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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

What a Picture Sounds Like (MP3s)

What does this picture sound like?

Not what does it look like — it looks like what it is, which according to Tim Prebble, who shot it, is Tanah Lot in Bali, photographed during a visit in March 2007. A year later he posted field recordings of the environment, including some rowdy ones captured during New Year celebrations (at his website,

And more recently, as part of a new experimental series (titled simply Synaesthesia — i.e., the confusion of senses) at his site, Prebble asked his readers to compose works that are suggested by the image. Three audio segments have been uploaded as of this writing, associated with the Tanah Lot photograph. Martin‘s is a dirgey drone supplemented by echoed vocals and a slow, noisey rhythm (MP3). The track by üav works in bell tones and kettle-style drums and otherworldly halos of sound (MP3). And a piece by ccu is more fragile and closely mic’d than the other two, a mix of taut ringing sounds (perhaps from a kalimna) and rough surface texture (MP3). All three, especially when heard with Prebble’s photograph in mind, suggest rituals at dawn or dusk. There’s further discussion in the post’s comments section.

[audio:|titles=”Synaesthesia 002″|artists=Martin] [audio:|titles=”Synaesthesia 002″|artists=üav] [audio:|titles=”Synaesthesia 002″|artists=ccu]

Read more in detail at (There was one previous one, also at

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tag: / Comments: 2 ]


  1. Martin
    [ Posted January 7, 2010, at 6:55 am ]

    It’s an interesting experiment…. and fun to participate. To be honest I’d done a bits of my entry before, but the picture reminded me of that bit of audio. (was done on Bhajis Loops software running on a Palm T3, then added bits in Ableton Live)

    I’d love to do more of these things, even in the vein of remixing things, to create a greater feeling of co-production.

    Tim has a great eye for which pictures will inspire. Guess that’s what +20 years of film sound editing will do.

  2. Marc Weidenbaum
    [ Posted January 8, 2010, at 10:35 am ]

    Hi, Martin. Thanks for the additional information. The co-production mode, as you describe it, is very interesting to me. I’m not surprised that you had some bits done before; the project opens itself to people sending in work that is in varying stages before the image is even introduced. My hope, of course, is that the number of tracks that existed in their entirety previously is kept to a minimum.

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website 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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