jeremiah Moore curate a selection of artists to create a concert envisioned as a transient intervention, reminding listeners that the familiar soundscape of the places we inhabit, like sound itself, is ephemeral and contingent. Composers will present short works that introduce a subtle layer of sound to the existing environment, evoking how the site sounded years ago, or how it might someday sound. Yerba Beuna Gardens has many layers of history to explore, and for its unique situation amid the cultural institutions and life of the city.

A moment of focused listening will be set aside, to consciously reflect on the soundscape as it currently exist. Artists will then introduce their work and discuss their vision. A Q&A session will convene after the event to discuss the project’s contrasting visions.

Some of the compositions will be heard ‘in motion,’ two of the composers are choreographing movement in the space. A third piece will be ‘conducted’ with different voices being raised and lowered to a specific effect. Featuring the work of: Andrea Williams – presenting the premiere of Garden TOOR Bernie Krause – participate in mixing the Soundscapes of California Jeremiah Moore – presenting the premiere of Cycles

Please visit on or after June 7 to download the concert tracks.

Festival Organizers – Project Soundwave:

Facebook Event:

Note: This is a low-environmental impact event using a crowd-sourced sound cloud. Attendees are asked to bring ipods, CD players, small portable speakers, boomboxes (we will have a limited supply as well). The compositions would be distributed to audience-participants beforehand via the internet (link to downloadable mp3s available in June), and at the event on CDs.

The Artists

Aaron Ximm is a San-Francisco-based field recordist and sound artist. He is best known for his composition, installation, and performance work under the name Quiet American. From 2001 to 2005, Aaron curated and hosted the Field Effects concert series, which, like his own work, sought to showcase the quiet, fragile, and lovely side of sound art, particularly working with found sound and field recordings. In 2009, Aaron was an artist in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito. He has performed at numerous musical festivals and symposiums, including the San Francisco Tape Music Festival and the Embertide for Binaural Audio Art Symposium in the United Kingdom.

Jeremiah Moore is an artist and sound designer based in San Francisco. He has produced works exploring human perceptions of time, examining the interface of humans, nature and technology, engaging the beauty in the everyday, and transforming commercial culture into meaningless bliss. He is currently mixing and designing sound for documentary films, interactive works, radio and exhibits at his independent post-production sound studio. His work can be heard at Prehistoric Journey at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and at the Detention Barracks at the Angel Island Immigration Station Museum. He lives in the Mission District with his partner and two children who, like him, never sleep.

Andrea Williams is a sound artist and composer currently living in San Francisco. She utilizes site-specific elements and perceptual cues to reveal the unseen connections between people and their environment. Her compositions make use of field recordings, instruments, computer technologies and the sound of the performance space itself. She has led soundwalks in New York and San Francisco, and has shown and performed both solo and with the Glass Bees and SleepWalks at galleries and alternative spaces, most recently the Diapason Gallery, NPR, Fountain Miami Art Fair, and the Mamori sound artist residency in the Amazon rainforest. Andrea is a founding member of the New York Society for Acoustic Ecology, currently a member of BASE in San Francisco, and is attending Mills College for her MFA in Electronic Music.

In the late 1960s, Bernie Krause began his ground-breaking life work in bioacoustics and the recording of environments throughout the world, much of which has been accomplished with techniques and technologies for recording, analyzing, and presenting habitat-and species-specific sounds that Krause has developed on his own. His album, In a Wild Sanctuary (WB, 1970), earned a place in history as being the first recording to use environmental sounds as both a central component of orchestration and as a statement about the environment. Under the company name Wild Sanctuary, Inc., Krause continues to share his compelling field experiences through his musical albums and dramatic sound installations in public spaces such as museums, zoos, and aquaria. Krause holds a Ph. D. with an Internship in bio-acoustics from Union Institute, Cincinnati.

