Dial Tone Assembly

by Oh No Noh

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  • It's a phone handle with a jack input soldered to the piezo speaker. You can use it as a lofi speaker as well as a telefone mic. Or it might be a start to make your own "Dial Tone Assembly" - I attached the arduino code for it.

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1 01:06 video
2 01:05
3 01:04
4 01:16
5 01:24
6 01:25
7 01:46
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9 01:08
0 01:12


this is kind of an Anti-Release, as it's more of a documentation to my interactive audio-installation "Dial Tone Assembly". Each Track is a recording of the Loop that is played when the corresponding number is dialed on the rotary dial of the control unit. For context: there's a video of the installation uploaded with track 1, also you will find it on Youtube:

Dial Tone Assembly is an interactive sound+light installation that involves twenty telephone receivers from deconstructed, 90s type phones.
The phone receivers are placed in a room, connected by cable and controlled via electronic impulses by a control unit, which transformes them into a Lofi chiptune orchestra.
The control unit distributes the individual tones to the speakers at random (with a probability of 1 in 20). The audience can influence this: the controller is equipped with a number switch, also known as a rotary dial. Each digit starts a different tonal state - the density of the tones or their octave position changes using the pulse dialing system. Each tonal state is a contemplative, meditative yet retrofuturistic soundpiece by itself.
The rhythm of the tones played is independent of conventional timing systems - a random generator determines the duration between the tones. Only when the audience gets involved with the spatial sounds does a regularity emerge in the irregularity, a swarm-like sound that, in its quality, goes hand in hand with the nostalgia that arises when you use a dial decades after its extinction. The audience is also encouraged to walk around and linger in the installation and let the audio loops have contemplative, mantra-like effects on one’s self.

The core piece of the control unit is an Arduino chip, which is controlled by the rotary dial. The chip sends out signals via Pulse Width Modulation towards the Phone Receivers, changing the pitch and/or length of the tones played. Each tone loop is pulsating and pseudo-recurring, as parts of it are determined by random parameters.

Dial Tone Assembly was developed and built by Markus Rom within a stipend granted by Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen. It is made to travel and to be adapted to various places.

20 Phone speakers are placed in a room, preferably on hooks placed irregularly in the ceiling. It is also possible to attach them to a ring (Ø 2metres) hanging on one hook (similar to a chandelier; as shown in the ending of this video) or place the speakers on walls/on objects. For cable measurements an exact plan of the room and the placement is needed.
The project is portable, it is easy to set up and outdoor use is also possible. The work is multi-sensory, the control unit can be touched and used if it is not seen or heard. The tones played by the phone speakers are accompanied by the light of a LED, which makes it suitable for being installed in the dark (as shown in the middle of the video). They might be triggering to photosensitive people.

filmed by Nikolas Fabian Kammerer and Markus Rom at Gold&Gewitter Fotostudio Leipzig


released December 13, 2023


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Oh No Noh Leipzig, Germany

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