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Culture : 4D Sound new experience of physical listening

4D Sound @ Laculture
4D Sound @ Laculture

Developed by Amsterdam-located multimedia artist and sound designer Paul Oomen, the system 4D Sound offers an intriguing and very immersive experience of live electronic music for its audience. Presented in workshop and performances at Compagnietheater’s concert hall during ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event) festival a manifestation dedicated to techno culture which then seemed a perfect frame for such a device -, 4D Sound already impresses by its very physical disposal as it has to be understood first as a very structured space dedicated to sharp listening.

4D Sound

Basically, this structure is comprised of 15 cylinders with the height of a little tree, each one of them displaying special speakers nested in three clusters: below waist, at head height and over the head. The cylinders sit themselves on a grated steel platform that drives perfectly low-frequency and sub-bass sound projections.

All around, a surround range of speakers reinforces the spatialized context of the whole device. As you can read, the active principle of this system is very physical and as suggests Paul Oomen himself tends to cut the distance between the public and the performer by staging a unique place for creating and listening the music live.

4D Sound

To develop the system, Paul Oomen has gathered a technical team (creative developer Salvador Breed, chief engineer Poul Hollerman and software engineer Luc van Weelden) that have used coding possibilities of Ableton Live environment and Max For Live patches to create a dedicated software, added to a familiar front-end and intuitive custom controls (including a custom iPad Lemur controller and 3D visualization of where all of the channels are ending up while playing).

The iPad interface offers extensive options for immediate performance of the movement, distance, speed, direction and phase of sounds in space.

4DSOUND has a spatial tracking system that provide real time positional data from persons or objects within the field of the system. 

A real comfort for techno/electronic music producers that have succeeded one another behind the console during the set of ADE live shows (Max Cooper, Vladislav Delay, DJ Stimming, Raster-Noton label artists such a Frank Bretschneider, Senking, Robert Lippok, etc.) and a new step for a sound system still in progress but turning more and more into something closer to a real techno (music) research project.

Laurent Catala

Photos: 4D Sound website and facebook page