Category: Music

WoodSwimmer: A New Stop-Motion Short Made Entirely by Tediously Cutting Through Wood 

WoodSwimmer is a new short film by engineer and stop-motion animator Brett Foxwell, who has built armatures for films such as Boxtrolls and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Created in collaboration with musician and animator bedtimes, the work follows a piece of raw wood through a milling machine, capturing its unique growth rings, knots, and weathered spots through a series of cross-sectional photographic scans. Due the speed at which the images are animated, the log’s grains begin to flow like granules of sand—shifting, mixing, and flowing in a vibrant dance that seems completely removed from its rigid material.

“Fascinated with the shapes and textures found in both newly-cut and long-dead pieces of wood, I envisioned a world composed entirely of these forms,” Foxwell told Colossal. “As I began to engage with the material, I conceived a method using a milling machine and an animation camera setup to scan through a wood sample photographically and capture its entire structure. Although a difficult and tedious technique to refine, it yielded gorgeous imagery at once abstract and very real. Between the twisting growth rings, swirling rays, knot holes, termites and rot, I found there is a lot going on inside of wood.”

Heads up: watching this full-screen in HD with sound makes all the difference. You can see more of Foxwell’s works, like his 19-minute film Fabricated, on his Vimeo.

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Rock Band: An Electromechanical Sound Machine That Makes Music With Rocks 

A rolling stone gathers no moss as they say, but this collection of stones manipulated by electromechanical devices are capable of performing George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” thanks to artist Neil Mendoza. Titled Rock Band, this kinetic sound art installation is actually four different instruments including a xylophone, a buzzing base, two spinners, and a pair of slappers. Mendoza describes how each device works:

Xylophone: Inside each of the tubes is a small pebble. When the Teensy receives a note for this instrument, it triggers a solenoid (electromagnet), to launch the pebble up a tube and strike a key. For the design of this piece, I wrote a piece of software that calculated the size each key needed to be to produce the appropriate frequency and then cut them out using a water jet cutter.

Bass: This is the small marble circle in the front. When the Teensy receives a note for this one, it causes the plunger of a solenoid (electromagnet) to vibrate at the frequency of the appropriate musical note against the rock.

Spinners: These are the two large objects on either side and are percussive. Inside each of these, there are two magnets attached to each end of a shaft. On the outside, there are two magnetic rocks, Hematite, that are attracted to the magnets on the inside. When a note is received, the shaft spins and one of the rocks is guided away from its magnet and launched through the air. It lands on a piece of marble that has been cut to size to fit in the machine.

Slapper: These slap the rocks with pieces of fake leather and provide some light percussion.

All of the machines were built at Autodesk’s Pier 9 workshop in San Francisco as part of their artist in residence program. You can see more of Mendoza’s mechanical works on his website.

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The Grandeur of German Pipe Organs Photographed by Robert Götzfried 

Long fascinated by the design of pipe organs, photographer Robert Götzfried was recently permitted into 20 Catholic churches in southern Germany where he was able to create portraits of these mammoth instruments. When viewed singularly the pipe organ is impressive enough, but collectively the photos tell the story of an ancient instrument that varies so strikingly in design and layout that it’s hard to believe these are somehow the same musical device.

In his photographic practice Götzfried often approaches a variety of similar objects or locales both grand and obscure from Cambodian barber shops to bowling alleys or abandoned gas stations. Through each collection he quickly highlights the similarities or differences that bind a culture or lifestyle together. You can explore more of his photography on Facebook. (via Fubiz)

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Miniature Retro Papercraft Synthesizers by Dan McPharlin 

Produced between 2006 and 2009, Australian designer and illustrator Dan McPharlin's Analogue Miniatures are a marvel of papercraft. The tiny analogue synthesizers and pieces of recording equipment were pieced together with paper, framing mat board, string, rubber bands and cardboard, and appeared in everything from art shows to editorial spreads in magazines like Esquire. McPharlin is widely known for his retro sci-fi illustration work that appears on album covers and in limited edition prints, and he brings this aspect of fiction to these paper models as well. None of the objects are meant as exact replicas or recreations of real-life devices, but are instead speculative objects that draw aesthetic attributes from the audio technology of the 70s and 80s.

You can see many more pieces from Analogue Miniatures on Flickr. (via Strictly Paper)

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A Working Balloon-Powered Paper Pipe Organ Designed by Aliaksei Zholner 


Paper engineer Aliaksei Zholner has wowed us before with his miniature V8 engine, and now brings his crafty talents to the musical realm with this working paper organ. The tiny organ has 18 functional keys that create tones with the aid of corresponding reeds, and of course a pipe organ can’t function without a steady air flow, a problem Zholner solves with a large balloon. (via Sploid)

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A Mesmerizing Sequence of Biological Simulations by Maxime Causeret for Max Cooper’s ‘Order from Chaos’ 

Starting with a recording of raindrops hitting the skylight in his old apartment, this track titled Order from Chaos from London-based artist Max Cooper‘s newest album Emergence is the culmination of three years work merging his interests in science, music and visual arts. French visual effects artist Maxime Causeret was asked to provide the visuals and the result is a mesmerizing blend of biological simulations and music video. Cellular forms appear to collide, merge, and even compete for resources while brain-like structures explode and crash across the screen. Cooper explains a bit of the science behind the art:

Maxime Causeret selected this track to work with, under the brief to map the emergent rhythm to an exploration of emergence in living form. His video shows the raindrops initially, then going into simple cellular forms and then showing the important idea of cooperation between simple cells to form more robust colonies of life. This develops into a visualisation of the idea of endosymbiosis, where simpler smaller organisms can live inside larger cells, each providing a benefit to the other, and eventually forming parts of the same organism as they evolve to be entirely dependent on each other.

Fullscreen, headphones, you know the drill. This is definitely worth getting lost in for a moment. You can listen to Cooper’s full album here.

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