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The sound quality and emotional value of CDs

The way we listen to music has changed a lot over the last decade. The iPod was only introduced in 2001, hard to believe in this world full of MP3 players. Many people even listen to music on their mobile phone. But do we still recognize quality?

I have a nice set of speakers and a good amplifier. It is great to be able to listen to music without being distracted by too many technical shortcomings of the system. But then I play back an MP3 I just bought on eMusic or an AAC I bought on iTunes, and somehow it doesn’t feel right. It sounds fine, but I know I’m missing out the details and dynamics of the original recording.

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condemned_bulbes is a sound and light installation created by digital creation studio artificiel. The installation was first exposed in 2003 but is still shown at festivals around the globe.

The installation is made of 1000W incandescent light bulbs, controlled by a custom made light dimmer that can bring the bulbs in "a state of excitation that is clearly audible and controllable". I especially like the crackling sound in between the noisy parts.


Extended Play

What we hear and what we see are equally important, that is my opinion. Even while watching a movie, the right sound and the right music at the right moment can make us cry or make us laugh.

Sound artist Janek Schaefer creates sound installations that not only sound great but also look wonderful. Even the color and intensity of the light is carefully chosen.

Extended play is a very personal conceptual sound installation in which the unsynchronized sound of nine vintage turn tables is combined. The concept is best described by the artist himself. To hear the story behind Extended Play, watch the video on his website.

You can visit a retrospective of Schaefer's sound based work at the Bluecoat gallery, Liverpool, until January 17th, 2010.


The sound of a new decade

First of all: a wonderful 2010 to all readers of Everyday Listening! May this new year be an inspiring one! Next to entering a new year we are also at the beginning of a new decade. The 00’s are over, and the world is in a vibrant state.

The soundscape of the world around us is changing all the time. The world is like an instrument, and if we change the material the instrument is made of, we change its size or we tighten its strings, its sound will change accordingly.

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Three Piece

Three Piece is a three piece ‘band’ - two guitars and a bass guitar. The sound is generated by moving them around, so the air gently plays the strings of the instruments. The speaker is located on the other end of the installation. 

Visitors are encouraged to walk between the instruments (but don’t come too close to the moving arms!). The sound of this installation created by Stephen Cornford can best be described as a haunting soundscape.

(via Noise for Airports)


Cymatics: Visualizing sound 

It is inspiring to see what sound can do with the things around us. In this TED talk Evan Grant tells us about cymatics and how sound waves can be visualized. These visualizations can provide us with information about the sounds we analyze, and they can form beautiful designs as well.


Credit Synthesis

This little interactive installation made by Jonathan Vingiano reads the information magnetically stored on credit cards and translates it into sound.
Nothing too ambitious here, but a funny little piece of data sonifying art. I don't know what kind of algorithm is used to generate the sound, and if it would be possible to learn to understand what is on the cards? 


Staalhemel (steel sky) is an interactive installation created by Christoph de Boeck. Using a wireless device for capturing brain waves, the participants brain activity influences the activity of the installation.

The steel sky itself is made up of 80 steel plates, and the sound is generated by pins hammering on the plates. I guess the most interesting experiment would be to try to keep the installation as quiet as possible.


Analogue Tape Glove v1

As we have seen previously, we can use our old tapes to weave a fabric. In Analogue Tape Glove v1 though, the tape is used in an interactive sound installation. Using a tape head embedded in a glove, participants can explore the recordings on the randomly selected tapes. 

The sound installation is created by artists who call themselves Signal To Noise. It brings back memories from the days before we could all carry a complete music studio under our arm. A nice reminder of how fast technology evolves.


The Balance

The Balance is a beautiful visual representation of two sound waves colliding. The video created by Lithuanian artist Rimantas Lukavicius, shows us the sound traveling trough air, a thing we will never be able to see.

There is no explanation to be found on how the video was made, and if an analysis of the actual sound we hear was used as input. I guess it is just the aesthetics that count, this time. 

(via @kamisir)