Data sonification for scientific exploration & discovery

Data sonification, often used for outreach, education and accessibility, is also an effective tool for scientific exploration and discovery!

Working from the Lindorff-Larsen et al Science (2011) atomic-level molecular dynamics simulation of multiple folding and unfolding events in the WW domain, we heard (and analytically confirmed) correlations between hydrogen bond dynamics and the speed of a protein (un)folding transition.

The results were published this week in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), vol. 121 no. 22, 28 May 2024: “Hydrogen bonding heterogeneity correlates with protein folding transition state passage time as revealed by data sonification”

Congratulations to everyone in the Biophysics Sonification Group:

Carla Scaletti (1), Premila P. Samuel Russell (2), Kurt J. Hebel (1), Meredith M. Rickard (2), Mayank Boob (2), Franz Danksagmüller (9), Stephen A. Taylor (7), Taras V. Pogorelov (2,3,4,5,6), and Martin Gruebele (2,3,5,8)

(1) Symbolic Sound Corporation, Champaign, IL 61820, United States;
(2) Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL 61801, United States;
(3) Center for Biophysics and Quantitative Biology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL 61801, United States;
(4) School of Chemical Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL 61801, United States;
(5) Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL 61801, United States;
(6) National Center for Supercomputer Applications, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL 61801, United States;
(7) School of Music, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL 61801, United States;
(8) Department of Physics, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL 61801, United States;
(9) Musikhochschule Lübeck, 23552 Lübeck, Germany

Kyma creator on the cover of Computer Music Journal

The Spring 2016 issue of Computer Music Journal (Volume 40 Issue 1) includes a transcript of Carla Scaletti‘s keynote address for the 41st International Computer Music Conference.

In Looking Back, Looking Forward, Scaletti uses mythology, evolutionary anthropology, nostalgia research and a story about the origins of Kyma to illustrate the idea that software is “hardware with cognitive fluidity”.


The Listening Back, Listening Forward issue marks the beginning of Computer Music Journal‘s 40th year of publication and, citing recent research showing that nostalgia enhances creativity, CMJ editor Douglas Keislar invites readers to share their own computer music stories for possible publication as letters to the editor throughout this anniversary year.

Also in this issue: Silvia Matheus reviews The Seventh KYMA International Sound Symposium (KISS2015)!

Anne La Berge, sound hero

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 11.37.58 AMFlutist/composer Anne La Berge is featured on the cover of the July 2015 issue of freiStil magazine. Inside, an in-depth interview delves into Anne’s history, music, and politics.

When asked about her electronic beginnings, she recounts, “My first electronic instrument was the microphone. To this I owe some of the most magical aspects of my sound: whistling, harmonies, echoes of vowels and consonants, to name just a few.” She soon started to expand on those effects with hardware like the Clavia Micro Modular, then the Clavia Nord Modular G2, and now “currently I am a passionate Kyma system user… I do most of my pieces in conjunction with a Kyma. I am fascinated by the expansion of the flute sounds by electronics. I really appreciate auxiliary means for obtaining an incredible dynamic range. Sometimes in an ensemble situation, the flute can’t be heard. So I’ve developed sound patches that allow me to be heard in almost any musical situation.”

Anne can be heard performing her live Kyma-processed flute compositions at the Berlin Heroines of Sound festival in 10-12 July.

Castrating the technophallus: CMR Special Issue on Di Scipio’s Audible Ecosystems

Contemporary Music Review has just released a special issue dedicated to “Agostino Di Scipio: Audible Ecosystems”. Authors include Makis Solomos, Renaud Meric, Laura Zattra, Luc Dobereiner, Pedro Bittencourt, Owen Green and Julia Schroeder.

In an audible ecosystem, one or more agents enter into and interfere with a feedback loop, causing changes in the sound it generates while also adjusting and regulating their own actions based upon the changes. Di Scipio describes it as a double feedback loop, “one electroacoustic, the other ‘cognitive’: agents act in the loop system and the audible consequences direct their further actions”.

In Di Scipio’s contribution to the issue, he analyzes his Modes of Interference No. 3 for three or more guitars, amplifiers, and computer.  In that installation, Kyma is used for ring modulation and delays whose parameters are, in turn, recursively controlled by amplitude envelope followers tracking the audio output at various time scales.

By removing the human performers’ homo-erotic stroking of the electric guitar, Di Scipio’s intention was to castrate the technophallic associations of cock rock and, in so doing, come to terms with his own teenage experimentations with the electric guitar and rock music.

Tobias Enhus featured in Studio Magazine

Tobias Enhus‘ Santa Monica California-based film-scoring studio is featured in the November 2013 issue of STUDIO magazine. You can get a preview of the article through this video in which Enhus gives a demo tour of his unique collection of gear (including a rack with three Pacaranas) presented in Swedish and the universal language of audio gear, all to the soft accompaniment of the glassy, metallic, vocal, analog electronics that have become his signature sound. Near the end of the video, Enhus does an impromptu performance with Max Mathews’ Radio Baton controlling vocal resynthesis in Kyma!

When not composing for film, television, games & advertising, Tobias Enhus enjoys a bit of cave diving.
When not composing for film, television, games & advertising, Tobias Enhus enjoys a bit of cave diving & sleep walking.

The article describes how Tobias was born in Sweden and began by following in his father’s footsteps as a construction engineer before changing course to follow his true passion: music and sound design. Now he is a successful film composer and sound designer in Hollywood, and he has what he describes as a real monster in his sound design studio: “This is my audio playground,” Tobias says, referring to his Kyma system, the programming language considered by some to be the most powerful sound design tool available. Enhus’ Kyma system (his 3-Pacarana rack is among the world’s largest sound computing clusters), along with his Synclavier and analog synthesizer modules, have laid the technical foundation for Enhus’ successes in Los Angeles; his composing credits include the films Narc and the soon-to-be-released feature film Sisterhood of Night, the television series Top Gear and video game Spiderman 3, as well as sound design and music composition for numerous ads for companies like Mercedes and Coca Cola.

The article is full of photos, anecdotes, advice, and insights on the life of a professional composer and sound designer in LA. And it’s an inspiring story for anyone who feels they are expected to take one path in life and is seeking the courage to risk it all in order to follow their dreams.

Kyma featured in Post magazine’s “Audio Innovations”

Kyma is featured in the February 2011 issue of Post Magazine in Ron DiCesare’s article, “Audio Innovations: These companies prove you don’t have to be large to have a big impact”.

Kyma is featured in the February 2011 issue of Post Magazine in Ron DiCesare‘s article, Audio Innovations, an article that focuses on some of the innovators and risk-takers who are reshaping the audio industry.  In an interview with Carla Scaletti, DiCesare describes Kyma’s unique position in audio post production, emphasizing Kyma’s capabilities, the ease with which it can be hooked up to unusual control devices, and Symbolic Sound’s close interaction with customers.

Kyma defies conventional description, but some may call it a sound supercomputer or a sound designer’s dream come true…The hardware component, called the Pacarana, combined with the powerful software makes Kyma a truly innovative approach to sound.