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Turning urban noise into music

By Rhizome

0ambaiente2.jpgSo far, the headphones of music players have been isolating us from noise but also from one another. Ambient Addition, by Noah Vawter, aims to change that. This kind of Walkman allows one to synthesize music from environmental sound and creates a sonic space in which the listener remains connected with the surroundings, while being cushioned from the most harsh and arrhythmic incursions and maybe also drawn to appreciate more subtle ones. The design of the device is quite peculiar as the listener's ears are visible through the headphones, suggesting that s/he is not in his/her own world, but able to hear and respond to those around him/her.

A tiny Digital Signal Processing chip analyzes the microphone's sound and superimposes a layer of harmony and rhythm on top of the listener's world. New behaviors take place. Listeners tend to play with objects around them, sing to themselves, and wander toward tempting sound sources. The pattern of audio processing is composed to create a song-like sense of anticipation.

Ambient Addition and other cool projects will be presented at the dorkbot-nyc meeting which will take place on October 4th, at Location One in SoHo.

Related: Sonic City enables people to compose music in real time by walking through the streets; TUNA, the walkman as a social experience; Mapamp uses the architecture of a city, navigation and radio systems to layer an artificial acoustic space over the original one; Sonic interface, etc.

Other works by Vawter: Religious Speech Sensor and Smooth Ride.

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