Plugin Boutique has launched a sale on Syntorial, the video game-like training software by Audible Genius that teaches you how to program synth patches by ear. Syntorial includes lesson packs for popular synths such as Xfer Serum, LennarDigital Sylenth1 and Native Instruments Massive. With almost 200 lessons, combining video demonstrations with interactive challenges, you’ll get […]
What’s the sound of an exhibition devoted to silence? From John Cage recreations to the latest in interactive virtual reality tech, it turns out there’s a lot. The exhibition’s lead Jascha Dormann tells us more – and gives us a look inside.
The results are surprisingly poetic – like a surrealist listening playground on the topic of isolation.
“Sounds of Silence” opened this month at the Museum of Communication in Bern, Switzerland, and is on through July 2019. Just as John Cage’s revelation that visiting an anechoic chamber was, in fact, noisey, “silence” in this case challenges listening and exploration. It’s about surprise, not void. As the exhibition creators say, “the search for a place where stillness may be experienced, however, becomes difficult: stillness is holding sway only in outer space – yet even there the astronaut is hearing his own breaths.”
Inside the exhibition, there’s not a word of written text, and few traditional photos or videos. Instead, you get abstract spatial graphics. Tracking systems respond as you navigate the exhibit, and an unseen voice hints at what you might do. There’s a snowy cotton-like entry, radio-like sound effects, and then a pathway to explore silence from the start of the universe until this century.
And you get some unique experiences: the isolation tank invented by neurophysiologist John C. Lilly, 3D soundscapes, Sarah Maitland talking to you about her experience in seclusion on the Isle of Skye, and yes, Cage’s iconic if ironic “4’33”.” The Cage work is realized as an eight-channel ORTF 3D audio recording, from a performance by Staatsorchester Stuttgart at the Beethovensaal Stuttgart. (That has to be silence’s largest-ever orchestration, I suppose.) It’s silence in full immersive sound.
“The piece had never been recorded in 3D-audio before,” says Dormann. “We have then implemented the recording into the interactive sound system so visitors can experience it in a version that’s binauralized in real-time.”
Recording silence – in 3D! The session in Stuttgart, Germany.
Photos source: Museum of Communication Bern
Sound Concept and Sound Production Lead: Jascha Dormann (Idee und Klang GmbH)
Sound Concept and Sound Design: Ramon De Marco (Idee und Klang GmbH)
Sound Design: Simon Hauswirth (Idee und Klang GmbH)
Development Sound System: Steffen Armbruster (Framed immersive projects GmbH & Co. KG)
Sound Implementation: Marc Trinkhaus (Framed immersive projects GmbH & Co. KG)
Performance John Cage – 4’33’’: Staatsorchester Stuttgart conducted by Cornelius Meister
Recording John Cage – 4’33’’: Jascha Dormann at Beethovensaal / Liederhalle Stuttgart
Project in general
Project Lead and Curator: Kurt Stadelmann (Museum of Communication)
Project Manager: Angelina Keller (Museum of Communication)
Scenography: ZMIK spacial design, / Rolf Indermühle
Exhibition Graphics: Büro Berrel Gschwind, / Dominique Berrel
Author: Bettina Mittelstrass
Head of Exhibitions at Museum of Communication: Christian Rohner (Museum of Communication)
Various events are running alongside the exhibition; full details on the museum’s site:
Just when you’re bored with digital media installations, something happens that gets you back to childlike wonder mode. And a magical staircase is a pretty good way to do that.
The team at Poland’s panGenerator have been on a tear lately. This time, they took a grand spiral staircase and imagined what would happen if you could make your voice a kinetic part of the architecture. It’s way better than just shouting your echo at a wall.
It’s also a great example of how spatial sound and architecture can interact, making the normally static structures of an environment more dynamic. This is the sort of interactive architecture we’re routinely promised, but now you see/hear it actually working. Each floor gets its own audio, so the sound seems to descend with the ball. Custom built gates with infrared sensors and radio modules complete the illusion by transforming the sound accordingly.
It’s neo-baroque sonic trompe l’oeil, made with digital technology. The digital transformations of the sound, mapped to the actual kinetic movement of the ball, mix virtual and real.
What we got most recently from the same Warszawa-based crew:
During MDF Festival we’ve changed the iconic spiral staircase of the Szczecin Philharmonic into 35m long / 15m high spatial voice-transforming instrument.
The audience has been invited to experiment with various spatialised sound effects applied to their vocalisations that were synchronised with the movement of the balls falling along 35m long track. The interaction starts with insertion of the ball into the microphone. Then recording starts and after the recorded sound stops the ball is released to slide down along the track.
Thanks to custom built gates with infrared sensors and radio modules the sound transformations applied to the recording were synchronised with the current speed and position of the ball. The light trail following the ball has also been created thanks to the sensors and microcontrollers measuring the speed of the ball passing the gates.
Since we were using five speakers – one per floor, we were also able to achieve spatialisation of the sound creating the illusion of the sound “falling” with the ball. As a finishing touch we’ve also used simple projection mapping synchronised with the motion of the ball to make the whole thing more visible for the people standing in the lobby of the Philharmonic.
In the end we’ve created a playful and engaging audience-driven audiovisual performance that exemplifies our vision for integrating new media art practice with architecture and breathing the life into static form thanks to digital technology.
