everyone deserves to be heard
but first we must learn to listen
Laura sees a world where people use technology to foster happy and healthy relationships with themselves and others. Currently in a doctorate program of audiology at CUNY, she is expanding her sound and audio expertise into hearing health and science, assisted hearing technologies, and how to live with rising noise levels. She imagines herself being the ambassadress of sound into seemingly foreign spheres, and sharing her knowledge whilst picking up insights from others.
A native Utica New Yorker, Laura grew up playing violin and piano in orchestras and rock bands. After her undergraduate years, she caught the travel bug and worked as an English language teacher in Taiwan, a dance instructor in Havana, Cuba, a figure skater in France and Germany, and owned a small business in Denver, CO. She moved to New York City in 2005, immersing herself in the world of sound and technology via NYU.
In 2009, Laura opened Chrystie Street Sound with then partner Scott Anderson. Her location sound recording and post-production sound work has been featured in Sundance, Tribeca, South by Southwest, Slamdance Film Festivals, VH1, PBS, Comedy Central and more. She taught sound at the Tisch Graduate Film School for three years, was faculty at NYU’s Steinhardt Graduate Music Technology program for four, and worked at lean and mean companies Blastwave FX and Pro Sound Effects for five. She holds a master’s degree in Music Technology from NYU, at that time focusing on computer music controller design. She is a proud Glass Explorer.
CU Denver’s Music Technology program exposed me to the art and craft of sound engineering and my first composition there mixed live saxophone with Romona Mukherjee’s reading of “The Sax Bit” by poet Ted Joans. This was before pro tools so the editing was slow going, but I was hooked with the entire process – recording, editing, mixing…I’ve since delighted in creating works that dance between natural and computer manipulated sounds.
My favorite works still today are Transcending Translation, Beating of Beauty, and a dynamic scene in the film Tar that takes excerpts from a poem by C.K. Williams read by James Franco. Some of these works are below.
These works are for personal expression only- I did not obtain permission to use Bialk’s Nocturne No. 15 or Abe’s Life of A Poet, etc.
This piece explores the musical qualities of human speech by stripping sentences down first into words, and then into phonemes, thereby magnifying intrinsic pitches and rhythms. Spectral analysis was used to help create melodies, where spatialization and digital processing techniques modified the original words. The words, excerpts from Neruda’s “El Pozo” (“The Well”) and “Si Tu Me Olvidas” (“If you Forget Me”), inspired the form, but while meaningful, the purpose is to carry the listener away from the literal definition of the text and into a purer emotional and feeling state.
On a gloomy day in the summer of 2012 I procrastinated all work and indulged in my Pandora’s Chopin Nocturnes channel. Nocturne No. 14, performed by Michal Bialk, came up, and it inspired me to write and record the poem you hear here I originally titled “Ode to Chopin.”
If audio books had sound design/effects underneath they could reach a whole new level of storytelling – essentially they’d be like old radio shows. The harsh, winter imagery in this magical realist story calls for sonic life. What do crystalline snowflakes and frozen people sound like?
The piece begins with a soundscape of Brooklyn from the late 1800s through present day. If you listen closely, you can hear a faint elephant trumpeting because in order to quell peoples’ fears that the bridge could not bear the weight of vehicles, “P. T. Barnum helped to squelch doubts about the bridge’s stability—while publicizing his famous circus—when one of his most famous attractions, Jumbo, led a parade of 21 elephants over the Brooklyn Bridge” (from wikipedia). The highlight here is Reg E. Cathy’s (House of Cards, The Wire) voice, solo, at the end of the piece.
This particular passage in “The Book of Negroes” by Lawrence Hill struck me in the face with its power and vividness. My friend Tigist did the favor of coming in to record, and this was ultimately a present for the person who introduced me to the book.
Originally composed for the Augmented Tango Shoe controller.
The performer is saying the words hear, feel, taste, touch, see in Polish. Originally recorded and mixed in surround sound, the purpose is to play with mixing techniques that are the opposite of how he performed the words. For example, you may hear a shout that’s mixed softly, or a whisper mixed loudly.
Composed in Csound using granular synthesis techniques and based upon the Fibonacci sequence.