Webhamster Henry's Top 10 Imaginary Sound Events of 2014
- Philae,Titan Rain, Vinyl Ring (ESA and others: 2014)
The ESA Rosetta probe recorded magnetic pulsations coming from the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in a super infrasonic range of 40-50 millihertz. Scientists sped it up 10,000 times and released it as a track. But that's not the only celestial body that emits slowly changing magnetic waves. Storms on Titan have also been picked up by the vacationing Huygens lander for an otherworldly environments record, and the highly bumpy texture of Saturn's rings has now been scaled down to 12" and can be played as vinyl.
- Happy Heart, Messy Dandruff (Otakukuland: 2014)
Japanese anime fans, unhappy with the the pace of dubbing and subbing new shows into English, take matters into their own hands and rescore and mash up dozens of animated features and tv shows. No two lines come from the same show!
- Sequins (SpanglyBits: 2014)
Sixteen sequin-skinned go-go dancers in a Row, 16 strobe lights, watched by photocell controlled oscillators. You do the math.
- The Boulevard of Broken Records (Lack of Shellac: 2014)
It happens often enough to every antique disc collector: the eventual cracking and breaking of some of the collection.
Christy Marclette has epoxied together dozens of smashed 78s so that they make a continuous, sinuous track 90 feet in circumference. Attaching a period reproducer and horn on a small motorized toy train, she has it make its way down the trail, skipping from genre to genre, and making its own rattles as well. For those who care, she DOES change the needle every trip!
- The Torquoise Torquemada (a device 2014)
This is an exceedingly simple concept: high torque motor spins a 16 inch steel flywheel at precisely the right rate for any BPM you wish, immediately. You attach things to it with super magnets, and you get a signal out of it with acoustic reproducers and horns, photocells, tapeheads, or contact mics mounted on flexible arms. It also puts out and synchs to MIDI time code. A basic setup with 4 of them builds beautiful audio and visual polyrhythms.
- Ol' Blue Eyes (I Dug It: reissue 2014)
Paul McCartney and Johnny Mercer had a collaboration shortly before Mercer's death in 1976 (and way after McCartney's death in 1966).
This is their white-breaded tribute to Sinatra.
- PPPPico Sound (ppppppppp: 2014)
Fantastic new microphone technology, involving pulsed lasers in the femtosecond range and graphene diaphragms, now can pick up and record higher frequencies than ever before. Now, the very very quiet, very very high frequency vibrations of individual atoms can be tracked in a chemical reaction. Since anything that vibrates can be made audible by rescaling its frequencies, the data visualization team at the Max Planck Institute have turned some of their data into sounds. So now, with very very careful timing, the world of ultra sound beyond ultrasound is revealed: not just air pressure changing, but molecules absorbing energy and combining chemically with other molecules. Of special interest is the sound of light being processed by chlorophyll.
Virtual sit in (Pop up activist exhibit: 2014)
2014 has been a big year for Police Getting Away with Murder. Various protests and riots have been a good source for ambient street recordings, and the ubiquity of crowd sourced media means that various audio viewpoints of the same events can be combined into a surround-sound environment: you are there. This exhibit took 25 sound and video sources from protests and actions and played them from suspended speakers in a darkened tent with associated video projected on the walls and on scrims. Petitions were available at the entrance and exits.
- Water is a Rock (Qui Meaux: 2014)
Equipped with a custom made set of molds, the Qui Meaux band from Nunavut build ephemeral instruments out of ice. They make Pagophones with bars of ice up to 4 feet long, shakers and scrapers, ice horns, and even ice gongs. Their shows can take hours to play out in the eternal summer light, and as they play at one end of the stage, the other end is melting away.*
- Domino Theory of Evolution (Evolving Spots: 2014)
The concept of a falling line of dominos has here been generalized to a custom set of pitched wood blocks, designed to be set up on a row on a special track and triggered into melodies. They can be propped up on little stilts, which somewhat controls the rhythm. The Evolving Spots takes this concept further, by adding jingles, bellows, membranes, and steel strings to the blocks and to the track as targets.
Well, it turns out #9 is real: Check out this link!
So, here's an extra one that I hope is imaginary!:
Basso Profundo Fest 1969 (Found in a dollar bin for $0.25)
The Basso Profundo Fest is an annual contest and festival, like a Barbershop Quartet competition, but for basse vocalists and their groups. In 1969, the fest's management wanted to turn away from "Asleep in the Deep" and "Ol' Man River" traditional favorites for decades and become more "relevant." So this year, the Bass quartets performed covers of popular tunes like "Aquarius", "Sounds of Silence", "MacArthur's Park", and on a lighter note, The Chipmunks' "Christmas Don't Be Late."