DOP – Hola Hola Film – holaholafilm.pl
VIDEO EDITING & POSTPRODUCTION – Jakub Koźniewski
SOUND EDITING – Krzysztof Cybulski
VIDEO SOUNDTRACK – Maciek Dobrowolski – mdobrowolski.com
VOICE – Jona Ardyn – jonaardyn.pl
Barbara Kinga Majewska
Culver City-based VR gaming studio Survios has launched Electronauts, a music creation tool that allows you to remix and perform tracks via stems and virtual instruments. Survios worked with artists including Tame Impala, DJ Shadow, Odesza, Tokimonsta, Krewella, People Under the Stairs, Del the Funky Homosapien, Tipper, Dada Life, Tiesto, Keys N Krates, Steve Aoki, […]
It’s equal parts Polish Radio Experimental Studio and starship control panel. The Apparatum by Warsaw’s panGenerator proves that not only can everything old is new again – maybe it’s even newer.
Take a look:
The Apparatum is a new installation that reboots Communist-era work from the space age, bringing visual and optical and magnetic concepts into a playful synthesizer concept. It’s the latest work from interactive/media shop panGenerator from Warsaw.
In the early adventurous work in electronic music, there was nothing to take for granted. So it makes sense that Polish pioneer Bogusław Schaeffer would imagine an entirely new visual language to accompany the new sounds humans were hearing from their circuits. His Symphony – electronic music cued the engineer with those hieroglyph-like visuals, and inspires the sounds and visual language here.
But maybe that’s what modernity is now: now that we’re no longer wowed by digital, we’re sophisticated enough to see new potential for magnetic and optical techniques that had been discarded in the march to the new. Artists/researchers like Andrey Smirnov, who delve into the world of Soviet optical synthesis and Theremin, have regularly wondered what an alternate future would be like if radical optical and electro-magnetic techniques had continued to develop. Now, in works like this (and work by artists like Derek Holzer) make that alternate reality our own.
The work also draws from the design aesthetics and the engineering of the original, legendary Polish studio:
The physical form is inspired by the general aesthetics of the Studio’s famous “Black Room” designed by Oskar Hansen. The electroacoustic generators and filters were arranged in a modular fashion inside two steel frames – the construction element that we’ve referred to in our design.
Magnetic tape was the primary medium used in the Polish Radio Experimental Studio. We’re also using two types of “tape samplers” – two 2-track loops and three one-shot linear tape samplers. To obtain noise and basic tones we’re utilising purely analog optical generators based on spinning discs with graphical patterns.
This may just look like digital tech aping the original, but they’ve genuinely made a hybrid. DC motors spin discs made of plexiglass, covered in opaque black foil on one side, with an LED and photoresistor. That optical detector feeds an analog signal, fed directly to the mixer. They’re real, opto-analog oscillators.
The magnetic part is real, too. 2-3 second tape loops record samples, with variable-speed playback, on top of 3 one-shots that move the magnetic head along the tape (with in turn varies pitch). So you have digitally-controlled magnetic tape and opto-analog synthesis – a fusion of past and present tech. It takes the historical sound techniques, but produces a more accessible, dynamic interface with the computer – digital input, analog output.
And visitors to the exhibition get real recorded results, too – just as they would if they stepped into the historical electroacoustic studio. There’s a printout of the score, plus a digital record uploaded to a server.
The historical use of tape is reimagined with real, digitally-controlled magnetic tape sampling.
The historical gear that inspired the new invention, side by side with the results.
Visual scores accompany the sonic creations.
The Apparatum will make the trip this weekend to Karlsruhe, Germany, where it will accompany an exhibition on now through the start of next year on the historical Polish studio:
Flowkey has announced that its Flowkey piano learning app is now available on Android smartphone devices. Previously available on desktop, iOS and Android tablets, you can now also practice notes and chords interactively on your Android phone. With flowkey, you learn to play beautiful piano music from the very beginning. Choose your favorite piano pieces […]
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Pyramind has announced the upcoming Advanced Sound Design Serum Workshop, a lecture and interactive workshop with Chris Gear. You can work along with Chris in the San Francisco workshop on October 19th, or join the Online Live Stream from your home studio on October 23rd, and ask questions in real time to make sure you […]
Just before GameSoundCon, the premier conference for video game composers and sound designers, opens its doors again in the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on November 7 & 8, the industry survey provides interesting new findings about the income and educational levels of game audio pros. The report covers both freelance and salaried game […]
An oversized music box takes to the streets, packed in vintage furniture and cranked by passersby, in this Portuguese sound art piece.
It’s the latest work of friend-of-the-site Nuno Santos, who has gone viral in social media with this enchanting demo video. For more information, though, you can watch a detailed making-of series he’s produced. (Portuguese, but with original English subtitles – the behind-the-scenes bits follow just after the demo.)
There’s a lot of clever engineering work in this award-winning project. It’s an achievement in packing a sound system into a mobile form factor using vintage furniture. It’s a great physical computing project, complete with that huge crank. And it’s a great example of what you can do with pisound and Raspberry Pi – adding high-fidelity audio functionality to the ubiquitous, dirt-cheap tiny PC.
And, of course, for mechanical engineering and some 3d printing, the crank!
Nuno shares a gallery of how this all comes together.
Imaginando are creating all sorts of good stuff, including my favorite Traktor iPad controller and one of my favorite Ableton controllers – plus a nice way to connect your Teenage Engineering OP-1 to Ableton Live.