perseids

Welcome the Perseid meteor shower with songs about space

The Perseid meteor shower arrives on the 13th of August – this Thursday. So, let’s celebrate with some music and sound. First, a quick refresher: what is a meteor shower? It’s what happens when the Earth passes through the debris trail left by a comet. (Ah ha! See, just now you were sitting at your desk, and may have forgotten that you’re traveling at hyper-fast speeds on a rock hurtling through the vastness of the cosmos. Oh, yes.) We hit the Perseids every August, but this year is special in that you’ll only have to contend with urban light pollution …

READ MORE →
firefighter

These Students Put Out Fires with The Power of Bass

The next time you’re facing a life-threatening fire in, say, your kitchen, you may simply shout, “where’s the drop?” George Mason University engineering seniors Seth Robertson and Viet Tran have made a fire extinguisher that works entirely using sound. If you haven’t seen it making the social media rounds yet, of course, it’s worth posting here. Not only is it absurdly cool to watch, but it’s the latest reminder that music, sound engineering, and science can go hand in hand. That is, music is made of sound, and the study of sound overlaps with engineering and physics. In fact, this …

READ MORE →
Displacing sound is one of the illusions that figures into their work. Here, a field recording from another environment will later find its way into the Kraftwerk interior.

Exploring Sound in the Vertical, as Three Brothers Make New Sonic Architectures

Korinsky – Atelier für vertikale Flächen /// documentary from Korinsky on Vimeo. We imagine we see where we are. We even describe our eyes as being open as awareness. But perhaps that’s because we are so deeply connected to sound as to take that connection for granted. Perceptive research has revealed in profound relief that we hear where we are, too. And artists are beginning to take that knowledge and fuse it with art making. To quote The Outer Limits, “We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a …

READ MORE →
facetech

Could You Someday Wear Speakers? Wearable Tech and Expression

Wearable tech so far has often tended to dresses that light up or wristwatches that act as remote controls for your smartphone. But what if wearable tech actually produced sound – and it wasn’t a pair of headphones? That’s the question posed by SubPac. It’s a sort of backpack subwoofer aimed both at improving tactile bass response for consumers and allowing proper bass monitoring for DJs and producers – you know, when they can’t just try their latest mix on a big club PA. We’ve covered wearable tech on CDM before – we’ve even hosted workshops and labs on the …

READ MORE →

Redefining Architecture, in a Dance of Lasers

We live in an age in which the art of architecture and the art of light have come into close duet. One such example is the 2012 project Blau, receipient of a 2013 Ars Electronic nod. As the creators describe it, time here enters three dimensional architectural space, lasers outlining a close choreography of sound as projected into spatial volume. Run by custom hardware, motors move the emitters and trace the space in beams of light, moments in the music cueing geometries. Blaus from Playmodes on Vimeo. But it isn’t just architecture responding to music. The creators say the dimensions …

READ MORE →

Peoplemeter: Experimental Film, Score Imagine a World Populated by the Things We Left Behind

As umbrellas scurry about like spiders, inanimate metal objects scuttling through emptied streets, and electronics send clicks and crackles between robots, Peoplemeter produces a post-apocalyptic world without humans. Microscopes and endoscopes shoot these objects in revelatory ways, as the musical score amplifies their sounds. These objects are animated through various effects, ranging from stop motion to more abstract portraits as textures. Director Incredible Bob makes these intimate moments a kind of cinematic object theater. The sound, too, literally comes from inanimate ephemera, transformed into experimental instruments by musician WoO of the BelgradeNoise collective. The trailer is already compelling. More details …

READ MORE →

Visual Music: Ryoji Ikeda’s Audiovisual Data Etudes Turn to the Deconstruction of a Car [Videos]

Composer/artist Ryoji Ikeda has been on a roll lately, mounting massive immersive audiovisual experiences. His aesthetic talent, in crisp blacks and whites and SONAR-like pings above oceans of glitching noise, is in spinning operettas of data. The latest project, which closed at the start of this month at Berlin’s Kraftwerk, pulled apart the data from a car. As brand integration, it’s not quite a winner for subtlety, literally working from the components of a Honda Civic, but Ikeda’s unique stamp carries the day. His work is almost a showcase for contrast ratio, and sure enough top-notch projectors make that light …

READ MORE →

Visual Music: Ryoji Ikeda's Audiovisual Data Etudes Turn to the Deconstruction of a Car [Videos]

Composer/artist Ryoji Ikeda has been on a roll lately, mounting massive immersive audiovisual experiences. His aesthetic talent, in crisp blacks and whites and SONAR-like pings above oceans of glitching noise, is in spinning operettas of data. The latest project, which closed at the start of this month at Berlin’s Kraftwerk, pulled apart the data from a car. As brand integration, it’s not quite a winner for subtlety, literally working from the components of a Honda Civic, but Ikeda’s unique stamp carries the day. His work is almost a showcase for contrast ratio, and sure enough top-notch projectors make that light …

READ MORE →

Interaction in Thin Air: New Research from Microsoft, MIT Uses Magnets, Sound, Space

With multi-touch fully exploited and the basics of camera vision largely understood, interaction moves to the realm of free space, “augmenting” your world with gestures that find some physical connection. They surprise by working in some way that seems intuitive and natural, somewhere away from what seems to be the realm of the computer. And early in the month of May, we see a flurry of new research in just this area. Not one but two projects from Microsoft hold potential, and one from MIT Media Lab is just … absurdly cool. A summary: “Levitated Interaction Element,” out of the …

READ MORE →
worldsoundmix

A Small World, After All: Freesound.org Sounds on Earth, and an Ambient Musical Laboratory

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 …

READ MORE →