Experiencing the near-universe as sound

 Data-driven sound, Event, Installation  Comments Off on Experiencing the near-universe as sound
Oct 232016

Robert Jarvis‘ sound art installation aroundNorth allows listeners to experience the near
universe as they have never heard it before. As the Earth spins on its axis, and day becomes night becomes day, our view of the near universe changes in terms of the changing positions of the stars in the sky. One star appears to stay stationary (the North Star); and the rest take about 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds to complete a full revolution.
‘aroundNorth’ offers listeners an opportunity to hear this phenomenon in real time. As each star crosses equally spaced virtual lines emanating from Celestial North Pole, a corresponding sound is heard that maps the star’s position in the sky, size, distance from Earth, brightness and temperature, creating a mesmerising sound map of the universe as viewed by our turning planet.

‘aroundNorth’ humanizes the astronomical, giving us an emotional key to help us relate the unfathomable heavens to our own experiences of time and space. With echoes of a Neolithic monument of ancient myth, the installation introduces us to a universe full of interest, encouraging us to think differently about the cosmos and our place within it.

Jarvis presented his installation on 15 October 2016 in a rather neolithic setting — the Beaghmore Stones Circle complex, preceded by an installation performance at Antrim Castle Gardens.

For more information, future showings, or to invite Robert Jarvis to create an aroundNorth experience in your city, see the aroundNorth web site.

Oct 232016

You won’t hear a single starting pistol or popped balloon in Matteo Milani’s Imagined Spaces impulse response library. Instead, the film sound designer imagined and synthesized the impulse responses of imaginary spaces using Kyma 7.

As a result, Imagined Spaces can do more than imbue your tracks with air, depth, and new perspective; it also expands and transforms the original material into something entirely new, something that’s never been heard before — like listening to your tracks in venues that exist only in the mind of the sound designer.

Time is but the stream

 Release, Sound Recording  Comments Off on Time is but the stream
Oct 182016

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.

— Henry David Thoreau

Priscilla McLean’s Songs of Radiance triptych seems to draw inspiration both from the words of Henry David Thoreau and from the wild northern landscapes she calls home. Each song is a meditation on a Thoreau text, giving a glimpse inside McLean’s stream of consciousness, quiet at first, but then as new layers are deposited, one-by-one, the music eventually and inevitably seems to triumph and overtake all.

Songs of Radiance 3 (Time is but the stream) begins delicately, with hybrid flute-birds, Pierrot Lunaire-like Sprechtstimme, and a scurrying of instrumental samples evoking small mammals. Spoken text, pointillistic vocal effects, laughter, careening vocal glissandi and other vocalizations merge, blend, and morph into instrumental and electronic sounds. Here the voice is employed as an orchestra — its full range from speech, to bel canto, to isolated sibilants, to staccato laughter, to vocoder-like multitrack harmonies, coalescing into fresh and unexpected ensembles.

After hearing what Priscilla does with Kyma 7 and her voice, one can only hope that she has plans for live performance versions of these songs!

For more by Priscilla McLean (including the full Songs of Radiance cycle), visit her playlist.

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