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Hear a Synthesizer Generate Sound from a Pyrite Disc

Moscow-based artist Dimitry Morozov made a synthesizer out of fool’s gold. Check out the sounds.
Images courtesy the artist

Dimitry Morozov, a.k.a. ::vtol::, is clearly a busy man. In the last year he’s made an 8-Bit photo gun and silk, a “cryptocurrency-tracking” musical instrument. His latest project, Ra, which comes just weeks after silk, is a sound object and synthesizer that uses a laser that scans irregularities on the surface of a pyrite disc and transforms the data to create sound.

Morozov ran the laser-scanned sound through a reverb unit, various filters and modulators, and other effects programs to create the electronic sounds. The results are highly experimental, and sound—though this could just be our imaginations—almost subterranean in an early science fiction Journey to the Center of the Earth-kind of way.

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Pyrite, also known as fool’s gold, is found in quartz veins, metamorphic rock, sedimentary rock, and fossils. When subjected to intense compression between layers of shale (a sedimentary rock) over the course of 300 million years, the pyrite radiates outward to create the distinctive golden discs known as “pyrite suns” or “pyrite dollars”.

Morozov was given a pyrite disc by a mineral seller in Boulder City, Nevada. When the seller heard about Morozov’s works, she asked him to do something with they pyrite disc, and refused to take payment for it.

::vtol:: Ra from ::vtol:: on Vimeo.

“In the same period, I was reading articles on various ways of archiving and preservation of sounds from the first, historical sources of the recorded sound – wax discs and other fragile carriers,” Morozov writes. “All technologies were based on the usage of lasers. Inspired by these projects, I set out to create a self-made laser sound reader which would be able to produce sound from various uneven surfaces, using minimal resources to achieve it. Thus emerged the idea to construct an instrument using the pyrite disc and a self-made laser sound reader.”

Click here for more from ::vtol::.

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