World Listening Day 2017 – Listening to the Ground

World Listening Day 2017

World Listening Day is a global event in honour of Canadian composer and acoustic ecologist R. Murray Schafer. This year, World Listening Day theme honours late composer Pauline Oliveros, and its theme is “Listening to the Ground.” In the spirit of World Listening Day, some of Vancouver New Music’s board members and staff have put their ears to the ground and sourced a collection of sonic works informed by the (under)ground.

From Robert Ablenas, President, Vancouver New Music:


Why the ground?

  • We’re intimately connected to the ground — our buried dead merge with the earth, life-sustaining crops grow up from the earth.
  • There’s a politics of the ground — sidewalks steer us, rough surfaces impede us, persons claim ownership over expanses of ground.
  • Our interaction with the ground produces sound — excavating a construction site, raking leaves, riding a snowboard, footsteps.
  • The ground on its own produces sound — subterranean animal movement, volcanic eruption, inception of sinkholes.
  • Inaudible seismic events can be transformed into sound we can hear by shifting their frequency, adjusting their amplitude, and compressing their time scale.
  • Data collected from soundless underground processes can be represented through sound, mapping the data onto pitch, duration, amplitude, timbre, and so on.
Further listening from Robert Ablenas:
Charles Dodge, Earth’s Magnetic Field (1961-73) (Note: currents in Earth’s molten core produce Earth’s magnetic field which is then transcribed by Dodge)
 A selection of earthquake sounds created from seismic recordings http://geophysics.eas.gatech.edu/people/zpeng/EQ_Music/#part3_3
Mauricio Kagel, Pas de Cinq (1965)
François Bayle, Tremblement de terre très doux (1978)
Annea Lockwood, Ground of Being (2000)
Michael Finnissy, Unknown Ground (1992)
Carl Maguire, Subsurface (2012) excerpt
Lars Graugaard, Layers of Earth (2012)
Paul Dresher, Underground (1982)


Further listening from
Tyler Kinnear:

Hildegard Westerkamp, Beneath the Forest Floor (1992)
Christopher DeLaurenti, To the Cooling Tower, Satsop (2015)


Further listening from Giorgio Magnanensi

David Dunn, Listening To What I Cannot Hear (2008)
Katie Paterson Vatnajökull (the sound of) (2007-2008)

Further listening from
Heather McDermid:
Pauline Oliveros, Rattlesnake Mountain Proving Grounds (1982)
Jennifer S. Holland, Nature is Quieter than Ever Before, in National Geographic, October 6, 2015. Interview with, and recordings by Bernie Krause.
Postcommodity, We Lost Half the Forest And The Rest Will Burn This Summer (2015)