Sonic Adventures: Chris Warren Turns Up the Volume with EchoThief Expansion

Innovative Sound Research Invites Global Collaboration in Uncovering Hidden Sonic Gems.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Photo of The Slot, one of the Sound Locations from the EchoTheif Library
Photo of The Slot, one of the Sound Locations from the EchoTheif Library
Chris Warren is on a sonic mission. Using innovative technology, the San Diego State Professor of Digital Composition and Sound Design has expanded his EchoThief collection capturing the essence of spaces, and relocating sounds to give them a virtual performance in diverse environments.

Warren’s current collection includes a wide spectrum of sonic gems like Death Valley charcoal kilns, Subway Caves lava tube, Fossil Falls, and The Orpheum Grand Theatre in Omaha.

"I drew inspiration from a Photoshop tutorial I stumbled upon years ago where multiple photos merged to keep the architecture steady while people fade away. Just like capturing a landmark without tourists,” Warren said. “I applied the concept to sound, creating a symphony of spaces without the noise.”

Venturing into the heart of Death Valley, Dr. Warren explored century-old charcoal kilns. "These kilns are like hidden gems in one of the most remote parts of Death Valley. Singing inside one is like singing in the shower times 1000 – a truly rich space," Warren said.

Creating a musical passport to sonic spaces comes with the added challenge of actually finding these unique treasures. 

"I rely on people sharing their secret spots. It's like a treasure hunt,” he said, but in this case, he finds sonic gold – unique spaces with incredible richness.

Describing his missions, Warren says, "I've been capturing outdoor spaces like rush hour underpasses, seaside caves, glacial caverns… the world is full of interesting sonic spaces, and I want to collect them all."

As EchoThief continues to evolve, Dr. Warren is gearing up to nearly double the library, promising a variety of new sonic adventures open to the public. 

Whether you're a musician looking for the ideal stage or just someone yearning for a concert hall in your living room, EchoThief promises a sonic journey that's as diverse as it is thrilling. With Chris Warren as the guide, it's time to turn up the volume and explore the uncharted realms of sound.