With so much visual stimulation constantly flashing, spinning, and bursting before our eyes, it's easy to forget to listen. As a result, our visually dominated culture often unceremoniously reduces audio art to background noise. This year, however, a swarm of scientists, researchers, and artists fought back, and we were consistently blown away by the new territories being charted in the field of audible art.
This is the Year in Sound:
+ Danish scientists lit Dubstep on fire.
+ In February, we decided not to test our luck with the most lethal sound system in the world.
+ Dominic Wilcox collected the chaotic clamor of the city through the cone-like contraption of his Binaudios.
+ April was all about Kayne West’s audio DNA:
+ In May, we listened to the sound of the internet.
+ Walls literally spoke to us.
+ Claudia Robles sonified sweat through a Galvanic Skin Response interface in her project SKIN.
+ Sound wavelengths found their IRL soulmates in a series of beautifully unique nature photography.
+ In June, we we hugged the future of sound art.
+ In Mira Calix’s installation of paper streams and musical movement, Inside There Falls, the walls literally spoke to us.
+ CalArts cultivated an enhanced cybernetic garden of instruments and realized the importance of irrigation: “when they’re watered correctly, it will sound better. If the soil is dry, it will be repetitive and stagnant.”
+ We entered the lyrical labyrinth of QVALIA’s interactive music video game.
+ Machina’s MIDI Jacket translated our funky grooves into music.
+ Traditional instruments became larger than life through human harps.
+ We got lost in the eerie acoustics of new instrument, the Yaybahar.
+ We also pretended to be a synth-pop version of Tom Hanks in BIG with this gigantic drum machine.
+ Non-traditional instruments also had their respective time to shine, from the hacked sushi of MIT Media Lab’s “Makey Makey,” to the "Musicletta," courtesy of the “all-in-one musical invention kit,” Ototo.
+ Finally, this past November, glitch art sang its heart out.
Sound, we hear you loud and clear: it's been a great year.
This is the second part of our end-of-the-year series. Stay tuned as we continue to look back on 2014 and collect all of our favorite examples of modern creativity, fantastic innovations, and important trends.