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Future, past, imaginary soundscapes of Yerba Buena Gardens curated by Bay Area Sound Ecology

June 13, 7pm, outdoors at Yerba Buena Gardens

Mission Street between 3rd and 4th, San Francisco
Produced as part of Project Soundwave: Green Sound 2010
Festival Event Page

The following Tracks are material for a live participatory performance at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco.  Please download the following tracks  and bring them loaded onto your portable player / amplification system.

Download All Tracks at Once (recommended)

Download all tracks in a single .zip file:

Phantom Power Tracks (.zip 124 MB)


The tracks constitute a site specific soundwork, intended to be heard simultaneously each from from a separate mobile speaker system, within the environs of Yerba Buena Gardens.

Participants: Please download all four tracks; at the performance you will be asked to play one of the four color-coded tracks.

14 minutes 35 seconds.

Garden TOOR – Red

Garden TOOR – Blue

garden TOOR – Green

garden TOOR – Yellow


The tracks consitute a three-part soundwork, intended to be played simultaneously on separate speaker systems during a predefined walk in Yerba Buena Gardens.

Participants: Please download the following three tracks; at the performance you will be asked to play either A, B or C.

14 minutes 56 seconds.

Cycles A

Cycles B

Cycles C


Please download the following four approx. 1 min 30 second tracks:

Ocean Dreams

Ocean Wonders



Chris Carlsson published an SF noise story today in

A paragraph regarding critical mass and the sound of bike transport:

“For us cyclists, the sounds of our whirring wheels and gentle gear changes is a pleasant confirmation of our self-propulsion. One of my favorite aspects of Critical Mass is the completely altered soundscape that accompanies our progress through the City. Sure, sometimes we’re hooting and hollering, and there are at least a half dozen folks who might show up with serious sound systems pumping loud tunes into the air (a side note: the SFPD ticketed all the sound systems last month for lack of sound permits in their ongoing war of attrition, trying to literally raise the price for participating in CM). But the majority of time the sound is that of rolling bikes, murmuring voices, tinkling bells, and laughter. It’s such a lovely kind of quiet, full of life and sweet energy, but so different from the anonymous, unaccountable thrumming of machines that fills our ears so often that we frequently stop noticing until they are turned off. And once you’ve ridden through the city in a mass of bicycles, it’s hard not to remember that different urban environment, and wonder why it can’t be more like that all the time.”

Noise Map

The second thing is this SF dept. of Health “Transportation Noise Map” which is quite visually beautiful (to my sensibility anyway) though I question it’s accuracy.

Transportation Noise Map of San Francisco, 2008

Scroll down to “Traffic Noise” and click the thumbnail map to download a PDF version

I haven’t done any digging, and am unlikely to, but I have to assume this is based on modeling not actual measured SPL (that would be far too expensive to accomplish) and I wonder modeled on what data?  Strange that South Van Ness – a shade busier than Folsom, two shades less busy than Mission, is red while Mission is hardly even orange.  Not sure I want this map to represent the city when it comes to making policy decisions.  However if you zoom into the upper right corner, the image does bear some resemblance to the pride flag.

On the noise-complaint front, for better or worse or both, you can look at the inner workings of the SF Noise Task Force.


Announcing: American Society for Acoustic Ecology (ASAE) Inaugural Retreat, Chicago July 9-11, 2010

The ASAE’s first retreat will be held July 9-11, 2010, hosted by the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology and the World Listening Project in Chicago. This will be the first acoustic ecology conference held in Chicago, home to a thriving sonic arts community and center world for world-class architecture, located on the shore of largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth.

Among other events, we are planning discussions around “Florasonic” – a sound art installation at the Fern Room in the Lincoln Park Conservatory by Lou Mallozzi Founder and Director of the Experimental Sound Studio (ESS), an afternoon soundwalk at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Douglas Center for Environmental Education, a Chicago nightlife soundwalk, and a public forum on urban sound environments addressing local, national and international sound and environment issues from multiple perspectives.

While this event has been designed to allow members of the ASAE to meet and plan for the future, members of the greater WFAE community are invited to participate.

