Music created from bacteria takes ‘grime’ to a whole new level

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Music created from bacteria takes ‘grime’ to a whole new level

I love music and I love science, so any opportunity to bring them together is exciting. And this is particularly awesome. Introducing The Interspecifics Collective, a Mexico-City based “nomadic multispecies collectivity.” No, I’m not exactly sure what that means either.

Their most recent experiment is one of the weirdest, ickiest and coolest things I’m heard all year: turning bacteria such as slime mould and E Coli into music.

The project is called Energy Bending Lab. As the website explains, it “is a modular instrument comprised of a set of custom-built synthesisers and transduction tools to create a real-time sonification of electric properties found in some bacteria. And through the use of cymatics—visible frequency vibrations—it is later converted into a pattern generator. Conceptualized as a DIY interspecies system, the interface amplifies the microvoltage produced by these microorganisms transducing their oscillatory features into raw electronic signals tuning the internal clock of the whole system and producing an unexpected array of sound patterns.

The object explores the relationship between waveforms, matter, and the physical form of frequencies, seeking a pattern-based understanding of our context to illustrate the underlying order within the universe and human consciousness that appears to be intimately related to vibration.”

…in a nutshell, they use bacteria to create electrical energy, through a device which converts that energy into sound.

The website goes on to detail exactly how it all works. I won’t slam you with details, but have a look here and here if you want to learn more.

Check out the machine:


Now, if you’ve got half an hour to spare, take a listen to this live recording. The first in a series of live recordings titled ‘Non Human Rhythms’, this is a recording of various micro-organisms and what their bio-electrical activity sounds like when translated into noise.

This is far from their first attempt at strange experiments blending science with music. Previously, the collective have looked at the ways that plants communicate, and the way that a living organism reacts to acoustics.

Here’s some more. It’s called “Slime Mould Music”


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