Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Boogie Woogie Bugle Buoy

"Chaos Atlantis is a real-time sonification engine, a program that converts ocean-marine data into sound. It is currently using data generated by NOAA buoy 46059 located off the coast of Northern California. This buoy measures several variables including water temperature, air temperature, wave height, wind speed, and much more. These numbers are used to control the parameters of Chaos Atlantis. For example...wave periods determine which synthesizers are used to make sound. The speed at which new sounds are created (tempo) is controlled by the wind speed. The frequency or pitch of a tone is controlled by the water and/or air temperature. The many permutations of these variables create an ever changing soundscape that is both fascinating and unpredictable. An excerpt [for listening or downloading - ed.] is posted at my soundcloud page here:"

Chaos Atlantis excerpt

So writes Missoula, Montanta's Ed Wrzesien about this intriguing project that doesn't sound particularly oceanic, but does sound plenty lovely, in a sci-fi ambient electronica kinda way. John Cage used to talk about removing the composer's ego from the music, to let music be itself, and on this, the 100th anniversary year of his birth, I like to think that he would have really enjoyed this, and the Sun Boxes we wrote about last November, as this is music not hemmed in by human time constraints or rigid formats, but music that just drifts unpredictably along.  As long as there's an ocean with waves, you could potentially listen to this forever (you can listen live on the above-linked Chaos Atlantis site).  The "composer" sets the parameters, and lets nature do the rest.  And, let's face it, nature is usually a much greater artist than us puny mortals. Other tracks on Wrzesien's Soundcloud page include a piece described as "...a sonification of data representing ice flow over the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica" that does indeed sound rather chilly, and a toe-tapper made entirely of sampled sounds of the Large Hedron Collider. Science can be fun!

1 comment:

Richard said...

Second try on this comment....

Just ran across your blog (linked from Bodega Pop) and I love it--have Chaos Atlantis streaming right now. I look forward to wandering through your earlier postings.