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data radio

Data Radio Is an application that generates ambient music from any given numeric data. The idea originated from the chaos that exists within the extreme order in the world of accumulated data. The project sticks to the ideas of Brian Eno on ambient music and tries to add a new dimension to the whole experience of listening to music. It tries to stir a discussion on how can music be created and how can it be listened in the world of computers; as well as operating as a data auralization. As Brian Eno stated, “Ambient Music must be able to accomodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.”

Information has always been a mighty power, however with the help of todays computers and their fast processing capabilities; information and its possessor(s) became even mightier. Massive databases overflowing with information create the dilemma of order and chaos existing together.
This highly digitalized and mechanized process is hardly human. Lacking emotion in every way and reducing the individual to a number or a dot on the screen. Imagine if something as chaotic and apathetic as the constant flow of data become something soothing, emotional and human.
It appeared that ambient music was a highly appropriate way to implement the feeling of sanity, convenience and peace through the input of a numeric data. Ambient music is all about creating a mood. Brian Eno, one of the forerunners of the genre and a significant figure of the music industry, stated in his essay entitled Ambient Music; “We wanted to use music in a different way–as part of the ambience of our lives – and we wanted it to be continuous, a surrounding. […] Because of the development of recording technology, a whole host of compositional possibilities that were quite new to the music came into existence. Most of these had to do with two closely related new areas- the development of the texture of sound itself as a focus for compositional attention, and the ability to create with electronics virtual acoustic spaces (acoustic spaces that don’t exist in nature).” In a set of numeric data, the values don’t change radically, there are not abrupt decreases or increases. That was a problem which we had to overcome in order to map the information- that is the data set- to the sounds, created by the application. After all, the listener should have an idea of the general behaviour of the data they’re listening to. Deciding on the sounds was a period of experimentation. It was important to keep the musical composition as simple as possible at the same time giving the necessary information about the data with small changes in the characteristics of the sounds. Brian Eno explains this in his essay; “[…] there was an assumption that playing with sound itself was a “merely” technical job- something engineers and producers did- as opposed to the serious creative work of writing songs and playing instruments. With Ambient Music, I wanted to suggest that this activity was actually one of the distinguishing characteristics of new music, and could in fact become the main focus of the compositional attention.”