Affective Album Covers

Made by rkandala

Using the SoundCloud API I wanted to create a record player that draws an album cover based on the comments from a song.

Created: December 21st, 2015

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My goal with this project was to visualize the emotional experience of listening to song as an album cover. Listening to music used to be a very physical experience, especially with record players, and since music has gone digital the richness that comes from materials seemed to have gone with it.

To simulate that rich physical experience I built a turntable that "draws comments" for a song using SoundCloud's API, processing, and firmata. In addition to streaming a song from SoundCloud I also get the track duration and the timestamped comments posted to each track. Track duration controls the movement of the needle, where it starts outside of the turntable and moves inwards with the speed of the song. The needle skips whenever there is a comment at at a particular time in the track. When the song ends the pattern I’d hope to generate is a spiral that has spikes the reflect the emotional identity of the song.

I learned a great a deal about APIs on this project and how difficult it is to post data vs. getting data. Moreover, towards the end of the project it occured to me that one degree of motion for the needle did not create enough variablity for each track cover to be unique. If I had more time to explore this project further I would: add more degrees of freedom for the needle movement, use different drawing materials, and slow down the motion of record table.

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Using the SoundCloud API I wanted to create a record player that draws an album cover based on the comments from a song.