Through the eyes of satellites, roving Google trucks, aerial imagery, and more, we have plenty of eyes on our planet. But what does it sound like here on Earth?

In a Web application and accompanying art installation, the world turns as it echoes sounds recorded around the world on Creative Commons-licensed site Freesound.org. It’s stunning to hear our world’s acoustic diversity – in some strange way, even more than seeing it, in that sounds can instantly give you a sense of place and time. You can load a version on your browser or on the iPad; then, from the world’s cities, listen as sounds mix automatically from one locale to another in an ambient sound score.

Browser Version (animates a bit slow for me, but works)
iPad World Sound Mix app [free | iTunes]
(via Hermann Helmholtz – great tip!)

The basic notion is something we see repeated regularly, even with this visualization; this is a fantasy those of us who work in sound routinely entertain. But it’s doubly worth mentioning, in that it’s an excuse to mention the lovely Japanese label/artist/laboratory 43d.

43d engages sound through a variety of tools. In the 43d laboratory, the spinning Earth interface finds its way into an installation (video below), iPad app, and browser app, as workshops send participants into the field to listen to their environment and gather more sounds. Such exercises have an added bonus for us electronic musicians, of course, as collected sounds can easily become the raw materials of music in any genre through the wonderful alchemy of our machines.

http://labs.43d.jp/

The installation and sound mix project:

“World Sound Mix for BankART LIFE3″ is a sound visual installation, generating new soundscape around the world. This work continues mixing the sounds at selected two points somewhere in the world from the database of huge quantities of environment sounds and generating new soundscape.

For this exhibition, we set up a magic box that resonates mixed soundscape in Sapporo and somewhere in the world. During the exhibition, a globe in the box keeps turning and resonating sounds in real time.

About sounds data:
World Sound Mix is based on a sound database from Freesound project, its sounds have been recorded and gathered by sound hunters around the world. The use of sound data is under the CreativeCommons Sampling+ 1.0 License. By the username and “freesound sound ID” shown on the globe, listener can refer to original content.

http://www.43d.jp/wsm2011/

Freesound.org, a terrific source of sounds:

http://www.freesound.org/

But what I especially like about all of this is that the environmental sounds don’t have to exist in a vacuum. 43d is also an ambient music label, the work of artist Junichi Oguro:

A sound artist who widens the realm of music. Born in Sapporo in 1974.
He started to compose music since his childhood, and received a grand prize at a national contest. In 2006 he visited Berlin for making music in various fields from commercial music for TV spots to sound space design in various areas of Europe. He also showcases sound art pieces in the realm of the contemporary art. He manages an ambient label “43d” which was established for creating leading edge sounds.

The just-released “Unfield” is breathtaking, turning effortlessly from rough-shod digital glitches to icy-sweet ballads and intimate, gorgeous vocals by Malloy Nagasawa. It combines custom software and control with more conventional recording techniques:

http://www.43d.jp/releases/

Have a listen:

Hope to hear more from this whole project.
43d.jpg