For their senior project, George Mason University students Seth Robertson and Viet Tran decided to ignore all of their professors and classmates who told them their idea was terrible. They proceeded to invent a fire extinguisher that uses sound waves instead of chemicals to put out fires. The project was partially inspired by the fact that traditional fire extinguishers do not work in space. [more inside]
The Sound of Empty Space is an installation by Adam Basanta that explores ideas around silence, amplification and feedback.
1,500 speakers, each playing a single microtonal frequency, collectively spanning 4 octaves. [more inside]
Sound of Cinema - British Sci-Fi from the BFI Days of Fear and Wonder - BBC Radio 3 talks to film composer Stephen Price about The Shape of Things to Come, Alien, Gravity, and other science fiction soundtracks.
Newly unearthed — and not for the faint of heart — Kurt Cobain 's 1988 experimental sonic collage / mixtape, Montage of Heck. Recorded on a four-track cassette recorder when he was 21. Here's some notes on what you're listening to. And Consequence of Sound has additional info. Not recommended for work speakers, probably. What if this had started the alternative revolution instead of Nevermind?
Here's a collection of NASA sounds from historic spaceflights and current missions.
The Sound So Loud That It Circled the Earth Four Times. "It was 10:02 AM local time when the sound emerged from the island of Krakatoa, which sits between Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. It was heard 1,300 miles away in the Andaman and Nicobar islands ('extraordinary sounds were heard, as of guns firing'); 2,000 miles away in New Guinea and Western Australia ('a series of loud reports, resembling those of artillery in a north-westerly direction'); and even 3,000 miles away in the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues, near Maldives ('coming from the eastward, like the distant roar of heavy guns.'1) In all, it was heard by people in over 50 different geographical locations, together spanning an area covering a thirteenth of the globe."
Wave instruments: San Francisco's gurgly Wave Organ; Blackpool's moaning High Tide Organ; Zadar's hypnotic Sea Organ. [more inside]
Self-described collector of sounds and artist John Kannenberg records the sounds that echo through museums (usually thought of as spaces where silence is enforced) and creating works that "investigate the psychogeography of museums and archives, the processes of making and observing art, the psychology of collection, and the human experience of time." [more inside]
Researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Microsoft Research, and Adobe Research have presented a technique for reconstructing an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. For example, the method can be used to extract intelligible speech from video of a bag of potato chips filmed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass. [more inside]
myNoise.net uses audio synthesis cleverness and the HTML 5 Web Audio API to give you a vast array of ambient soundscapes and background noises right in your (recent) browser. Each generator is highly customisable and users can share customisations with each other.
Walter Kitundu is an artist and MacArthur Fellow (previously). In this video, he gives a lecture at the San Francisco Exploratorium about his bespoke instruments and lighting experiments. At around 16 minutes in, he plays his digital revision of a kora.
Here's 42 minutes and 27 glorious seconds of audio sound effects from Warner Bros. cartoons. And, should you want more (and of course you do), here's one hour and 17 seconds worth from Hanna Barbera studios.
Pyro Board. Or flammable sound waves and music. Danish Fysikshow demonstrates a 2-D Rubens' tube (wiki, demo).
The Nordic Society for Invention & Discovery has brought never-before-seen and totally exclusive technologies into the world, such as the Aaltopuck (an ice hockey puck modeled after Alvar Aalto's Savoy Vase), the Flower Shell (a shotgun shell that shoots seeds into the ground), the Wall of Sound (an 8000-watt iPod dock) and No More Woof (a device that wraps around your dog's head and translates his or her brain waves to computerized speech).
There are many, many random numbers involved in the score for the piece. Every time I ran the C-program, it produced a new "performance".... The one we chose had that conspicuous descending tone that everybody liked. It just happened to end up real loud in that version.James Moorer relates the rather unexpected manner in which he composed one of the one of the world's best known pieces of computer generated music: "Deep Note" from the THX trailer. [more inside]
HTML Theremin Headphones optional. Supposedly better in Chrome or IE, but I had no problem in FF.
