WTF?! Wednesdays: Bartholomäus Traubeck, “Years” (2012)

OK, so the sounds delivered by the project you see below don’t exactly reach the heights (or lows, depending on your listening proclivities) of a WTF! But in the case of artist Bartholomaus Traubeck, it was his idea that turned my head.

“Years” is a project that generates music indirectly from a cross section of a tree. The turntable’s tone arm is mounted with a Eye Camera from a Playstation, the output of which is fed into a computer running the software package Abelton Live. The results of this process are not what you’d expect. Actually, I’m not sure what anybody would expect, though if your head was thinking about an actual needle being dragged across the wood, that awful grinding noise is not what comes out.

I really like this collision of visual art and music: the passage of time as encoded in the rings of a tree, but then decoded into the aural realm. Obviously, all sorts of different results might be obtained depending on the settings in Abelton. What’s heard in the video has some almost ambient parts (bringing bits of Eno to mind) and some real tension-inducing passages. Cool stuff from an interesting mind.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he writes several weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.