Contact or for more information.

On Sunday Feb 21, 2010, BASE hosted BASEbot 005

featuring recordist, composer and instrument builder

Cheryl Leonard

who presented work from her recent trip to Antartica on a grant from the National Science Foundation.

BASEbot 005

SUNDAY, February 21st, 2010
2:30 pm doors, starting promptly at 3
~an hour of formal presentations followed by Q&A and mingling.


Dan Dugan Sound Design
290 Napoleon Street Studio E
San Francisco, CA 94124

Please come LISTEN as

Recordist, composer and instrument builder Cheryl Leonard will present field recordings from Antarctica, excerpts of works composed from those recordings, and a short musical instrument demo followed by a Q&A.

If there is sufficient interest and time, afterward there will be an open-salon listening and discussion period – providing an opportunty to play your short (under five minute) sound excerpts and to discuss ideas or works in progress. We will provide a CD player and minijack hookup for iPods and the like.

Cheryl will have copies of her new Antarctic field recordings cd available for purchase for the special discount price of $10. She’s also open to trading copies for other BASEbot people’s cds of their field recordings, sound art, and/or experimental music

The event will be recorded and made available via our forthcoming podcast.

About Cheryl Leonard

Cheryl Leonard is a composer who visited Palmer Station in January 2009 on an Antarctic Artists and Writers grant from the National Science Foundation. During her month on the ice she explored the local islands and glaciers, searching out and recording natural soundscapes. The Antarctic Peninsula in the austral summer is full of wildlife, icebergs, melting glaciers, and fascinating sounds.

Glass shards and pinecones, glaciers, boxspring mattresses, a flock of accordions, circular saw blades, viola, the erhu, hyenas and whales and elk, Cheryl E. Leonard’s music finds its raw materials just about anywhere. From these diverse sources come works that embrace the spectrum of musical possibilities: improvised to composed, acoustic to electronic, diaphanous to bombastic, notes to noise. Many of Leonard’s works explore subtle textures and intricacies in sounds not generally considered musical. These investigations often include the creation of instruments, primarily from found natural materials. Her interests include: developing site-specific compositions and instruments, guerrilla performance, and collaborating across artistic disciplines.

Cheryl Leonard’s website:

Her fascinating antarctic blog:

Nature sound recordist Gordon Hempton shares some of his beautiful recordings, and discusses his One Square Inch of Silence project, including his recent book.

Gordon Hempton requires no introduction for many in the recording world – his recording work speaks for itself, and he’s been at it for a long time.  He’s got a book out on natural quiet and his journey of advocacy, co-written with John Grossman.  It’s called One Square Inch of Silence: One Man’s Search for Natural Silence in a Noisy World.  More info at

Gordon discusses the sounds of his back yard, and his journey toward becoming a natural quiet advocate.

@ 7:38 – recording: Coyote duet recording from Gordon’s back yard
@ 10:03 – on John Muir
@ 12:31 – Human noise intrusions into the story of the book coming to be
@ 17:30 – Establishment of One Square Inch (OSI) and effects
@ 20:57 – recording:  24-hours of Dawn Chorus compressed into One Minute
@ 25:22 – John Muir as a sound recordist (in text).  History of Muir and Hempton
@ 28:18 – recordings: Waters of the Muir world
@ 30:10 – recordings: Three waterfalls of Yosemite

At about 34 minutes a discussion ensues, topics including John Muir, hydrophones, the human-listening perspective, Ann Kroeber on the sound of space (and contact mics), the acoustics of Gordon’s backyard, binaural equipment, recording as a listening practice.

More discussion:
@ 51:57 – Finding good locations to record in nature.  Being still.
@ 2:00:21 – Not being eaten by the wildlife.  Noise and legislation.  Mark Twain and Mississippi songbirds.
@ 2:07:56 – recording: an amazing Sage Grouse recording.
@ 2:10:23 – recording: Dawn on the Mississippi River – a beautiful tour through the first minutes of the dawn chorus as the birds organize themselves acoustically.

