Playing in the SoundCloud: “Stand Still”

I followed a link from CBC Spark 152 to this soothing piece on SoundCloudStand still by weathercast. Now I’m enchanted by it. “SoundCloud is a platform that puts your sound at the heart of communities, websites and even apps. Watch conversations, connections and social experiences happen, with your sound as the spark.”

Spark had an interview with web developer Peter Rukavina, who mashed up real-time data about electrical flow on Prince Edward Island with tracks from SoundCloud using a platform called Pachube. I think John Cage would be humming along with this vibe. Here’s the Spark blurb, wit links:

Have you ever looked at the flow of electricity between New Brunswick and PEI and thought, “Wow, I wonder if I could turn that into music?” Yeah, us either. But Peter Rukavina did. With some technical skill and a few free web services, Peter was able to turn somewhat dull information about inter-province electricity flow into a novel and compelling mashup. (Runs 8:50)

Does the Net Make Us Culturally Lazy?

Cyrus Farivar answers the question for himself in a radio commentary for CBC Radio 1’s Spark!. You can listen to the complete program here. I found it after browsing Cyrus Farivar’s blog, a great example of how a freelance journalist makes use of the blog platform. And I found his blog after listening to a story he produced about Iranian bloggers behind bars for PRI’s The World.

Farivar found during a recent stay in France that he remained connected to North American media via iPhone. He read the New York Times instead of Le Monde, and noted strategically for his CBC listeners that North American public radio is so much better than anything he could hear in France. His conclusion? He consumed his familiar media because he could, because the Internet now makes it so easy to do so.

I have to admit that I’m guilty of the same cultural practice.  When I’m in Toronto, I wake up with NPR’s Morning Edition instead of CBC’s Metro Morning with Andy Barrie. I used to listen to Andy. I constructed my mental map of the GTA with coordinates learned by listening to the traffic reports. But as it became easier and easier to get an NPR stream on the net, I reverted to my standard morning routine. I told myself that I couldn’t get enough news – U.S. and international — otherwise. Blame it on the crack of news.

The argument works in the other direction, though. Thanks to the Internet, I can follow Cyrus Farivar wherever geek wanderlust carries him. And I can turn down the volume on my American radio to listen to a CBC stream.