Wave Machine

Real-time sea wave data, streamed from an observation buoy floating in the English Channel, is transformed into an evolving electronic soundscape.

Using the Pure Data (Pd) programming platform, measurements including wave height, periodicity, direction and sea temperature are used to control different parameters of electronically generated sounds – volume, pitch, duration, timbre, and position within the stereo field. The buoy records data every 30 minutes and is received by Pd through a live internet connection.

Wave Machine was created for Profound Sound Festival 2020, using data from a buoy at Folkestone, and exhibited in a shipping container on Folkestone Harbour Arm, with over 200 visitors to the installation across the weekend.

Data supplied by the Channel Coastal Observatory.
Photos of the Folkestone buoy by Fugro GB Marine Ltd. and Channel Coastal Observatory. Used with permission.

Update: You can now listen to the occasional LIVE transmission of Wave Machine here.