On Friday April 17th 2009 we were honored to host listener, recordist and self-avowed acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton – the Sound Tracker – for a BASEbot listening salon.

Gordon is on tour with his new book One Square Inch of Silence: One Man’s Search for Natural Silence in a Noisy World co-written with John Grossman and published by Simon and Schuster.  Gordon spoke at length about his journey into becoming an outspoken advocate of natural quiet, from following in the footsteps of John Muir to creating the One Square Inch of Silence project in the Olympic National Forest.

We heard some wonderful recordings, notably a beautiful coyote duet recorded in Gordon’s backyard and an unearthly Sage Grouse mating ritual.  You can listen for yourself in our podcast.

We discussed the act of recording as a state of active and still receptivity – akin to meditation in many ways – and the physical and mental discipline required.  The ways in which the recordist’s sphere of awareness expands to include more and more of the world around – the margins, the periphery – and the things you notice while in that state to which you’d otherwise be oblivious.

After, I find myself thinking of how our culture has so reduced the likelihood of entering that state, a state any other animal probably spends a good deal of time: simply observing.  Which ties back to the idea we discussed last summer with the folks from NYSAE of listening itself as a potentially radical act amidst industrialized consumer society.  To simply quiet onesself and listen.

The event was our most conversational salon to-date – a great success.  Thanks to Gordon for coming, to Aaron for inviting him, and to Dan and Sharon for hosting us in their home – and just before the big NAB conference at that.

-Jeremiah Moore, San Francisco 2009

Gordon Hempton is an acoustic ecologist and Emmy Award-winning sound recordist who has provided audio services to Microsoft, Discovery, National Public Radio, and other organizations, and who has been profiled by major media including CBS News Sunday Morning, NPR, and People. He lives in Joyce, Washington.

Links – website dedicated to the One Square Inch of Silence project – Links for buying the book – Gordon Hempton’s site, where you can buy his recordings


During discussion at the meeting, a couple of ideas came up for possible future events:

  • A technical salon in which we DO focus on gear and techinique for once, topics being things like field recording technique, fieldwork habits and ideas, recorders, microphones, windscreens, editing technology etc.  Perhaps we could work with the Nature Sounds Society on a DIY Microphone Windscreen workshop.
  • A conversational BASEbot salon organized around, for lack of a better term, “the zen of recording.”

Anyone interested in the above, please chime in via email or the mailing list.

Sound Designer James LeBrecht shares a few of his most favorite and most personally meaningful sound recordings.

Here’s the setup:  Jim is sitting in the center of Dan Dugan’s control panel, with Pro Tools behind him and faders for a quadrophonic monitoring system.  On and off, he talks and plays sounds which he’s gathered for the occasion.  About twenty people sit, listen and discuss.

We start with sounds from an exhibit installation about hybrid California cultures titled Trading Traditions.  Over the course of an hour and a quarter, we hear among other things Foghorns, quad recordings from San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, a Thanksgiving dinner, and evocative insects and frogs.

Later James talks about upcoming projects, including a documentary he’s mixing on the staging of the opera Doctor Atomic.  There’s a discussion of the sound of air itself clipping.  At around 68 minutes, we go around an mention favorite sounds.

On a technical note:  It was a hot evening in San Francisco and we had a fan running during the presentation.  Traffic can be heard going by the open doorwas going by, and a band down the street was practicing.  This recording documents that soundscape.  Where possible I’ve crossfaded from the room mic to a clean recording of the sounds.


For Earth Day 2009, Seed Magazine has produced an audio slideshow called Ear to the Ground, featuring the work of our recent BASEbot presenter Gordon Hempton, and our colleagues from New York Society for Acoustic Ecology Jonny Farrow, Edmund Mooney and Andrea Polli.

Seed Magazine Slideshow: Ear to the Ground

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