Mesmerizing: Aston Martin DB9, Space Shuttle, harmonic, Tutankhamun, locomotive, Marilyn(-esque). Slow: Art Plotter, Teapot, big! burny! mighty! Home-made: Rostock, DVD drive, with lasers!, old scanner, Lego, mug, whiteboard. Art Projects: Hektor, Pedro & Sybil, sand plotter, Paul, XY, PolarGraph.
Marc Anderson, the winner of the Beautiful Now sound competition has a site called Nature Soundmap where you can listen to sounds from around the world. [more inside]
Minnesota Birdsong: An interactive poster Cute interface with birdsong content provided by the always amazing Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
The Roaring Twenties: An Interactive Exploration of the Historical Soundscape of New York City (sound autoplays). via i09, which says The map uses a combination of noise complaints and old reel footage to plot everything from what must have been an exceptionally noisy subway turnstile (complete with notes from the police report) all the way to a carnival barkers in Coney Island, and is a great way to listen in on the everyday life of a New York City gone-by.
The sound of silence - Research by Dr. Chia-Jung Tsay published in PNAS suggests that top musicians are judged as much for the visual aspects of their performances, as much as for the aural ones, regardless of the experience level of the listener or judge
The Daily .WAV has been online for at least fifteen years, bringing you fresh soundclips every day! Search the vast library to your heart's content.
Reel 2 Real: Sound at the Pitt Rivers Museum is a digitization project that is taking the archival field recordings of the Pitt Rivers Museum (Oxford University's museum of ethnography and anthropology), digitizing them, and placing them online with Soundcloud. [more inside]
Amazing Water & Sound Experiment #2 - brusspup synchronizes his video camera to a water stream run in front of a speaker outputting a 24 Hz sine wave
Listening to what the tongue feels:
First, drink some black coffee. Next, rub your tongue against the roof of your mouth. It should feel a little rough, like very fine sandpaper: the tiny bumps on your tongue, called papillae, are raised just enough to create friction against your palate. If you now add cream to your coffee and try again, the sensation should be much smoother — almost velvety. A layer of fat and mucous is now coating your tongue, providing lubrication and preventing friction. What you have just done was, until very recently, the most accurate method for evaluating the oral perception of fat — the precise degree of tongue-coating creaminess in milk, mayonnaise, or chocolate pudding.
Real-time MRI study of human beatboxing, with lots of videos. See what snares, kick drum effects, cymbals and more look and sound like as they happen inside the head. Here's a BBC radio segment on the project.
"Most films of nuclear explosions are dubbed. If they do contain an actual recording of the test blast itself.........it's almost always shifted in time so that the explosion and the sound of the blast wave are simultaneous. This is, of course, quite false: the speed of light is much faster than the speed of sound....." Unearthed recently from some Russian archive, this document of a nuclear detonation is one of the few films of its kind that includes a recording of the audio. The sound is not what you might expect.
Any parent of a young child will have experienced the ignominy of reaching a page in a picture-book featuring a giraffe and being ignorant of the appropriate sound with which to impersonate said animal. Here is that sound
Killing Them Softly - Trailer(Youtube) - is based on a 1978 novel by George V. Higgins (Boston's Balzac), set in Boston. The movie was filmed in New Orleans and set in 2008. [more inside]
'It's probably easy today to dismiss Negativland's activities as trifle, banal or plain stupid. They probably wouldn't be too uncomfortable with that, as they rarely claimed to go beyond the softest platitudes of the entertainment biz. No Other Possibility (1989, 58 mins, .avi d/l link), their first video work, showcases the band at a career threshold, before their U2ploitation move and just after their Christianity hoax. It typically explores the debris of American pop culture, dealing with automobile fetishism, televised preaching, halloween traditions, Marlboro masculinity, soft drinks and MTV.' [more inside]
Historically, archaeologists have largely ignored acoustical science as a tool for archaeological discovery. This is changing with the advent of acoustic archaeology. “Could the Maya have intentionally coded the sound of their sacred bird into the pyramid architecture? I think it is possible.” Hear it for yourself in this video. While this is a pretty astounding feat of architectural engineering, it’s by no means the only example of archaeoacoustics that can be found at Chichen Itza, amongst the mayan people, or throughout the many other cultures who’ve built structures that integrate unique auditory phenomenon to stimulate the senses. [previously]/[previously] [more inside]
Two elements: tempo and volume. Researchers at the Sundance Research Facility have finally discovered how to turn sound into matter.
