Sunday, April 1, 2012

Surprise!: ΔMi−1 = −∂Σn=1NDi[n][Σj∈C{i}Fji[n − 1] + Fexti[[n−1]]


Aphex Twin’s music is consistently surprising, and whether or not that’s an oxymoron is irrelevant. This song contains many unusual sounds, but even more surprising than how it sounds is how it looks. By applying a spectrograph to “ΔMi−1 = −∂Σn=1NDi[n][Σj∈C{i}Fji[n − 1] + Fexti[[n−1]]”, the viewer/listener can observe a modified image of its creator, Richard D. James (aka Aphex Twin).

This song, commonly known as “[Equation]” or “[Formula]” was only released as a B-side with the Windowlicker single, and is currently unavailable to purchase for online download. Watch the video above to catch some images imbedded in the frequencies, most notably the face portrayed above at at the end of the song, beginning at 5:28.

James has embedded images in other songs, and is not the only musician to construct sections of songs in this manner. (For example, Canadian electronic artist Venetian Snares designed a song for the 2001 album Songs about My Cats called “Look”, which consists entirely of reverse-spectrographed images of--you guessed it--cats.)

Spectrograms are easy to create with today’s sound technology and software, and turning an image into sounds is much simpler than one might expect. Go get a program and see what you sound like.

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