A Tumblg by Benjamin Dauer, Senior Interactive Designer at NPR and experimental musician/composer.

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I recently had the pleasure of participating in a collaborative photo/ambient music project commissioned by Marc Weidenbaum of 25 ambient musicians created original sonic postcards in response to one another’s evocative Instagram photos. Below are all of the project details/links/downloads. But first…

I wanted to share a little about the inspiration for my song above, “In Reference to Time”.

Photo byMarc Rushton

Equipment Used: Teenage Engineering OP-1 synth, Strymon El Capistan dTape Echo, Cordoba GKStudio Nylon String Guitar, Tape Recorder, TLAudio Fat Track, MacBook Pro

Inspiration: When I received my ‘assignment’ for this project I knew immediately what I wanted to do. This image makes me feel as though I have arrived early for a performance/presentation of some kind. Not being allowed into the main space just yet, I enjoy the angle of peering around a corner, over a stack of chairs, and seeing/hearing someone talking. I tried to capture some of this feeling in my track - the faint sound of someone’s voice, muted guitar and pads as if musicians were warming up, and other environmental noises. I hope it gives the sense of subdued excitement or anticipation one gets when they’re waiting at a show.

In return, I also submitted the following image, which musician Jared Smyth composed his track to.

Texture Study


Instagr/am/bient: 25 Sonic Postcards

Photos shared with the popular software Instagram are usually square in format, not unlike the cover to a record album. The format leads inevitably to a question: if a given image were the cover to a record album, what would the album’s music sound like?

Instagr/am/bient is a response to that question. The project involves 25 musicians with ambient inclinations. Each of the musicians contributed an Instagram photo, and in turn each of the musicians recorded an original track in response to one of the photos contributed by another of the project’s participants. The tracks are sonic postcards. They are pieces of music whose relative brevity—all are between one and three minutes in length—is designed to correlate with the economical, ephemeral nature of an Instagram photo.

The result of the 25 musicians’ collective efforts is an investigation into the intersection of technology, aesthetics, and artistic process. What parallels exist, for example, between the visual filters that Instagram provides users to transform their photos and the sound-processing tools employed by electronic musicians?

In many cases here, the musicians employ sonic field recordings as source material for their music. In the case of both their photos and their compositions (photography in one case, phonography in the other), documents are altered to emphasize their atmospheric qualities: to eke a modest art out of the everyday.

The full collection is also streaming at

The 25 MP3s are downloadable for free individually and as a Zip file at

Download a 58-page PDF with full-page reproductions of the images and additional information on all the participating musicians: PDF.

A Project
Commissioned by Marc Weidenbaum

Cover Photo/Brian Scott

Rain Study 2 (Taken with instagram)

Rain Study 1 (Taken with instagram)

My Top 5 Artists (Week Ending 2011-12-25) 

My Top 5 Artists (Week Ending 2011-12-4) 


Inspired by the sunshine and slowly moving clouds, I shot some video and then recorded an ambient improvisation on my 6-string bass to accompany the footage.

To download the audio only, please visit:


My Top 5 Artists (Week Ending 2011-11-20) 

My New Kala UBass

My Top 5 Artists (Week Ending 2011-11-6) 

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