“Timelapse” usually refers to the process of sampling small bits of video or film and piecing them together to form a sped-up version of reality. (Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. Any recording involves sampling small bits of time. Timelapse simply plays back those samples at a rate faster than reality, so that instead of playing back film frames recorded at 30 frames per second at a playback speed of 30 frames per second, you play back film recorded at one frame every ten minutes at 30 frames per second, for example.)

What if you made a timelapse of sound, and not simply image? Reader Andrew Spitz did that, building a sound-sampling app in visual development tool Max/MSP. He’s made the resulting tool available to anyone using Mac or Windows, for free, so you can try it yourself. In the demo video, what you get is a stuttering, rhythmic montage of found sound. But change the material or setting, and perhaps you can get very different results.

I love the word he’s using here: “phonography.”

phonoLapse is a free desktop app for Mac and Windows that lets you create audio time-lapses. For the 2010 Enterferenze New Art Festival I put together a little Time Lapse Phonography piece that followed me over the course of 24 hours (check the video below). I have been receiving emails from people wanting to create their own, and decided to work on a standalone version so you too can create some time-lapse phonography 🙂 .

Grab it yourself:
phonoLapse {+ software} [sound+design]

By the way, Andrew is responsible for one of my other favorite recent projects:
Voice Messages Become 3D Paper Waveform Sculptures: Paper Note