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Minimalist Ringtones

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Wouldn't it be wonderful to cruise the beautiful Swedish landscape, stop for a while to stretch your legs and then hear the screeching sound of Harvest, combined with the surreal image of a well dressed church choir playing the soil like it's a record.

Harvest is a performance "for terrafon, traditional music ensemble and cropland", created by the people behind Bacterial OrchestraOlle Cornéer and Martin Lübcke. Only this time there are no electronics involved, only old iron, the soil of Uppland and human power. We listen to what the earth has to say.


The four ways sound affects us

In this TED talk Julian Treasure tells us about the influence of sound on how we function in daily life. Do you know how much your productivity decreases when you're working in a noisy environment?

While many people working with sound are aware of its power, of the function it has in our lives and how we can use it in designing new things, many others are not. So it's great to see it explained in clear words


Sound sculputres and installations by Zimoun

After sharing Woodworms I with you, I have to show you this one too. In Compilation Video 1.0 Swiss artist Zimoun shows us a nice selection of his wonderful, aesthetic sound installations and sculptures.  

I love the way these constantly moving installations seem to come alive, clumsy and mechanical. The sonic result isn't earth shattering, but the noise created by multiplication of one tiny machine is impressive!


Sound around you

Sound around you is a project by the University of Salford (UK). The goal of the project is to create a sound map of the UK as part of a new study into how sounds in our everyday environment make us feel.

To participate in the project you can record a sound clip with your mobile phone or portable recorder and send it to sound around you website, together with the answer to some questions about the recorded sounds.

An interesting attempt. I wonder if a person living in a busy and noisy city center feels as relaxed as a person living on the countryside. After analysis by 'acoustic scientists' significant findings will be reported on the website.


Woodworms I

Woodworms I is a sound installation in which we can listen to the live sound of woodworms in a piece of wood. Swiss artist Zimoun created this piece of art.

I like the contradiction between what we see - a lifeless chunk of wood in a motionless setting - and what we hear - a hard working army of worms, making their way through the tough wood.


Sound design for electric and hybrid cars

Electric cars are great. I would love to live in a city where people don't have to breathe exhaust gases every day. As there are more and more hybrid cars and even all-electric cars being developed, an issue comes up we didn't have to think about before: do they have to make a sound?

There used to be experts spending all their time researching ways to reduce the sound of cars with an old-fashioned gas engine. This time it's the other way around. But what is the problem exactly? Wouldn't it be nice to have a busy city center where you would only hear the sound of the people, with cars quietly moving by?

Click to read more ...


Yes/No by Carsten Nicolai

Yes/No visualizes sound waves traveling through air, in a very detailed sculpture made of steel. CarstenNicolai used recordings of Laurie Anderson saying "yes" and "no" as input while creating this sculpture. You can clearly see the difference between vowels and consonants.

I've known Carsten Nicolai quite well for his work as Alva Noto, and his collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto, among others. He often explores the relationships between the visual and the audible in his projects. He also published a book, Grid Index, earlier this year.


Face Visualizer

Some projects are just plain weird. Like this Face Visualizer, one of Daito Manabe's 'body hack' experiments. By sending electric stimuli to a persons face, synchronized to the music, you get a rather funny looking visual representation of what you hear. Perfectly synchronized facial expressions.

There isn't much information on the concept of the project on Manabe's website (or it's in Japanese), and I don't know if there would be a lot to say about it. This seems to be a classic case of "look what I can do!". And it looks funny, so we all want to see it!


The Manual project

Exploring sound and listening as tools for "social cooperation and environmental investigation", that's what the Manual project, a site specific field study in Oslo aims for. Social interaction through sound.

What can sound do with an architectural space? What do everyday sounds tell us? Is the city telling a story? Despite these interesting questions there doesn't seem to be clear objective to this project. It generates beautiful images, that's for sure.

Swedish duo Kristina Lindström and Åsa Ståhl (aka å+k), the American artist Brandon LaBelle, Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec from Holland/Slovenia, and Norwegian artists Jana Winderen and and Siri Austeen collaborated on this project.



In the ingoing series of visual sound objects here's another one: Sound/Chair. A sound was designed to exactly represent the form of a chair when creating a volume/time/frequency plot. The chair is an exact replica of the resulting graph.

Sound/Chair was created by London-based designer Matthew Plummer Fernandez in an attempt to find the link between furniture and sound. He created 719 different sounds in order to find the one suitable for this chair.