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For his final bachelor project Noids, interaction designer Cas Zeegers created four small rhythmical instruments, small entities creating different patterns.
From a research perspective, Zeegers was interested in making the sound source more intuitive. Noids does this by simply showing how sound is physically produced by it’s mechanical movement. Being able to see the sound being created strengthens both the audio- as well as the visual aspect in the perception of the viewer.
The musician or interaction can change the speed of the patterns create a composition. The four patterns are all different, shifting over each other, creating polyrhythms. During the performance, the audience is invited to explore the space where the instruments are set up. Because the instruments have their own rhythm and movement, the audience can start to recognize patterns and see how a certain sound is created.

Tasteful Turntable

Nikolaj and Lars Kynde are two Danish sound artists/composers who are both obsessed with synesthetic experiences: in what way does music influence our smell, taste and sight, for example?
In their work Tasteful Turntable, their interest in the synesthetic is very clear. In an intimate setting, four participants take place at a low, rotating dinner table. Different peculiar looking bites rotate by on the table, while participants privately listen to corresponding compositions. The sounds create an “aural spicing” to the food.
When a light is cued, the participants simultaneously take a bite and put it into their mouth. The ritual this creates joins the participants together. The internal experience however, that of the fusion of what one tastes and hears, is a private experience.
Tasteful Turntable is one of the few projects that works with synesthetic experiences. A field which artists are just starting to explore, or so it seems. Research on the topic is also scarce. A very good theoretical review article, which I’ve used myself in the past when composing for taste, is Crossmodal Correspondences Between Sounds and Taste by Klemens Knöferle and Charles Spence. Let’s hope we see loads of projects with unexpected synesthetic experiences in the near future!

Breathing Volume

We’ve featured some works of Marco Canevacci and Marco Barotti last January: Sound of Light. With Breathing Volume, they continue making immersive environments. Where Sound of Light sonified the weather by looking at the sky and the sunlight, Breathing Volume plays with the notion of space in an audio-visual context. For five minutes, the public is embraced between breathing walls, constantly changing their physical volume. This creates the perception of being inside a living organism.
Four ventilators make the lungs breathe in the same way humans do, and subwoofers transform the pulsing bass frequencies into the soul of the organism. Breathing Volume unexpectedly steers the focus from what surrounds us, to what is immediate, here and now, offering a distorted reflection on our relationship with space, its distance and extension. Again, as with Sound of Light, it reminds me of Space Odyssey, this time very obviously, als because of the black speaker-monolith at the end of the space.


During the Dutch Design Week that’s on this week in Eindhoven (Netherlands), designers exhibit their latest works. Very often, there’s also newly graduated students present. Such as Lola Gielen, who graduated from the Design Academy in Eindhoven this year with her instrument Neo.

Gielen calls Neo “A music instrument everybody can play”, and is designed out of her own will to be able to play an instrument, but getting fed up with practicing or simply not having the time for it. I myself, being a sound artist/designer, can definitely relate to this. Often it is just easier to create or code the tool that you need to fulfill your needs.

Neo is a circular sequencer that combines the tactile, sensory experience of making music with a time-based sequencer-like design. Neo loops over the circular matrix, playing notes when there’s a marble, not unlike pins on a barrel organ. Furthermore Gielen created a collection of external modules, that you can influence while the sound is playing, creating a tactile, interactive sequencer. Inside, there’s a Raspberry Pi running Python scripts getting in the sensor data, converting it to OSC and sending it to a Puredata patch, creating the sound.



Magnetoception: a sense which allows an organism to detect a magnetic field to perceive direction, altitude or location. Using the name Magnetoceptica, sound artist Dewi de Vree and costume designer Patrizia Ruthensteiner create performances and installations in which atenna-based costumes pick up electromagnetic fields and translate them into electronic sounds.
Using everything from bent hazelnut rods, bamboo stems to a recycled spinning wheel, de Vree and Ruthensteiner combine odd, imaginative objects with open electronics. Copper wire is wound into different patterns and part of the costume, really tying together the electronic and the physical.
The sounds picked up with the antenna depends on the location of the performers: they can modulate it by changing their position and moving in relation to the space and each other.
The different costumes have their own qualities, such as the Omega Birch (above) is inspired by and made of Baltic birch, which is the most sought after wood in the manufacturing of speaker cabinets, compensating for the roll-off of low and high frequencies on speakers, evening the tone. The Spherics Harp (fragment below) is inspired by Qing Dynasty’s tremendous hairdos and is able to receive subtle signals from up high, bouncing against the ionosphere (below).


Klankenbos (Sound Forest)

In Neerpelt, a small town in the very north of Belgium on the border with the Netherlands, there’s the very unique Klankenbos (or Sound Forest). A public forest filled with sound art installations hidden between the trees, accessible to anyone for free any moment of the day. Something so unique, it’s strange we’ve never written an article about it here on Everyday Listening. Time to make up for that.

Made back in 2005 as a temporary sound art collection commissioned by Musica, the Belgian “impulse centre for music”, Klankenbos has since then become permanent and has been there for ten years already.

