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Go on a sonic journey with SoundTransit

I like to share my own recordings of the places I traveled to in the 'Places' category. I've been thinking of creating a system to collaboratively share these 'sonic pictures' from all over the world. It would be very inspiring to be able to listen to any part of the world.

But it seems I'm too late! SoundTransit, a project created by Derek Holzer, Sara Kolster and Marc Boon, does exactly that. You can search for sounds by keyword, country, city. You can also book a transit: choose your point of departure, a destination and an amount of stopovers, and your journey will be ready in a moment. I just went from Marrakech to Antwerp via Vienna. It basically just crossfades the files, but it's a nice idea.

Click to read more ...


Passage: a dynamic sound corridor

The idea of creating a ‘sound corridor’ is not new, I’ve heard about similar projects before, a buildings hallway seem like a suitable place for a sound installation. Things change all the time, people move up and down the corridor, creating an ever changing pattern for an artist to capture and use to generate or influence sounds.

You need a good technical system to capture these movements though, and that’s exactly what IRCAM created and and what Pierre Jodlowski uses for his dynamic sound corridor ‘Passage’. 16 sensors detect visitors movements. The information is sent to Max/MSP so the composer can use it to control his music.

You can experience this sound installation yourself at the Agora event in Paris: Monday, June 8 and Saturday, June 13, 1pm-6pm.


Put your sounds in the clouds with SoundCloud

As you might have noticed I use the SoundCloud player on my website. For website owners it’s a nice way of offering streaming audio without having to worry about hosting and the use of bandwith. I’d like to share my experiences with this review.

What's SoundCloud?

As a artist it’s great to have a professional looking way of sharing music with fans, label owners and venues. You can create a set of tracks on SoundCloud to embed it on your MySpace page, a much better sounding solution than the standard MySpace player.

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This is what sound looks like

Sound is made audible air vibrating air molecules. Sound is a form of energy, we can’t see it, and we can only hear it when the volume is high enough and if it exists between 20Hz and 20kHz, the audible range of the human ear.

Sound also moves through liquids though, and Eva Schindling created a computer model which simulates the collision of two sounds in a fluid environment. The resulting form is then modeled out of Styrofoam. Now we have a sound we can touch, but we can’t hear it!


Voxstrumental at Futur en Seine festival 

The Futur en Seine festival takes place in Paris this week. The festival shows interesting new technological experiments and futuristic products. Voxstrumental is a sound installation shown by Voxler, a development team focused on vocal interaction, mainly for the gaming industry.

There are four pipes connected to the Voxstrumental sound installation. Singing into one of the pipes triggers a musical sequence. The pitch of the music changes with the pitch of your voice. The microphones are able to capture multiple parameters of expression. Four people can play the sound installation at the same time, you'll have to listen to each other to make it sound good together. And if you do, the robot in the middle starts dancing happily!

Watch a short movie about this sound installation on the Futur en Seine blog.


Listen to the streets of Mexico City

We are looking down at the intersection of Av. Juan Escutia and Calle Zamora in Condesa, Mexico City, from a window on the third floor. Normally I'm not that interested in the sound of cars driving by. But this urban soundscape is so remarkably different than the western European one I'm used to!

We hear lots of trucks, big ones, with loud diesel engines, fuelling the air with smog. We hear the typical sound of the green and white Volkswagen Beetles which form the majority of the taxis in Mexico City. And then we hear a melody. A man is selling some sort of corn product down on the street. The melody stops and the man starts to recommend his goods using a megaphone, followed by the same melody. I guess it's lunch time!

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The whole building is your instrument

It’s so inspiring to see people who don’t like to keep things moderate. Why not transform a whole building into an instrument? That’s what David Byrne did with his sound installation ‘Playing the Building’. Three types of sound inducing methods are used in the sound installation - wind, vibration and striking.

The devices attached to the building structure don’t make any sound themselves, they cause the building itself to generate the sounds.The installation is controlled from a conventional musical interface: the keyboard of an old organ. It seems like quite an experience to be able to influence the sound in a huge building using just one finger!

You can see Playing the Building this summer at the Roundhouse, London, 8 - 31 August 2009.


Hello World! by Christopher Baker 

Hello World is an audio and video installation with the subtitle 'How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Noise'. Christopher Baker shows us an immense amount of personal video diaries played back at the same time, creating a cacophony of voices, sharing their secrets with an imagined massive audience.

The installation is "a meditation on the contemporary plight of democratic, participative media and the fundamental human desire to be heard". There is no way we can listen to every single person. I love the way the multi-channel sound composition sometimes focuses on individual speakers and sometimes plays everything at the same time, creating an immersive swarm of voices around the visitor.
Via Joachim Baan


Urban Explorers festival: Sponge Expanded

This weekend the Urban Explorers festival takes place in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. A festival of film, music, theater, dance, sound art, and crossover between those media. One of the pieces in the exhibition will be Sponge Expanded by Maurits Fennis (website doesn’t seem to be up-to-date).

Visitors of Sponge Expanded will be immersed in sound, as the installation consists of 18 speakers positioned in a spherical manner around them. There are no sound examples on the site yet.

After viewing the art projects and theater performances at Urban Explorers you can enjoy a concert of Mira Calix or the Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, to name just two of the 22 performing artists.


Beautiful circuits by Peter Vogel

‘Duo’ is a beautiful interactive electronic sculpture by Peter Vogel. The components and circuits, normally hidden away in boxes, are displayed in various forms in his art works, exposing their vulnerability to the audience.

Duo is an interactive installation. The sounds coming from the speakers can be influenced by moving in front of the artwork, which almost looks like a note bar from a distance. A score for the electronic music it’s generating. See for more information as well as other pieces by Peter Vogel.