Years is a sound installation for modified record player that examines the disparity between the experience of time passing and time as an objective quantity. The piece uses a turntable to “play” a vinyl-Lp-sized cross section of a tree. A camera fitted with a microscopic lens replaces the needle on the record player’s tone arm. During the installation, the lens scans the texture of the spinning wooden disc, analyzing the tree’s year rings for thickness, strength, and rate of growth, while the tone arm moves slowly inward to the centre of the crosscut. The resulting data is then mapped onto a set of pitches that subsequently trigger piano-note samples.
The foundation for the music can be found in the defined rule set of the computer-music program and the hardware setup, but the data acquired from every wooden disc interprets this rule set very differently. A fast-growing tree such as a spruce, with lots of space in between the rings, will cause more minimal and calm sounds than will a slow-growing tree such as an ash, whose tightly-spaced rings lead to a loud and eclectic composition with a rather complex and tightly woven texture.
The work is the latest example of my use of rule sets to create the source data for my art. Years has been exhibited throughout Europe.

Audio: Beach Tree (Excerpt: Years 46-0, 2011). Composed by Bartholomäus Traubeck. Image: Modified record player used in Traubeck's installation. Image by: Bartholomäus Traubeck.