041/342, From psychedelic rock to minimalism


Amp up! From psychedelic rock to minimalism - data viz experience.

A couple of months ago, I came across Signal to Noise Ratio, a fab post-psychedelic rock band from Warsaw. Just the band name itself, SNR, totally won me over! 
SNR, or S/N, is a measure of signal strength relative to background noise. Though it’s commonly used in science, it vastly applies to the design of visuals as well (check Edward Tufte’s Data-Ink Ratio concept). Designers who seek simplicity, want to maximize S/N as much as possible with the highest ratio, the lowest noise, and the clearest message.

I loved SNR’s Fisheye (remix) in particular, so I decided to explore its dataset. I dived in, researched, analyzed, and created a visualization out of it. It’s named 041/342, and it’s my try to beatmatch dataset and visual.

[Speakers on?]

One-liner: I started from analyzing 0.41min out of a 3.42min spectrogram (hence the name 041/342), aggregated, summarized and ended up with two simplified patterns/trends.

So, let’s strip it down:

1| It’s a rock piece… had to amp up the experience with a live audio spectrum:
(I used Sonic Visualiser interactive audio analysis application thru my research).

041/342, Kick-off

2| Next, I display the complete 3.42min Fisheye (remix) spectrogram:

041/342, ‘Fisheye’ remix spectrogram

3| Then, I mark a 0.41min section:

041/342, Selected dataset section

4| Next, zooming. We see that the left side is denser and the right is relatively spacious, but also much more polarized. I chose this section because it contains both of these patterns and reflects the entire dataset.

041/342, Zoom in

5| Then filtering, I remove the stems:

041/342, Removed stems

6| Next, I place a grid to explore the underlying structure:

041/342, Placing a grid

7| Then, digging into, I expand the grid and re-position the data:

041/342, Extracted grid with data

8| Next, I draw verticals, connecting the peaks’ data points:

041/342, Connecting the peaks’ data points

9| Then, I remove the data points (and left the band :). We see the two patterns with a different color twist:

041/342, Two patterns

10| And here’s my shift… from the overwhelm to minimalism, from noise to signal. I minimize the cluttered data by merging the patterns into two data-layered columns:

041/342, Shift to minimalism

To render the invisible visible, I thickened the vertical lines + defined opacity values. It became ‘data-capsules’:

041/342, Merging verticals

11| Next, overlapping:

041/342, Overlapping

12| And finally, I add a motion that resonates the composition of the dataset and endorses the message at a more emotional level. After all, we started with a psychedelic rock… 
“When emotions are considered… don’t be afraid to add more ornament or layers of meaning” — John Maeda.

041/342, Fin

Transformation of data could be an infinite journey. I‘m thankful for mine.

♡ to hear your thoughts on data viz, drop a comment?

Thank you, Przemek Piłaciński from Signal to Noise Ratio band — the re-mixers of Fisheye (remix)
Thank you, Jørgen Munkeby from
Shining (NOR) band — the creators of Fisheye.
+ I’m thrill that
SoundCloud is here to stay!

I loved & enjoyed it so much.