soundtracking with Robert Szkolnicki: ears in the soundcloud

January 11, 2012

People. Big treat. Robert Szkolnick is a Winnipeg computer/tech guy with an ear for music, a blog for writing about music and other stuff, an eye for photography (and self-portraiture, an example of which you see above), a few hours spent in a forest or two, and an appreciation of … Well I’ll let him tell you more in this month’s instalment of soundtracking. Over to you, Robert:

A word game.

audio + internet = ?

The answer of course is music. However, browse around Soundcloud for a while and you will hear more than that.

It seems like Soundcloud has been around forever. Actually it has only been around for three-plus years, however its niche as a place to hear uploaded audio seems like a service that should have been around as long as YouTube (7 years from wikipedia).

Yes, there is plenty of music to hear on Soundcloud. One of my favourite singles of 2011 was Edible Rust by the group Pageant’s. There is no album yet and although you can find this song on Facebook and MySpace, Soundcloud is the easiest to access. It can be embeded into webpages (as it is  here) so you might have already used Soundcloud and not known it.

The music web site The Life of Best Fit has quite the presence on Soundcloud.

One of my favourite web sites to purchase experimental audio albums is Experimedia. On this site you will find Soundcloud hosting many album previews. Here are two recent favourites of mine.

Chris Watson – El Tren Fantasma

Ernst Karel – Swiss Mountain Transport Systems

If YouTube is the archive for everything visual, then Soundcloud is or could be the same for audio. I paused a bit about the success of Soundcloud after I read on Fast Company in November that it had reached 8.5 million users. That does not seem like many members to me, however I guess not everyone needs to upload audio – yet.

The same Fast Company article gives links to favourite sounds from Soundcloud’s founder, Alexander Ljung:

Soprano Pipistrelle bat swarm

Hydrophonic ice floe

A collection of ice cream truck sounds

So is there an audience for bat swarms, ice cracking, and ice cream trucks? Yes there is.

A recent album review on The Field Reporter provides the clue …

It’s challenging for the artist to use field recordings when probably what he is recording has been, more or less, recorded many other times. The success of a sound artist using untreated field recordings is related to his capacity to recognize his experience as unique, to his capacity to transform his experience without loss or distortion into a relevant, new and connective experience with his listeners …

Like YouTube, Soundcloud will attract content of varied quality. It seems for the moment that Soundcloud has found a following with audio enthusiasts. In order for it to survive, it will depend on more people feeling the need to upload audio. More music. More talk. More sounds.

I hope it succeeds. I have no financial interest in the company. It is the place where I have found a home for my uploaded audio recordings.

Robert Szkolnicki

Blog: The Redeye Complex


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