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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.


Three Pieces: the plants contuct the music

Three Pieces is designed as a collaboration between robots, traditional instruments, and living things. Robots are playing traditional instruments and they communicate and perform together, conducted by all the living things surrounding them.

Temperature, movement of people and animals and the changing moisture content of the soil of the plants are all measured to influence the music. Due to this combination of factors the music will never be the same twice. Have a look at the Found Electronics website where Ziggy Campbell and Simon Kirby provide a closer look at their remarkable creations.


Places: Amsterdam Central Station

This time we’re at the Amsterdam central station. While making our way to the platform the lady with the nice voice tells us a train is delayed by five minutes. We keep walking. Half a minute later we hear her again, this time telling us the same train is delayed by ten minutes. It doesn’t matter, we’re not traveling to Rotterdam anyway.

At the platform trains are coming and going, people are waiting, but we can’t hear them because the sound of the trains fills up the big hall. Towards the end the lady starts announcing another delay, we don’t know if it’s our train though, as her words drown in the overwhelming sound of another train passing by our platform.

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S0undb1ts by Robin Minard

s0undb1ts, a sound installation by Robin Minard, consists of a web of tiny piezo speakers. s0undb1ts was originally created in 2002 for the Invetionen festival in Berlin. Since then it has been shown in different forms at various places.

This year the project has been revived and the software is rewritten. Instead of mounted on a wall, the speakers are now hanging above the audience, which might create an interesting sonic experience, it also takes away the aesthetic sight of the black speakers on a white wall. On the s0undb1ts website you can see and listen to the newly formed installation.


iRedux: Destroy your copyrighted music!

Music and copyrights, not the most inspiring subject to talk about. It’s not very simple either in these days of illegal and legal downloads, subscription models and streaming audio. Unless you do something fun with it, like destroying the copyrighted music and creating something completely new out of it.

That’s exactly what iRedux by Oliver Farshi does. You feed it some music you bought or downloaded, and it completely destroys the file for you. Then it uses this material to create an new piece of ambient music.

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