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Music from earthquakes

Submitted by on March 5, 2010 – 12:13 am 2 Comments

Micah Frank is a New York City based composer, sound designer and live performer. He studied Jazz and Contemporary Music, and in the years following college, Micah got into electronic composition and sound design.

Micah’s latest project, called “Tectonic”, is especially relevant considering the recent events in Chile.

Tectonic creates music and maps in real time by earthquakes as they occur across the globe. A system using Max/MSP, Google Earth and Ableton Live processes a stream of real-time data that is translated into and audio ‘sculpture’.

When an earthquake occurs, seismic data is relayed to the system, sound is produced and Google Earth immediately flies to the coordinates of the latest earthquake giving us a visual representation of the newest developments. As multiple earthquakes occur daily, the sculpture builds, enmeshing itself in a complex soundscape of textures and tones that constantly changes and evolves.

I’ve already begun making new implementations and alterations. It’s quite amazing how flexible the system actually is – and a very powerful content generator. The other day I created an entire live performance powered by the barrage of seismic activity in Chile. It really is endless…

It’s a really interesting concept, and is definitely fascinating to watch. Here’s a clip of it in action, along with a detailed description of how it all works:


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