Most of the music we hear nowadays seems to come from MP3 files or some equivalent alternative, and to a lot of our ears it sounds just as good as any other version of the song. But “moDernisT” is a new song from Ryan Maguire, a Ph.D. student in Composition and Computer Technologies at the University of Virginia Center for Computer Music. It proves there’s a lot of sounds that go missing when a song is compressed from a high-fidelity format to MP3 – because it’s made exclusively from those very sounds.
More specifically, “moDernisT” is stitched together from the sounds that disappeared when Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” was compressed to an MP3 file. That song choice is significant because “Tom’s Diner” was one of the primary songs used to test the MP3 compression process over twenty years ago.
That’s right, we’re still listening to music compressed in a process that’s over twenty years old. What are we losing? To get an idea, listen to “moDernisT” (and watch the visual accompaniment) below. And think about this the next time you’re listening to music on your computer. Depressing, right?
Here’s the video:
For more from Ryan Maguire, take a look at his Vimeo account here.