AboutHanging acrylic tubes containing bead-chain generate acoustic impulses that trigger and control the synthetic sounds present in this piece. Each tube has a contact microphone embedded in its cap, and when a tube is tapped or shaken the vibrations are transmitted to a computer running custom signal processing software. Several types of sound generating algorithms are employed, including granulation, wavelet synthesis, rotating variable delay, formant synthesis, spectral reverb, and additive synthesis. The contact microphones afford expressive control of these sounds by providing a wide range of amplitude values that are mapped directly to various parameters of the synthesis algorithms.
Noctiluca Scintillans, commonly known as the Sea Sparkle, is a free-floating marine-dwelling species of dinoflagellate that exhibits blue bioluminescence when disturbed. The bioluminescence occurs due to a chemical reaction that takes place in thousands of spherically shaped organelles, called scintillons, which are located throughout the cytoplasm of the organism’s single cell.
Please click here to see Noctiluca Scintillans exhibited as a gallery installation piece.
This piece was performed at the UCSD spring 2014 Computer Music Concert, and at CalArts for the 2014 WaveCave Gallery inaugural alumni concert.
Sequenza 21 posted a review of the WaveCave inaugural concert at CalArts and had this to say about Noctiluca Scintillans:
"Cooper Baker used small mallets to strike the tubes, and it was much like watching bell chimes played. Some of the tubes produced a running, liquidy sound when struck, another sounded like something from an arcade game. Still others had musical chime-like tones. Cooper Baker was able to create different moods and textures during the course of this piece by striking the tubes in various combinations – sometimes the resulting sounds were soft and lovely, other times more intense and complex. Noctiluca Scintillans is an impressive attempt to connect computer-processed sounds to a device suitable for performance."