Ever wonder what the universe actually sounds like? And no, we’re not talking about Gustav Holst’s impressive orchestral suite, The Planets. Instead, one mathematician decided to create an entire album using black hole wavelengths. And now, he’s made the music available to everyone!
Valery Vermeulen’s Black Hole Project
What Belgian mathematician Valery Vermeulen, seen above, does not seem impossible: he used wavelengths from the black hole to create music. How did he do it? Vermeulen used data translated from simulations of black hole mergers, gravitational waves, neutron stars, elementary particle behavior near black holes, and white dwarfs. Stephen Hawking’s friend and former co-worker, cosmologist Dr. Thomas Hertog helped musicians with his project, as he helped collect the gravitational wave data. The Voyager Satellite, situated about 14 billion miles from Earth, also deserves a shout out, as it physically collected much of the data,
After Vermeulen started working on his project, he received a record deal with Ash International for the new tracks! “Driven by a raw curiosity, a fascination with the very nature of reality and a determination to test boundaries within music, Vermeulen’s work evolves tirelessly in its exploration of innovative generative sound synthesis and sound design,” reads the news release about the album. “His experiments range from using AI in his Emo-Synth project – exploring the connections between music and emotions, to journeying into space using gravitational wave data from black holes.”
This music is truly a phenomenon, as our bodies are not capable of receiving the sounds from black holes. Measuring them and translating them to keyboards is the only way we can hear the sounds of the universe. Of course, the new album is just one part of a recent, renewed fascination of black holes…
Most Unusual Album
It should be stated: the tracks by Vermeulen are not made for singing in the shower. In fact, some people might not even call it “music.” Instead, it gives us a clear representation of the universe and its unveiled possibilities. As such, his suite has been shown all over the world! “Vermeulen’s installations and performances have been widely shown at various festivals and venues including Hause der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin, DE), CTM Festival (Berlin, DE), Slingshot Festival (Atlanta, US), KIKK Festival (Namur, BE), Bozar (Brussels, BE), Concertgebouw Brugge (BE) and Muziekgebouw aan ‘t Ij as support act for Alva Noto (Amsterdam, NL) to name but a few,” the official webpage states.
Ever since the first photo of a black hole debuted in 2019, the entire world has become more and more obsessed with the strange space phenomenon. To interest children, Mariela Massó Reid and children’s literature expert Dimitra Fimi have teamed up to help educate youngsters! The two created a new pop-up book entitled Listen to the Universe. The book takes on the form of a conversation between two children, a girl named Lila and a boy named Gopu. Lila explains the science of black holes, from Einstein’s suggestion of their existence to their detection a century later!
So far, 1000 copies of the book have been printed, with many more incoming in other languages. Thanks to people like Vermeulen, Masso Reid, and Fimi, we are sure to live in a world more and more interested in astrophysics.