1. northamericansounddiaries:

    Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System - Sound Diary

    Based around a recent trip to the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California, this diary includes the drive up to the facility and sounds recorded by the perimeter fence.

    Ivanpah generates electricity with 1000’s of computer controlled mirrors programmed to move with the sun and reflect sunlight onto three huge water towers, the heat converts the water to steam, this moves turbines generating electricity. Ivanpah opened in February 2014 and powers 140,000 homes.

    When I walked up to the mirrors I found that they made some really interesting sounds. An electronic tone signals each movement of the mirrors, this is followed by the actual mechanical movement of the mirrors which sounds like creaking floorboards.

    It would be interesting to have gone closer and recorded the steam powered turbines but the facility was closed off so I couldn’t go further than the perimeter fence.

    The sound diary can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/dan-tapper-sound-design/ivanpah-solar-electric

    * In the diary I say there are millions of mirrors, the actual figure is 170,000 mirrors. My response came from the sheer awesomeness of the site.

    More information on Ivanpah can be found here: http://ivanpahsolar.com/

  2. I’m currently in California and recently made a trip to the largest solar power generation site in the world. I set up a VLF receiver a couple of miles away from the site, looks and sounds pretty cool. I’ve started a new blog to catalogue the sound recordings I make whilst travelling around North America. Its called North American Sound Diaries and can be found here: http://northamericansounddiaries.tumblr.com/ Its a series of sound documentaries, field recordings and electroacoustic compositions taken from my travels around the North American continent cataloguing interesting sounds.

  3. Today I made a simple receiver for an electrostatic inductor. It uses only three components a jfet transistor, capacitor and resistors. The crocodile clip allows me to attach the receiver to any material which will act as an aerial, so I’m going to experiment using suspension bridges, wires stretched between trees, slinkys and much more as aerials.

  4. Magnetic Signals has been a little quiet over the last few months, this has been for a variety of reasons but rest assured that my Magnetic Signals work and research has definitely not stopped. In the interim since my last post I have been in the process of developing an electromagnetically excited self sustaining drone instrument: http://dantappersounddesign.com/magnetised-strings/ , performing as part of live electro-acoustic ensemble Behaviour and travelling round Scotland by bicycle collecting field recordings of electromagnetically produced and acoustic sounds. Currently I am in the process of preparing to move to Toronto, Canada in March.
    I’m looking forward to getting out into the Canadian wilderness and recording VLF in new environments. 2014 is going to bring lots of exciting new work and research so please stay tuned.

    Image: Recording the resonances of Pitlochry suspension bridge, Scotland. On later listening to the recordings I found that the bridge was acting as a massive VLF receiver, which was a really interesting find.


  5. PATCH 05: Absence


    Radius highlights Episode 05: C.R. Kasprzyk, Episode 37: Dan Tapper, and Episode 43: Jefferson Kielwagen in PATCH 05: Absence.

    PATCH is an ongoing, bi-monthly series of curated playlists selected from the Radius episode archive. The series is produced for the Free Music Archive, an interactive library of high-quality, legal audio downloads directed by WFMU.

    Recording The Spirit Level is currently featured as part of Radius’ Patch series curated for the Free Music Archive.

  6. A recent performance I did as part of the Behaviour ensemble at the Seeing Sound conference. The visuals are generated live by sound and visual artist Jon Piggot. In the second piece I was working in quite a detailed sonic area, recalling sounds of radio static - Impacts, 2.30 to 4.00 - there some nice moments throughout the pieces. This video is a condensed version of the full performance.  


  7. Just found out that Magnetic Signals turned a year old. Wow! the time has gone so quickly and I’ve learned so much about recording VLF and electromagnetic radio in that time. This recording is one of the first I ever took and has some pretty interesting radio interference and modulation in it, enjoy. 

  8. Changing Signals - Currently on show at GV Art Gallery London

    Changing Signals is an audio-visual piece commissioned in August 2013 by GV Art Gallery London for the exhibition Noise and Whispers. The piece explores the hidden sounds of the London Tube and train network. These unheard sounds are produced electromagnetically by trains and equipment and are recorded through custom-built inductor devices. These devices are formed of large coils of wire and convert Very Low Frequency (VLF) electromagnetic radio, a frequency band of the electromagnetic spectrum, into sound and other data. VLF has scientific applications in the fields of radio astronomy and seismography. The recordings expose a sound world that is experienced everyday but never heard by the many passengers of the London train network.

    The audio is accompanied by footage of the objects, which generate these sounds set alongside images and film of the scientific apparatus used to record and analyze electromagnetic and VLF data such as oscilloscopes, spectrograms and seismographs.

    Changing Signals is comprised of three sections each focusing on a different aspect of the sounds recorded.

    The first section looks at the sounds experienced outside the train standing on platforms: hums and drones increasing in intensity as trains approach. The footage is inter-spliced with that of an oscilloscope, a device used to visualize oscillations in electrical voltage. Like standing on a platform, this provides a surface level view to the sonic landscapes of the underground network.

    The second section takes place inside the train carriage. The sounds become more intense as the receiver is exposed to greater electromagnetic fields. A number of spectrograms – visual representations of an audio spectrum – are incorporated into the footage, looking further into the interior of the sounds.

    The final section takes place outside of the tube network on an over-ground train. Surprisingly this proves to be the noisiest section of the work. To represent this, distortions are introduced into the video. The apparatus footage in this section comes from a cardiogram, an instrument that works with similar principles to a seismograph but measures the human pulse instead of earthquake activity. This is used to represent the London transport network as the lifeblood of London.

    Accreditations and thanks:

    Oscilloscope Footage – Volker Klocke, www.oscilloscopemuseum.com

    Cardiogram Footage – Wellcome Library London

  9. I’ve been a little quiet recently as I’ve been travelling around Scotland and Wales by bike, wild camping and exploring the beautiful sonic environments. As I mentioned in my last blog post I was commissioned by GV Art Gallery London to create an audio visual piece exploring the hidden electromagnetic sound landscapes of the London Underground. The footage consisting of the objects that generate these sounds, juxtaposed alongside analysis tools used on such signals: seismographs, spectrographs and oscilloscopes. I’m excited to say that the exhibition starts on Friday 8th November, more information can be found on the GV Art website: http://www.gvart.co.uk/

    I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank:

    Volker Klocke - http://www.oscilloscopemuseum.com/ for contributing oscilloscope footage

    and Wellcome Library London for contributing the Cardiogram footage. 

  10. A VLF recording taking on the London Tube network. I am working with VLF recordings taken from the London Transport Network (and other rail networks around the UK) into an audio-visual piece contrasting footage of the objects generating these sounds with analytical tools such as oscilloscopes, spectrographs and seismographs. The piece will be displayed at GV Art Gallery, London in mid November.