Light controlled ambient music piece

The ambient piece acted as the musical introduction to a discussion between photographer Victoria Schultz,  psychoanalyst Heikki Majava and sound explorer (Me). The topic of the discussion was My Body and I – Synchronic Image, Vision and Sound.

The pitches of the piece were controlled with light dependent resistors. I had built two simple enclosures for the resistors, which I held in my hands. In a slow dance I moved about and explored the light and dark areas of the gallery, Laterna Magica, where the event was held.

Laterna Magica Light to Sound PerformanceVictoria’s photos were on display in the gallery, and I thought that light controlled music would bridge the media and weave the topic together. I had built a light controlled audio device a few years ago, which was perfect for the idea.

It has two oscillators, which can be independently controlled. I connected the stereo out of the device to a laptop, in which a modular sound processing software turned the pitches of the oscillators into synthesizer control messages. The other channel was used for texture and the other had more soloish character.


Sound design for an exhibition

The Finnish Aviation Museum organized an exhibition about flight related myths and legends. The exhibition is called Myyttinen Lento or Mythical Flight in English. The exhibition was designed to spur imagination of kids (and adults). One of the objects of the exhibition was a magic carpet you could ride yourself.

For the design I co-operated with Marko Ahokangas from Dept. of Lighting and Sound Design of Theatre Academy of Finland. Marko created the sounds and I programmed the player. Plogue Bidule was used to create an ever changing and never repeating soundscape, which was fed to an eight channel PA-system, which encompassed the exhibition space.

The location of the sounds in space was controlled by four  separate eight channel linear output selectors, which were modulated by independent sine wave oscillators. The sounds were divided in two categories – fast and slow sounds were panned and controlled by separate sub-programmes.

One layer of the soundscape was a synthesized wind like instrument, which picked its pitch (Via FFT) from the other sounds and acted as the musical element. For example when a sound of an airplane was playing and the synth was trigged the synth picked a frequency from the sound of the airplane and generated a musical tone that was in tune with the sound of the airplane.

Provided here is a two channel sample of the completed soundscape.


SFX for a dance/kung-fu show – Lightsaber sound

The show was produced by Blind Frame Productions. It was performed at the Solid Tricular LAN-party. The sci-fi inspired show used themes from Star Wars, Terminator and Transformers. The second half of the show was a lightsaber battle.

I checked out readily available material for the lightsaber sounds, but concluded that the available material didn’t sound evil enough and was inflexible for the show’s purpose, so I decided to create my own.

The lightsaber sound was created with Plogue Bidule. The fundamental waveform consists of PWM sawtooth and synced sawtooth waves. Envelope modulated PW creates the ignition effect. The waveform is put through and mixed with a couple of filterbanks, which add a bit of distortion too. The core of the sound is the fundamental waveform put through a customized and monophonic formant filter. In total the sound consists of three different layers.

The sound of movement is created by putting the original sound through a new set of filters, which mix with an amplitude modulated copy of themselves. An energy field rips through atmosphere. This second signal path is mixed to the original via a crossfader. The crossfader and a few other parameters were programmed to be controlled by the modulation wheel of a midi keyboard.

I originally envisioned to record the output of the process and replay it at the show. I ended up manipulating the process live with the midi keyboard, because it was much easier and I could better react to the action on stage. The contact sounds are adjustments of the original process, and they were launched with the keyboard. Besides the lightsabers a multitude of other sounds were created for the show.

The sound is not supposed to be an emulation of the original, but a unique rendering for a unique purpose. It sounded awesome through the party’s PA.


Jungle of Sound

Ääniviidakko (Jungle of Sound) is a generative and synthetic rainforest/jungle soundscape installation. It was created for the chill out space of Manaus techno party, held in Helsinki. It was not possible to sonically separate the chill out space very well from the main stage, and it would have been futile to have a DJ there.

The totality consists of eight separate layers, which are in constant tranformation and rhythmically independend of each other. No natural sounds have been used as the source. A few irrelevant rhythmical and melodious elements are driven through a multitude of effects, which create a jungle-like soundscape, which never repeats itself.

The cycles are quite long, and the soundscape goes through impressions of night and day, relaxation and activity. On top of that stochastic midi generators drive a few software synthesizers, which simulate wind and water-like noises.

A collage of real jungle and rainforest sounds is used as a secondary source to liven up the synthetic main composition. These are mainly birds, which at times rise up to be heard.

Realized with Plogue Bidule

2008 Manaus party chill out area, Helsinki