When it comes to music, technology and nature, we’d never have dreamed of putting all three together, making some particularly unusual but innovative modifications, and coming up with a record player capable of ‘playing’ slices of tree trunk, and effectively telling the story of a tree.
Bartholomaus Traubeck has done just that, replacing the needle on a record player with strobes of light, and utilising some particularly well written and well calibrated software and hardware to turn the rings on a tree trunk into music.
Traubeck’s creation is called Years, and the light from the record player is capable of measuring rings, with the help of technology including a computer, camera, and acrylic glass, assigning sounds to different thicknesses of the tree trunk rings.
The different types of rings elicit completely different sounds – some harsh, some soft, and it’s genuinely difficult to believe that what you’re listening to originates from a tree trunk – at least until you check out the video.
With a slice from a different tree trunk – which inevitably features completely unique and different ring patterns, along with defects in the wood – the sound is once again completely new and unlike the previous.
According to Traubeck: “A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. It is mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture).”
Overall, the sound is not exactly relaxing, and we can’t imagine settling down to listen to the latest tree album, but it’s definitely worth a listen. It’s just a shame that a tree had to be hacked down to provide the music.