The sound of everyday things

Music October 16 2012


I’m a sucker for anything that transforms one type of media into another- be it something simple or common, like for instance, transforming a book into a movie, or something even more advanced like Dennis P Paul‘s ”An instrument from the sonification of everyday things.” On the surface it’s a simple idea – build a contraption which can hold and rotate an everyday item around it’s own axis, while a laser range finder scans the surface, the information it outputs is then used to interpret the sound of the spinning item. Like I said (disregarding the fact that I have no clue how hard it is to build or program something like this) the idea itself is simple – create a likeness of a selected item into another medium. The end result, is perhaps a bit less simple than that, or let’s just say complex.

Paul’s machine sounds the way it sounds, due to the way it’s built. The sounds it transmits may be based on the shape of an object, but the audio it outputs is based on decisions made during a creative process. This is not the actual sound of an object, but rather the machine’s own way of interpreting that particular sound.

But is this a bad thing? I reckon it’s not, as the device itself paves way for something greater. Only music instruments,storage devices, music cassettes and CDs, are said to store sound. Now, it’s pretty much fair game for everything around us, this could be the start of something amazing. And honestly, it’s not like everything we humans produce isn’t made with a certain style or sound in mind. In any case, I might have gotten lost in my internal arguments a bit, but, this thing is freakin cool, I want one, and I really want to know what my favourite pair of headphones sound like.


An Instrument for the Sonification of Everyday Things

By: Dennis P Paul / /Vimeo // @dennisppaul