Sunday, April 27, 2014

Combining Audio and Images

There are methods of converting an image to audio and representing audio as an image. With these techniques, I wanted to marry an audio track with its artwork, so that the two take on a sonic and visual unity, both aesthetically and literally.

The original track with artwork:

This is an audio track I made by sampling Daria by Cake and appropriating an alphabet flashcard from the 1970's. First, the audio is represented as an image, the frequencies being plotted out over time (as a square, so it fits the album art format.)

Compare the waveform to the multi-track playlist in my digital audio workspace. Notice the louder parts in each and the climax at the end.

Now, I take the album artwork and convert it to sound. This is what it sounds like:

Here's a better view of the image represented as sound waves. The lowest portions of the image start at 1000 Hz, ending with the highest parts of the image at 8000 Hz.

Finally, I take the two files and combine them with the respective original file. Now, we get an album cover that looks like this:

And sounds like this.

This exact process isn't purely mechanical. Because I made specific aesthetic choices pertaining to the combination of each media, the process still relies heavily on the human element. 

If I were to combine them truly equally, it would result in increasingly less palatable noise and unrecognizable artwork. I believe that if I were to strictly adhere to this 50/50 principle, the artwork would lose aesthetic value and gain conceptual value. 

The dichotomy that emerges here represents right brain/ left brain interaction. The right brain, creative and adventurous, will create something aesthetically pleasing. However, the logical left brain will favor something conceptually consistent and rigid. For this project, I will create both right and left brained versions of this track utilizing the process demonstrated above. The final results will be presented alongside each other for comparison.

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