Move over, Manchester Boys Choir. A computer can allow you to hear the digitally-reduced essence of all of these songs at once. Album image from Jacob Whittaker, who also offers some videos.

It’s an old piece (Christmas 2004), but if you find your ears are ringing with retailers playing Christmas tracks on endless loop for the past few weeks, I can think of no better time for this. A Singular Christmas involved sixteen processors working for two weeks to compress the essence of Christmas music into sixteen singles. The results: tracks of droning, glistening sonic ice sculptures, like an ethereal pipe organ got caught in a wormhole.

Confused? See the easy diagram below. Now, didn’t that make that make a lot more sense?

The endless drones may put you in a sleepy trance, but that could be just what you need to recover from another holiday season. (Well, that or possibly dreaming about using Processing to code up A/V-synced Christmas lights next year.)

Best of all? The titles, like “Radiant bells,” “Hail the shining star” and “Berries sleeping.”

A Singular Christmas

An interview about what it was all about

Creator Brian Whitman: current site

As it happens, Brian Whitman hasn’t been sitting idly. He took all that machine listening knowledge applied to this project and went on to found the Echo Nest, conceived as an API for all of music. I need to catch up and revisit this project soon, but here was our first look, including an interview with Brian:

Musical Brain API: An API for Music on the Web – And it Makes Pretty Pictures

  • http://tinygrass.com Arp

    This is brilliant – good thing Christmas music is still in effect in our house (and will be so until the tree gives up the ghost).

  • KimH

    Interesting concept — but boring, unlistenable "music."

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  • http://www.google.com/ Buffy

    In the complicated world we live in, it's good to find simple sluotoins.