Swarm of Echoes

Swarm of Echoes (2011), for 3D Computer-realized Sound

"... intermittently escorted by the diligent swarm of echoes, many dimensions of the same echo."
Adolfo Bioy Casares, The Invention of Morel

Swarm of Echoes was influenced by the short novel The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares in which a fugitive escapes to a mysterious deserted island only to find a group of tourists appear seemingly out of nowhere. Full of imaginationand the fantastic, the novel questions boundaries between fantasy and reality". Swarm of Echoes attempts to create real environments consisting of rain and waves that evolve and are juxtaposed with synthetic environments of strange bird-like sounds and impossible crashing waves, taking influence from the imagery and metaphysical ideas of the real and the immaterial. The listener is taken on a journey into worlds that are believable, yet strange and mysterious.

In March 2010, I was fortunate enough to bring a 3D microphone and recorder from the University of Washington to my home island of Oahu in Hawaii to record the sounds of the ocean, which became the basis for the piece. For my masterthesis, I was interested in the ability to use wavelet analysis data to synthesize the 4-channel B-format recordings taken in Hawaii. Wavelets are small, finite waveforms that are used in mathematical analysis of time-based signals, and result in time-accurate frequency information. Swarm of Echoes then became an experiment in this resynthesis. The piece is comprised entirely of filtered white noise convolved with wavelet coefficients (the result of the analysis of the sound recordings). The idea is to synthesize 3D sound fields that sound similar to the original, but have interesting new qualities. This project was completed in part with the support of the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) at the University of Washington.

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