All machines have an acoustic signature which can be used to monitor their operating performance. With this new electronic track, GE and music producer Matthew Dear reinterpret these diagnostic tools as a musical creation
In a collaboration with creative agency The Barbarian Group and music producer Matthew Dear, General Electric has created an electronic music track generated entirely from machine sounds. Through sampling, or the re-use of sound recordings, producer Matthew dear was able to re-purpose mechanical and electronic sounds gathered from GE’s worldwide research facilities, and incorporate them into an entirely new production. Production of the track was documented in a short video created by production company m ss ng p eces.
The track, titled “Drop Science”, was made using 1,000 samples of GE sounds ranging from fiber optic vibrations to acceleration tests of GEnx engines. To collect the sounds, Dear was accompanied by GE Acoustics Engineer Andrew Gorton on a tour of the company’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, New York.
Gorton understands the important role that sounds play in identifying and correcting underlying mechanical issues in GE equipment, and the electronic track fuses these scientific elements of acoustics with creative expression. But the creative process is not entirely intuitive, as Dear explains to Fast Company:
There was a lot of just machine noise that’s almost a bit too offensive to the ears…. So it was a tightrope to walk to make sure it was equal parts experimentation, something that represented GE but also something that was clearly one of my productions. It was an interesting blend to hit all those angles without going too far off in one direction.
GE previously made an audio-visual track featuring the industrial sounds of a global shipping hub, but the song lacked a drop- one of the most important elements of the electronic genre. The melodic jolt is what DJs and electro-heads look to for getting the blood pumping and the energy of the crowd up, so one of Dear’s main goals was to incorporate such a beat into a new track.
Electronic music is a far reaching genre. House, electro, dubstep, drum and base- they’re all sub-genres with very different sounds, but they’ve all been pioneered with the use of modern technology, computerized synths, and electronic sampling. Drop Science draws upon these methods, bringing to light the musical qualities that everyday objects emit.
The track can be listened to and downloaded via Soundcloud, and a BitTorrent Bundle with the the isolated sounds has been made available for music producers to engineer their own version of “Drop Science”. DJs can also use the Djay 2 app to access a GE audio soundpack in order to create remixes of the industrial track.