The Internet of Sound Circles



Lately I have the feeling that I am constantly exploring the ever expanding boundaries of the Internet. Not only am I getting more educated on how ‘the thing’ actually works by taking this MOOC, but am also attending more and more internet-related events. One of the first events I went to was in October: A lunch seminar of Ben Mawson named “Walk inside a piece of music via the 3D Binaural Audio Rendering Engine”. Calling the 3DBARE  a exercise in “digital liveness”, lured me in and… boy… Was I not disappointed!

A cool story about the actual walking in a piece of music, as if you were walking through an orchestra, constantly experiencing a different piece of the music play. I had never realized before the static way we are actually listening to music when we’re sitting at a concert or listening to our earphones. My eyes were opened. I had to see this thing or something similar in action!

When my Digichamp work brought me to the Creative Digifest 2013 (#SXSC3), I encountered Ben’s work again. He won the Dragon’s Den styled competition with his 3DBARE! While thanking the crowd and the panel for his prize, he mentioned that he was planning on doing a practical master class about a GPS-enabled software for Android called NoTours, on the 10th of December 2013. Obviously, I was hyped. I knew I had to go!

And so, I went! With a small group of people from very different backgrounds (from music to archeology!) we got a class from Ben about NoTours;  a software Ben discovered while researching using listener tracking to make the experience of audio changeable . With the open-source tool NoTours everyone is able to, with a bit of practice, build their own maps of sounds. It uses the Google Maps API to annotate landscape with interactive audio. In short: You create circles on Google Maps (in this case a field in Southampton’s Common), give each circle a specific sound, upload these circles and sounds on an android phone, put the phone’s GPS on and go to the actual field! The result was in one word, AWESOME! Walking on the field allowed me to switch between the sounds I had put in, literally walking through the composition of sounds I had made. Some loud, some quiet, some overlapping and some alone. The physical activity of walking changed the things I heard. One word: Awesome! Just image what kind of cool stuff you can do… Walking through an entire Beatles album, creating games for children where they have to find that one music piece on a field, creating audio tours without annoying and disruptive clicks in the middle. Oh man… So many options! (We even made an evil plan of creating secret circles on the sea, applying ‘Jaws’ tunes to unaware swimmers. Hihihi).

So thanks again Ben, for the awesome tour in the world of NoTours. I can’t wait to see where it and your 3DBARE are going!

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