DELQA, an interactive sound experience for full immersion in the music of Matthew Dear
It is well known that musicians are no strangers to the lure of technology: the discovery of new boundaries and new dimensions of sound thanks to technological progress is a dream for many.
And now, through the development of increasingly user-friendly software, apps and tools, music is within everyone’s means, just as the tools used to create and share music are more accessible than ever.
But what the DELQA project did with Microsoft Kinect technology went one step further.
Acclaimed musician and producer Matthew Dear worked in close contact with a team from NEW INC to create an interactive sound environment.
The musician created a track especially for this project, which was designed exactly for the space and use. The composition itself is never the same as the public modify it time and time again by playing with the interface, which consists of a wall of a particular mesh membrane.
A total of over 40 speakers were installed in the space and connected in to a spatial/acoustic system that creates a three-dimensional field of sound.
The 44 channel audio system layout
Microsoft Kinect technology tracks the movement of visitors to the sound space via their interaction with the mesh walls. The degree of opacity and transparency of the mesh combined with cameras and the Microsoft Kinect system enables the real involvement of the spectators in the creation of the soundscape. Depending where and how the membrane wall is touched, the spectator can affect the quality and type of the sound produced.
Photo Drew Reynolds
It is a brand new experience that differs from the playing of an instrument. It is a genuine sound construction process.
On the basis of their interaction, spectators can modify part of the sound playing or in other cases they can introduce new musical parts. It is a perennial work in progress, an all-round experience that will never be repeated twice because it is created by the visitors as they come into contact with the membrane.
In short, it is an exciting project that has involved innovative minds and a brilliant musician and has made us all secretly wish we could have a similar sound space in our own homes. And given our constant technological progress and the democratisation of music, who can say that DELQA won’t soon be within our reach?