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Weirdness: PlayStation Eye Employed to Turn Trees into Orchestral Epics

Posted by Sammy Barker

Barking mad

You can count the number of truly great PlayStation Eye games on one hand, but German composer Bartholomäus Traubeck has achieved something that London Studio couldn’t, by actually making something memorable with the PlayStation 3’s ill-fated peripheral. Embedded below, you’ll find an excerpt from his record Years, which features a series of arrangements captured directly from Austrian tree trunks.

Using a custom record player comprising of a turntable, stepper motor, and parts of the abovementioned camera, Traubeck’s ingenious solution captures data from the cross section of trees, which is then sent to sequencer Ableton Live in order to trigger the haunting sounds that you hear below. This particular piece has been derived from an Ash tree, but the full album includes Oak, Maple, Walnut, and Beech trees, too.

The really incredible part is that due to the varying characteristics of the wood, each variety offers a unique sound. Does this justify the existence of the PlayStation Eye? We’d have to be pretty sad saps to say no.


User Comments (7)



Cowboysfan-22 said:

I have no idea what was going on in that video.. How does getting data from wood using the Eye do that? It's unbelievable



get2sammyb said:

@Cowboysfan-22 From what I understand, the camera's reading the grain, and converting it into MIDI data, which is then outputting the music. Amazing, for sure!



bke1911 said:

Wouldn't it be more prudent to play the record from the inside out because a tree grows that way?



Cowboysfan-22 said:

@get2sammyb that's insane. I just can't grasp how it translated it to a legitimate musical piece. It sounded awesome, not just some random notes thrown together



BertoFlyingFox said:

Yup, it's just converting the grooves to MIDI data. Like how vinyl records convert the vibrations in the grooves, to sound, by way of amplifier.

The funny thing is that it's only haunting if you set the MIDI playback to a certain instrument. You should be able to change to drumset or trumpet voices, probably even chipmunks

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