27th February 2012
Master sound artist: Music from a Dry Cleaner
By Nigel Brown
Tags » historysociety

Stocco even used the press machine to create music.

Sound artist Diego Stocco has spent his life exploring sounds from everyday life. The Italian has a unique insatiable appetite for sound, or what he calls an “unorthodox musical curiosity,” with his continued aim in life to discover hidden sounds from different organic sources, everyday objects and materials.

While he has composed musical scores for film trailers such as the Terminator franchise and video games like Call of Duty, Stocco’s real passion lies in his in-depth exploration of alternative sound.

For Stocco the lid makes a nice mechanical sound.

Stocco took the first step in proving you can create music from living organisms with his projects “Music from a Bonsai Tree” and “Music from Sand.” But his most recent investigation “Music from a Dry Cleaner,” has challenged the world of technology with a unique investigation into collecting sounds from mundane machines that feature in our daily lives – in this case a puff iron, press, dry cleaning machine, washer, clothes hangers, and a bucket full of soap. And I think you will agree, the results really do sound remarkable.

It started at the age of 6

Stocco, born in Rovigo, Italy in 1976, discovered music at an early age. When he was just six his parents, in an effort to calm him down, gave him his first electronic keyboard. Suffice to say it backfired, and Stocco is now a master sound artist, able to design, compose and create eclectic musical experiences with custom built instruments and experimental recording techniques. The idea for the Dry Cleaners came from the monotonous nature of his daily grind.

Recording the buzzing tones from the conduits.

“Almost everyday, on my way to a local bakery, I walk in front of a dry cleaners. When they have the front door open, I hear a lot of interesting sounds coming from their work equipment,” Stocco explains. “Eventually, the different mechanical and steam sounds sparked something in my mind, so one day I asked the owners if I could record a piece of music by using their machines as musical instruments.

Tuning hangers by cutting them in different spots.

“I used a puff iron, press and dry cleaning machines, a washer, clothes hangers, and a bucket full of soap. The bass and lead sounds were created from the buzzing tones coming from the conduits and engines. There are no additional sounds from any traditional or electronic instruments.”

Creating music from everyday objects

Not only has Stocco looked to different objects and materials for unique sounds, but he has also created his own instruments. In an interview with Super Forest Stocco gave an insight into where his appetite for exploring unique sounds originated.

A customized stethoscope used to record the sound of a plastic bucket filled with soap and water.

“It’s basically curiosity,” Stocco reveals. “Creating sounds with unusual techniques is a process that can produce not just interesting sounds, but also a lot of insights about how certain things works. It started with simple customizations of traditional instruments.

The inside of the washer creates a nice round sound.

“For example, using thick piano strings on an electric guitar instead of regular strings. Then the process evolved into more articulated experiments like ‘Carbon Cello’ where I was recording the sound of a cello transmitted to a cooking pot, or the ‘Typosonic Machine’ which took me quite some time to build. I’m always experimenting with sounds, there is so much out there that can be recorded and manipulated into something musical.

All the recording equipment you need.

“To me music is a amazing form of expression based on sounds, and since sounds keep evolving and transforming into new forms, so does music.”

Stocco’s work goes to prove that the mundane noises from our daily rituals can be exciting….even the local dry cleaners.

Watch Stocco in action compiling sounds using nothing but the gadgetry from an everyday dry cleaners.

For more information go to www.diegostocco.com

Images: www.diegostocco.com

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