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The secret ear

In the same way that kinetic energy lurks within all matter as potential energy, sound lurks within all matter as potential vibration. It is in the combination of these seemingly disconnected sounds as they are released that we find the building blocks of music. 

Many of the sounds I use when producing tracks as skincage are built from this sort of hidden sound. I started out by wiring a speaker backward (This was my first lesson in soldering. Thank you James Nickerson wherever you are!) and you can try it out yourself by plugging headphones into the input of your laptop, a tape machine, etc. Now I use contact microphones, which work by producing voltage from vibration which can be recorded as an audio signal, and guitar pickups, which convert movement of ferrous materials like guitar strings in their magnetic field into the same sort of signal.

It takes a while to figure out how to use them properly, but once you do, there is a new dimension to explore. The natural world is full of secret textures waiting to be unlocked, and the man-made world sings electromagnetic mantras beneath the perception of the naked ear.

Here is a track that combines the two, being made entirely of amplified strings played by the wind of a storm.