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Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Larry Johnson Gets Vozme MP3 Religion

A week ago, I posted an MP3 I’d created in a matter of seconds at vozme.com, a free service that takes any text and transforms it into an audio file (disquiet.com). Shortly thereafter I received an email from Larry Johnson, who’d taken a small chunk of the Bible, fed it into vozme.com, funked it up in the freeware Audacity, and added a high-pitched background noise he’d nicked from freesound.iua.upf.edu. By a few days after that, Johnson had fine-tuned his first piece, added two more similarly constructed audio tracks, and released them at archive.org as the mini-EP Vozme Reads Religious Works.

“Genesis 3:19” (MP3) starts with a familiar phrase, before the sub–Hal 9000 voice multiplies to become a robot choir, and then an ear-ringing noise (that’s the freesound.iua.upf.edu sample) pushes it over the edge. “Isaiah 57:20-21” (MP3) gets into the rhythm of the spoken word, looping the sound so that the phrases become a kind of motor. And “Job 10:15” (MP3) pushes the syllabic overlays to the limit, until they take on the attributes of a cushion of air. In each, especially the Isaiah and the Job, what’s remarkable is that the voices never sound like static samples that have been cut up after the fact; they sound like they’re transforming in real time.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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