Recently I was invited by Michel Rouzic to try his software, Photosounder, designed for converting images into sound. Image to sound conversion is something I’ve been meaning to explore, so today I finally had some time to have a look. The software does much more than create strange sound from images. It’s a great time stretching tool, and it also reads in wave files as images allowing you to use the same sort of manipulation you can do on image based files.
This sound was created from the full resolution version of the graffiti photo shown. I settled on this image because of it’s simplicity, and the diagonal strokes of the tag produced a nice cascade of descending pitches. The way the flash lights up the center of the photo gave the sound a dynamic swell that I emphasized by adjusting the gamma parameter. Photosounder allows you to set the time and frequency range of the audio produced, so for this example I put the bottom at 52Hz and the top at 12kHz.
To generate this pattern I loaded a basic TR-808 kick drum sample into one of the most simple Pluggo VSTs called Flying Waves. The controls in Flying Waves are a set of movable cross hairs on a grid, volume and an external sample button. Moving the cross hairs up and down increases and lowers the pitch of the sample while left and right lowers and increases the volume respectively. With a sine wave you can get Theremin like sounds.
After loading in the 808 kick I resampled myself adjusting the cross hairs for a few minutes until I had some interesting patterns to work with. After that I cut and pasted a bar that was a good representation of what I was going for, then I looped it four times and rendered the results.
Today I decided to record my electric drill. It was on a list of “things i need to record”. Power tools make some great sounds with all sorts of textures and frequencies. I captured the sound of the drill in stereo at a variety of speeds. I also got the sound of switching the drill from forward to reverse. Afterward I chopped it up into a percussive loop and ran it through beat repeat to get a nice mechanical loop going.
Beat repeat has pitch decay setting that incrementally lowers the pitch of repeated slices, which you can hear in the piece. I also maximized the chance settings to increase the likelihood of repeats happening and the variation setting to vary the length of the slices used in the repetition.
A friend sent me this link to an animated piece done on public walls in Buenos Aires and it was just too good not to post here. Fortunately, the piece is fitting for this venue due to the quality of the audio involved.
The animation is amazing, but one of the things I like especially about this piece is the sound design and music. It’s starts deceptively with typical city ambiance, but when the animation begins it quickly changes into a combination of experimental music and clever sound design carefully synchronized to the visuals.
More information about the artist and examples of their work can be found at blublu.org. The animation is by BLU assisted by Sibe, and the music / sound design is by Andrea Martignoni.