Remember back in the 80s when Steve Vai used to make his guitar "talk" to David Lee Roth? That video clip is here, but be warned, Roth's bare butt peeking through the holes in his leather chaps is one of the LEAST offensive things in the clip. It seems things have become more refined in the last 20-odd years. This fascinating clip shows how Austrian composer Peter Ablinger has programmed a mechanically-actuated piano to reproduce recorded human speech. And yes, you can somehow understand it.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,200 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
Ablinger's intriguing setup breaks down the sound of a recording into voice "pixels" that can be replicated using the pitches available on a piano, then plays the recording back using mechanical actuators to press the piano keys.
The text he's chosen here is the Proclamation of the European Environmental Criminal Court from the World Venice Forum 2009, as read by a young boy. And if you listen closely, you can almost hear a parallel with the type of compression artifacts you can get from certain digital audio compression algorithms. Fascinating stuff!