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Microtonal Wall

1500 speakers, each playing it’s own microtonal frequency, collectively spanning four octaves. That’s what Tristan Perich’s Microtonal Wall is. For some reason I thought I’d posted it before, but I hadn’t. The work of Tristan Perich has been quite a fascination for me, ever since he made his “1-bit music”;  an electronic circuit assembled inside a CD case with a headphone jack on the side, playing back 40 minutes of lo-fi 1-bit electronic music, the lowest possible digital representation of audio. Microtonal Wall expands on this very clean idea by confronting you with 1500 individual 1-bit noisemakers, playing all at once.

The beauty of Microtonal Wall is that when viewed from a distance it seems like noise, but when inspecting the installation by taking a closer look reveals that the noise is actually made up of individual frequencies.

It’s a very simple idea, but a very strong one. Noise is something which exists in our minds only- we just can’t keep track of all the different things happening at once, so it becomes “noise”. By being able to physically focus on one aspect, you’re able to experience that in this installation.

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Reader Comments (3)

I like this so much! I've once done something similar on the Wavefieldsynthesys system in The Hague. That are 192 speakers. That was already a fascinating sound! We created random frequencies in a certain range. So when you closely walked by the speakers you heard microtonal melodies. And indeed from a distance it sounded like noise.

February 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGerjan Piksen

Love this. The effect of walking by closely must be amazing. While watching the video clip, I thought how interesting it would be to have 1.500 separate voices each speaking, reading something or just talking. I have often recorded in crowded areas with many voices talking at once because the combined noise of all those voices is mesmurizing. I love the way certain words etc. pop out. It wouldbe interesting to see at what distances you would start to pick up individual voices.

February 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Barvoets

I love it, thanks for posting about this! And about the idea of Peter Barvoets who wrote to use 1.500 seperate voices for a similar effect - mmmh! Sounds like a wonderful seed for a Genetic Choir project. Let me know if we should go for making it real! :-D

February 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterThomas Johannsen

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