It is recommended to open the installation in Google Chrome

Compression is a sound installation for web browsers. Using the listener’s audio system (built-in or external microphone and loudspeakers) it creates sound through a process based on the specificities of the listener’s acoustic environment and technical set-up. In its overall structure this process takes the form of audio feedback. On the one hand, Compression is detached from any specific place; on the other hand, it takes the concrete listening environment and its conditions as its material basis and is therefore nevertheless site specific. The ideas of site and acoustic space take on different roles in the installation: they are incorporated into the signal network as a filter. They open up the sound-generating process and introduce an element beyond compositional control. Space is thus both the other of the process – its outside – and an internal part of the signal network. Moreover, it acts as a form of mirror, an other through which the process analyses its own output and reacts to itself as it resonates in the space.
While the installation makes use of filtering, delays, waveshaping, and ring modulation, one of the main characteristics of the overall sound synthesis process (which is displayed in a simplified form in the signal flow chart to the left) is the use of dynamic compression, which appears in a variety of different forms, on different time levels, and in conjunction with spectral analysis and filtering. The main guiding principle in the compression of dynamics is the idea of amplifying weak parts of the spectrum, that is, letting inexistent or evanescent elements become existent. The basic principle of creating (musical) form is the idea of letting appear that which is not, of giving it a maximal intensity of existence. This principle gives rise to the continuous creation of sonorous situations and timbral gestures and articulations.
Moreover, the use of delays with variable delay times and the entrance and withdrawal of delayed voices creates a malleable temporality in which spatial, timbral, and gestural aspects turn into one another. Compression is not so much conceived of as a composition – although it strives to create forms of musical articulation – or an object-like work but rather as a procedural yet material operation that displaces a concrete place.

System Requirements:

The installation is relatively computationally intensive and requires at least a dual core 2GHz CPU. Due to implementation differences of the underlying systems the installation will sound and perform differently on different web browsers. The installation uses new browser technologies, which have not yet been implemented by all browsers. We recommend using Google Chrome. It has been developed and tested in Google Chrome (version 44). The installation may not run on other browsers including Mozilla Firefox and Safari.

Moreover, the installation requires sound input from a microphone (built-in or external) and two loudspeakers (built-in or external) for sound output. It is desgined to be played on a variety of different systems, in different types of spaces, and at different sound levels. The equalizer below can be used to roughly adjust the sound to different systems and spaces.

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Spectral Analysis

Multi-band Compressor
Low *System Requirements