Nick Cave's Soundsuits: Calling up echoes of wild beasts, Carnival dancers, maskers and shamans, the "soundsuits" made of a wild diversity of materials by visual artist and dancer Nick Cave have life beyond the gallery. They're designed to be used in performances and 'invasions,' creating a sense of mystery, playfulness and joyful moments of community.
Director and/or star of many of the greatest films ever made including The Great Dictator (2:05:16) [Globe scene and the eternally goosebump providing Final speech], The Immigrant (20:01), The Gold Rush (1:11:49), City Lights (1:22:40), Modern Times (1:27:01), and Monsieur Verdoux (1:59:03), Charlie Chaplin's movies have entered the public domain in most countries. Below the fold is an annotated list of all 82 of his official short and feature films in chronological order, as well as several more, with links to where you can watch them; it's not like you had work to do right? [more inside]
Exploring the audible world:
- How Music Works: Melody, Rhythm, Harmony and Bass. (3 hr. UK Channel 4 documentary).
- The Macaulay Library, the world's largest and oldest library of nature recordings.
- The creative process of industrial sound design and 11 sounds threatened with extinction. The technical challenges of broadcasting the sound of sport and the surprises of “real” sound.
- The woman behind the voice of 200 airports.
The Psychologically Ultimate Seashore was the first in the Environments series of records, an early entry in the field of white-noise nature sound albums. One interesting aspect of the albums was that most were designed to be played on a loop at any speed; another was that selections were included on the Voyager Golden Record as "Sounds of the Earth". [more inside]
A wall with large buttons that trigger voices, mellotron-style; An Indonesian gamelan xylophone orchestra played with a arcade game-like control panel; A leslie speaker that amplifies whatever a stethoscope touches. These are just a few of the instruments built into a unique New Orleans musical architecture installation called Dithyrambalina, or simply, The Music Box. [more inside]
Sound-Word Index — Emotions and their sound can invade our digital messages. Our words become flexible and vibrate according to the volume of our voices, transforming their written form into an expressive and resonating language. Without the help of body language, words can sometimes fall short in our digital conversations. However, sound, volume and rhythm can influence the spelling of our words, helping to translate our emotions hidden behind our screens.
A gamma-ray burst, the most energetic explosions in the universe, converted to music. What does the universe look like at high energies? Thanks to the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT), we can extend our sense of sight to "see" the universe in gamma rays. But humans not only have a sense of sight, we also have a sense of sound. If we could listen to the high-energy universe, what would we hear? What does the universe sound like?
Jack Foley was the first Foley Artist. A Foley Artist's job is to physically create the subtler sound effects for most of the action in a film — usually, everything but the dialogue. Sometimes that involves smearing peanut butter on someone's face and recording the sound of a cow licking it off. • Here's the split-screen classic short, Track Stars: The Unseen Heroes of Movie Sound, and its Doppleganger, plus a similar tribute, replacing the sounds on a 1962 public domain film. • A couple of Porn Foley parodies [NSFW of course] and a murder-filled parody • Here's the process in detail for marking, recording, and editing Foley for 35mm film: Part 1 (excerpted), Part 2 • Technically, Foley only covers sounds you can tailor-make in the recording studio; other sounds (engines, explosions, etc) are the domain of the Sound FX person. If you don't have your own means, though, Sounddogs.com has an extensive collection of samples.
How Video Game Sounds Are Made: a brief but fascinating look inside the world of video game sound production.
The Quietest Place on Planet Earth Measured at -9.4dB, this is the quietest place on earth. There is a standing bet that anyone lasting 45 minutes in the chamber, in the dark, earns a case of beer of their choice. No one has lasted more than a half hour.
NPR: "Folklorist Alan Lomax spent his career documenting folk music traditions from around the world." Now, nearly ten years after his death, thousands of the songs and interviews he recorded are available for free online, many for the first time. "It's part of what Lomax envisioned for [his] collection — long before the age of the Internet." (Mr. Lomax, Previously on MeFi) [more inside]