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Martin Neukom’s Golden Ratio MP3 Set

Perhaps as many artists have pursued truth in the golden ratio as entrepreneurs and adventurers have sought gold. Martin Neukom‘s new 13-track collection on the domizil.ch netlabel, Studie 18, is among the most recent such investigations.

The pieces are intended to be listened to in surround sound, and playback information is provided for those fortunate enough to have a 5.1 surround sound system available. However, the works’ algorithmic rigor and beauty is not lost on standard headphones.

Each piece plays out as the result of one of Neukom’s investigations of patterns. Many have the pointillist detail of data in motion, like the water-drop effect of “Studie 18.11” (MP3) and the Lilliputian xylophone of “Studie 18.3” (MP3). The held tones that distinguish “Studie 18.7,” for example, are multiplied and varied, but occasionally overlap so as to become indistinct from each other (MP3). And the romper-room glissando of “Studie 18.10” is attributed to the Doppler effect (MP3).

The collection comes with a detailed, and elegantly designed (by Medusa Cramer), PDF that documents the math behind each of the tracks. The image up top, for example, provides a visual explanation for “Studie. 18.11.” Writes Neukom, “The perception of one sequence is influenced by another sequence.”

More on Neukom at the website for the Zurich-based Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology, where he heads the computer music department (icst.net).

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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