24-Hours MP3

Think time’s flying by? Give a listen to a recent experiment by musician Marcus Obst, and then ask the question again. A few days ago, Obst placed a microphone by his window and taped the world going by for 24 straight hours. He then compressed the 24 hours to just under 24 minutes, and pitched down the sound so it doesn’t sound like a Chipmunks marathon or, for that matter, a tape set on fast forward. It’s nothing like the former, and far more than the latter. The resulting MP3 (“24h in 24 Minutes and Less”) has the vibrant flutter of low-key electronic music, and none of the sonic garbage one might expect from such a simple experiment in field-recording-based sound generation. In fact, it’s quite seamless and elegant. As with much conceptual art, the file benefits a bit from the listener knowing the system that produced it; once aware of Obst’s conceit, one would be hard put to not picture time-lapse images of insects and flowers. He describes how he accomplished the project on his website, fieldmuzick.net. The file is downloadable at freesound.iua.upf.edu. Oh, and don’t worry. It’s only 28MB.

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