The sound of INDY: making music with an HPC cluster

12 February 2017

A major musical work has been created using code run on EPCC's INDY cluster.

Florian Hecker, a Chancellor's Fellow at Edinburgh College of Art, collaborated with EPCC's Kostas Kavoussanakis and James Perry in porting and executing the sound synthesis computation featured in his work FAVN. EPCC contributed cycles on its Indy system, which was used to execute a complex Scattering Transform algorithm originally designed by Vincent Lostanlen. You can read more about the work below.

FAVN

Florian Hecker’s FAVN is a major commission from Alte Oper Frankfurt and MMK Museum for Modern Art Frankfurt. FAVN was premiered at Alte Oper Frankfurt in October 2016 and will be part of the project Geometry of Now, at GES2, Moscow, between 20-28 February.

Originally conceived as a response to Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem L’après-midi d’un faune and Claude Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Hecker has been collaborating with the philosopher Robin Mackay, who contributed the libretto for FAVN.

Mackay states that Hecker’s work "... brings the listener to the verge of auditory hallucination: unidentifiable sounds appear and disappear, coalesce and disintegrate, instilling doubt as to what has been heard. Sound is a medium that is conducive to such hallucination: the mind strives to fix and identify the source of what is heard, while sound itself is constantly elusive… Rather than satisfy this natural urge to make sense, Hecker’s synthetic electronic soundworks engender doubt and uncertainty, producing fascinating, unsettling, and sometimes disorienting effects. Here, listeners have to assume an active role in assembling the work, without any narrative or image to rely on, and is ultimately drawn into an encounter with the ‘event’ of hearing itself."

Goodbye INDY, hello Cirrus

EPCC's INDY cluster was aimed at industrial users from the scientific and engineering communities. The service has been superseded by Cirrus, a mid-sized, state-of-the-art HPC system that runs industry-standard Linux and provides an ideal platform for users to solve their computational simulation and modelling challenges.

Find out more about our on-demand computing services for industry: www.epcc.ed.ac.uk/facilities/demand-computing

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Tracy Peet
+44 (0) 131 650 5362
t.peet@epcc.ed.ac.uk

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