Sonic Swells - Riding Swells

Cayn Borthwick

Music Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

  • Year: 2023
  • Article Number: 1168
  • PDF link

Abstract:

Sonic Swells is a multimedia music composition for fixed audio, filmed footage of a surfer and live saxophone. This iterative sound art project explores the use of sonification of ocean weather data, sonification of movement data from a surfer riding waves, and live performance as tools for music composition. Weather data is collected through a free API and converted to sound in Max/MSP, driving the parameters of a very large additive and subtractive synthesizer that uses pink noise as its fundamental sound source. The sonification includes swell direction and wind speed that dictate the positions of audio in the stereo or surround speaker field, and wave height and swell period driving an undulating filter effect. The severity of the conditions dictates the complexity of the soundscape. Sampled audio is blended into the sonification. The surfer's movement data is collected with a DIY kit including an iPhone for telemetry, an android or esp32 watch for data logging, and a small Wi-Fi router with battery and a GoPro. This information influences elements of the ocean weather sonification and affects the saxophone live performance. The performer plays a combination of scored and improvised material. The piece explores the relationship between sonification, motion and music.

Citation:

Cayn Borthwick. 2023. Sonic Swells - Riding Swells. Music Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. DOI:

BibTeX Entry:

  @article{nime23-music-1168,
 abstract = {Sonic Swells is a multimedia music composition for fixed audio, filmed footage of a surfer and live saxophone. This iterative sound art project explores the use of sonification of ocean weather data, sonification of movement data from a surfer riding waves, and live performance as tools for music composition. Weather data is collected through a free API and converted to sound in Max/MSP, driving the parameters of a very large additive and subtractive synthesizer that uses pink noise as its fundamental sound source. The sonification includes swell direction and wind speed that dictate the positions of audio in the stereo or surround speaker field, and wave height and swell period driving an undulating filter effect. The severity of the conditions dictates the complexity of the soundscape. Sampled audio is blended into the sonification. The surfer's movement data is collected with a DIY kit including an iPhone for telemetry, an android or esp32 watch for data logging, and a small Wi-Fi router with battery and a GoPro. This information influences elements of the ocean weather sonification and affects the saxophone live performance. The performer plays a combination of scored and improvised material. The piece explores the relationship between sonification, motion and music.},
 articleno = {1168},
 author = {Cayn Borthwick},
 booktitle = {Music Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression},
 editor = {Rob Hamilton},
 month = {May},
 note = {Live Concert 5, Friday June 2, Centro de Cultura Digital},
 title = {Sonic Swells - Riding Swells},
 url = {https://www.nime.org/proceedings/2023/nime23_concert_5.pdf},
 year = {2023}
}