Outside Broadcast

Poetry and other sounds

For over two years I’ve been hoping there’d be a way to hear the works of David McCooey beyond the confines of the few tracks he’s posted on soundcloud.com. Finally, he’s released an album of his poetry soundtracks, as he refers to them, a mixture of music, sound design, and poetry: Outside Broadcast.

And now I’m a pretty happy guy.

So many of us producing this sort of poetry and music thing are not musicians or recording engineers and the results tend to be pretty ragged. The poetry might be excellent. The performance or reading of the poetry, however you want to think of it, might also be fine. The choices of sounds and how they’re pieced together might be interesting and moving. In general, the idea of what we’re trying to do might be brilliant. But unless we’re collaborating with musicians and engineers the results can be hard on…

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Mark Goodwin and Brian Lewis on Poems, Places & Soundscapes

I always wish I could be in England. Right now I’d like to be there to witness and experience this exhibit.

Strange Alliances

Poems, Places & Soundscapes exhibition space Poems, Places & Soundscapes exhibition space

Poems, places and soundscapes describes itself as ‘An international exhibition of digitally produced sound-&-poetry focusing on place & soundscape’. It is a description that does not do justice to the depth of sensory texture the visitor experiences from the combination of media in the meticulously curated exhibition of work from an extensive range of poets and presentations.

This type of work is also available online, but there is something of a sense of occasion walking into the intimate Cube gallery in Leicester’s Phoenix arts complex.

I interviewed the exhibition’s curators Mark Goodwin and Longbarrow’s Brian Lewis to find out more.

Tell me about why you put this exhibition on and a little bit about it.

Mark: One of my motives is that I’d like more people to start making this kind of work. I’m amazed by the variety and ingenuity of the of sound-enhanced…

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SoundCloud not SoundClown

It is painfully ironic that the only way I could have discovered others making digitally produced audio poetry was via SoundCloud. It was because of my finding a community of poetry listeners that I became motivated to develop my own practice as a sound-artist-poet, indeed it is through SoundCloud that I discovered that practice. It was because of SoundCloud, and the way I could receive and leave comments on others’ work, that I was able to learn so much, and also pass on to others some of what I know about poetry and poetics. Only through SoundCloud and being able to make the SoundCloud group ‘air to hear’ was I able to seek and collect the work of other sound-artist-poets.

All this work is now in jeopardy. My work of seeking and encouraging depends on being able to leave substantial comments. I’ve been a community poet since the late 90s, someone who encourages others to speak and write creatively – SoundCloud was the only online ‘place’ that I felt I could carry out that kind of work. All that now seems likely to go. Even if I can choose to carry on using the classic SoundCloud interface I will not be able to leave informative, critically constructive and encouraging comments on others’ tracks, unless they too choose the old way. If I now find some young in-experienced poet in some corner of our world dabbling with sound who only needs a couple of careful critical comments about their work, plus a good dose of ‘good-on-you’ and ‘keep-at’, and perhaps an invitation to contribute to ‘air to hear’ …. well … I just can’t do that anymore. ‘air to hear’ depends on expansive comment boxes.

It is painfully ironic that so much has begun to be so suddenly ended. It’s as if careful and loving parents have been seduced overnight, by Hades perhaps; and now those parents are hungry and forgetful, so that all they reared is left to waste … as they follow their new gleaming god.

Behind every cloud there is a silver-sonic lining.

Behind every clown, in the depths of every clown,
beneath the mask of hilarity, there is sadness
and even dark anguish.

SoundCloud not SoundClown.

Sounding The Cloud



Technology provides each aspiring artist with recording studios that are inexpensive and more than adequate for the aspiring artist.  We each of us now have at our fingertips the potential to record our own sounds, in our own rooms or even on the move! In the past I had been recording my own stuff (sometimes collaborating with others, mostly solo projects) responding to a primal ‘need’ to make my writings audible. At first I recorded purely for the enjoyment I took from vocalizing and adding music to my tracks. For the most part I would record little snippets of guitar or keyboards, then add to these in Audacity. I liked fading sequences in and out of each other.  Regardless I had no idea what to do with the mounting files of audio recordings that were crowding my external hard drives.


Now there is Soundcloud! A platform has been created whereby you can seek an audience for your uploaded tracks and you can peruse other artists’ talent to your hearts content. Now, sure there are many ‘friendcatchers’ out there: they follow you but when you check them out they already have 2000 followers and you can be pretty sure they haven’t listened to your tracks (funny that most of their tracks tend to be, from what I have heard, generic hardcore samples that can be knocked up in programs like mixtikl in the space of five minutes). But there are many out there who are having fun with the audio medium, who are experimenting (the Air to Hear group is a good place to listen in –   it’s one of many out there).  There is a thriving community of artists of all genres (and beyond) out there.  Unlike Facebook I feel that Soundcloud has more to offer. There is potential here, more so than the likes of My Space, which does not possess the same intimacy. I’ve only been using SoundCloud for a month now and I feel I’ve already made many good contacts and discovered a host of interesting work. Long may it continue!




Dave Migman