Pierre Berthet’s Houses of Sound: Two wires connect two huts on the banks of the Dommel. These are connected to exciters and tin can resonators in a network of wires among the trees around the installation. Inputs (mainly sine waves) transmitted through the exciters make the wires tremble, causing vibrations that create a buzzing resonance in the huts and cans.

With a few additions to the collection over the years, as well as the development of mobile installations, the Klankenbos is everything but a static collection. Just this year sound artist Laura Maes added an interactive sound-bench running on solar energy.

Staalplaat Soundsystem & LOLA landscape architect’s Composed Nature: Composed storms in the trees by washing machine motors, making the trees and it’s leaves shake.

Klankenbos does not only exist of installations in the physical realm: just recently artist Rozalie Hirs created Curvices, a musical grid that works with GPS tracking and can only be heard via a smartphone. Because the organization of Klankenbos is very aware that the forest is very important as well: it shouldn’t end up being a place of technology under some trees, and these technologies allow artists to put their own virtual sonic world over the actual one.

Erwin Stache’s Konversation: 12 mechanical plants conversating through signs and sounds.

On sunday the 18th of October Musica invites everyone to celebrate 10 years of Klankenbos with an afternoon with sound art, music, poetry and silence in the Klankenbos. Artists who will be present are Stijn Demeulenaere who will present his field-recordings of the past few years in a way fitting to the Klankenbos, Hans van Koolwijk in a performance with amateur musicians playing 65 helium-filled balloons, the robot orchestra of the Flemish organisation Logos who designed instruments for Aphex Twin, et cetera. They’ll be there presenting new work by young composers. Enough to see and hear!


Abstract Turntablism

Everyday Listening is starting an experiment with guest bloggers. This way we’re able to bring more art pieces and performances from all over the world. The following piece is from Gabriele Cavallo, an art/music journalist interested in sound art and contemporary cross-boundary practices. He attended the Sonic Arts Research Centre symposium in Belfast.

Maria Chavez is a New York-based abstract turntablist. After her debut as a DJ in 1996, the Lima-born, New York based artist has received the legacy of artists such as Christian Marclay, Pauline Oliveros and Christian Wolff. In late May 2015, Belfast Queen’s University hosted a two-day symposium, aimed to investigate the possibilities for parallel approaches to chance in music and legal cases. Chavez performed on her turntables at SARC (Sonic Arts Research Centre). Her performance lasted over 45 mins and was divided into three main sections.

An excerpt of Maria’s performance

Chavez plays two desks, which are connected to a multi-track mixer. She digs out the sonic possibilities of vinyls and record players as physical materials: she taps, scratches, presses on their surface; amplifies and elaborates glitches and shrieks, etcetera. Defective needle styli, or damaged disks are used on purpose. In the middle of her performance, the artist even shatters the vinyls and lets the fragments spin on tables. Throughout the work, she also hits her instruments with found objects, such as stones or small crocks, transforming the turntables into multi-sources of sound production.

From the midst of this multi-media originated texture, excerpts of recordings emerge and are skillfully integrated into the acoustic fabric. Chavez intends sounds as part of a dialogue with the environment. She’s not afraid to interact with the surrounding space, as she welcomes the random sounds by the audience by responding to them cleverly.

Taking part in her performance was an intense, immersive experience. Chavez weaved together sonic events, produced in contrasting ways. She avoids rethorical solutions, interacts with external stimuli and stays multi-faceted and coherent.



The Automatic Trio

Tom Moore is a musician playing traditional music, contemporary acoustic music and sound art. He’s primarily a violinist, but also plays other instruments and works with assorted electronics and hardware.

For his latest performance “Automatic Trio”, Tom performs with simple “kinetic” or animatronic instruments which play themselves. By attaching a bow to a simple bicycle wheel, he’s able to simulate the bowing of a violin or cello, making for some automated accompanyment to Tom’s playing. The set-up is quite simple, but really works with the ambient string loops and improvisation that he’s playing over the droning of the mechanical instruments. The fact that it’s part “installation piece”, part performance makes for something that is also visually compelling.



Céleste Boursier-Mougenot is a French artist who started out as an avant-garde composer before he turned to making long-duration large-scale acoustic installations like he’s been doing for the last two years. His most well known work might be From hear to ear, in which birds fly around the exhibition space, and plugged-in guitars serve as perches for the birds. A lot of his work showcases chance and indeterminacy in highly controlled environments.
With clinamen, one can see this fascination for chance in composition, as well as his interest in creating musical sounds with objects which are not primarily meant for that task (the porcelain ceramics).
Undercurrent in the water makes the porcelain float across, the clinking of the ceramics makes for a composition with aleatory form.
clinamen is currently on display at the Centre Pompidou-Metz in France until the end of September.

What Do Machines Sing Of?

Martin Backes is a Berlin-based audiovisual artist. In his latest work What Do Machines Sing Of?, he asks the old question of how a computer can communicate, or rather evoke, human sentiment. An automated machine that sings 90s ballads in a digital way, but not in a way which feels distant and cold. And that is what Backes has done very skillfully: retaining the sentimental aspect of vocal intonations, while stripping the songs bare.