Compose and sound designer Diego Stocco, seen often in these parts, has an endlessly-inspiring approach to inventing new timbres. That process of, as he puts it, “bringing music into the process of creating sounds” is sometimes destructive – as in, sawing an instrument in half destructive. It seems often at the edge of obliterating the object, but sliced thinly onto the side of unleashing its auditory potential. Sometimes, it’s gentle, putting an ear to the world. But his work is always exploring new frontiers of possibility.

Diego himself comes to the microphone to explain his philosophy and background in a fantastic interview launching a new video series, entitled Take, produced by the LA-based FIDM Digital Arts:

Take 5 with Sound Designer Diego Stocco [FIDM Blog; more digital artists and directors and such to come in that series]

Diego also sends CDM some of his latest work, an eerily-ethereal reconception of the sound of a filling oxygen tank, which becomes in turns percussion or vast, imagined space calliope.

Here’s the musical soundscape, a cinematic composition from layers of the single sound:

Diego Stocco “Oxygen Tank” by DiegoStocco

And the source recording on which the piece was exclusively based:
Diego Stocco “Oxygen Tank Original Noise” by DiegoStocco

Diego tells CDM:

This is sound design/cinematic piece I created out of the noise of an oxygen tank while being refilled. It makes all sort of interesting overtones because of the high pressure. This piece is more about sound designing the noise into different elements rather than playing parts with the tank.

I didn’t add any other sound to it, everything comes from sound designing these noise snippets [as embedded above.]

More Diego Stocco goodness:

or search CDM.

  • This is really, really refreshing.

    The monotony of 'what plugin do I use 4 dubstep bass' and tutorials on how to recreate whatever current gimmicky sound is popular on peoples tumblrs and every product release touting enormous preset libraries really makes me sad for the state of contemporary non-traditional music.

    I wish more people shared Diego's passion for exploration.

  • What a lovely, sincere, gifted, inspiring man Diego is.

    – c

  • James Grahame

    Woah. The hair on the back of my neck is still standing up. I suspect Diego could tease a symphony from a toothbrush.

  • Awesome as always! 

  • digid

    More of this! The boundaries between sound design and music is being blurred more and more every day, and, besides, I know *I* needed to hear that part about "which plug-in did you use" … 😉

  • Microwave Prince

    When you suck at production, then you start making new instruments and controllers and other shit. All these sounds can be achieved with synths and samplers. Why to waste time and make this shit?

  • More of this please.

  • Le

    @microwave preset: did you even see the video?  And: why do you think sound designers of big movies are doing it? Bad producers? Why can you do it with products on the market? Because stb has already done the recording/patching/thinking job!

  • Paul

    I've got a lot of respect for Diego! Very original and talented. And not pretentious with it.
    I look forward to seeing & hearing more in future.. 🙂

    What a shame more 'musicians' are not as imaginative these days! If they were, perhaps music on TV & Radio would be a lot more interesting than it is…

  • greatplanes

    @Microwave Preset: I'm wondering if you even understand the concept of how those samples get into your sampler.

    Cheers to Diego and everything he's doing. More stuff like this on CDM please.

  • Peter Kirn

    Let's just for a moment take Microwave Preset's idea for discussion —

    Well, theoretically you can create any sound from the sum of sine waves.

    I think to make the above sounds, you'll definitely need a *lot* of sine waves and some time on your hands. 😉

    It is actually impressive what you can do with physical modeling techniques.

    One of the things Max Mathews said very early on was that any sound is theoretically possible in the digital domain. I don't think this makes it any less compelling to go pick up a saw or record a tree, of course, but I will say *in theory*, the comment above is right.

    That seemingly-limitless potential of sound both in real world recording *and* in the digital domain is pretty damned awesome, so even if the comment was negative, I'll embrace the notion both of that and of what Diego says about field recording new sounds, too. They're both fantastic gifts.

  • Groc

    It should also be noted that it is about the process of making music and what process you enjoy. It can't always be about the outcome. I admire the fact that he said he is no good at numbers etc but didn't let that stop him from creating great sounds. Not everyone cares to learn about sine waves and numbers etc. He seems hyper active and probably can't sit there studying production but yet achieves great sounds. Why knock alternative ways. Credit where credit is due! Personally, I like it 🙂

  • "Do you have an idea in the first place?"
    Should be a t-shirt/bumper sticker/tattoo etc.. !!!!!!!!!!!Gold!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Microwave Prince

    If you want this kind of sounds then Symbolic Sound Kyma is the answer. I

  • Aaron

    Diego's stuff is awesome. Really appreciate hearing his comments on his approach. Seems like a nice guy.

  • Paul

    "If you want this kind of sounds then Symbolic Sound Kyma is the answer. I"

    You are missing the point entirely.
    It's not the answer to a question that was never asked. It's merely another option. An expensive option at that.
    And i'd argue Diego's work is more original and creative too.

    And as powerful and useful as computers are, it makes a nice change to see some more 'hands on' creativity going on.

  • Peter Kirn

    Also, don't let Diego anywhere near your Kyma. He might saw it in half. 😉

  • digid

    Kyma can be great for many things, but one of the (for me) huge drawbacks of sinusoidal (re)synthesis and its relatives is the uniformity of the sound. You can always, always hear the sine waves at work, with that characteristically smearing side effect. That alone makes sound design from scratch worth it, because it simply sounds more distinct and lacks the uniformity of (much) resynthesis.

    I don't know how many sine waves you need for a complex sound to be reproduced without the artifacts, but something tells me it's millions. And Kyma isn't there yet, and won't be for another 100 years or so.

  • dumafuji

    always inspiring. i fall directly into fanboy mode with his stuff.

    i think this oxygen tank project is exceptional. it's a pretty great example of why i think diego's stuff is so great – just like he said in the video, it's about the ideas! that's a cool, self contained little piece. nice movement, wild sounds they way they are arranged.

    not to agree with microweave rinse, but i kinda do agree on that point: why do this stuff? i know i don't really want to saw instruments in half and drill and soldier all sorts of stuff. i do want to spend more time lost in music, lost in sound, find incredible, unheard sounds in whatever tools i might have and bring them to life. make something compelling out of them.

  • Jim

    @microwave prince: He bothers because he enjoys it. Is that not reason enough?

  • Daniel

    How does he do it? You take the original sound, slow it down and then what?