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Name That Tune: 300+ Girl Talk Samples Visualized In Real Time

Here’s a Pop-Up Video-like annotation of Girl Talk’s sampled songs.

Name That Tune: 300+ Girl Talk Samples Visualized In Real Time
[Photo: Flickr user Gavin Langille]

There’s a small chance if you took your entire music collection and mixed it all together that it might sound decent, but more likely it’d sound like a trash compactor. Yet, somehow Gregg Michael Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, has built a career on mashing up several hundred sampled songs into something that sounds like a cohesive thought.

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Once you know you’re listening to parts of different songs—that you may or may not know—the thoughts begin racing, “Wait, I recognize that sound, who is it?” And whether you realize it or not, it’s the type of music that demands a visual layer. Matt Adereth has now added that visual element with his newest creation, an annotated guide to Girl Talk’s last album, All Day.


Using illegal-tracklist.net (a completely legal site FYI), Adereth wrote a parser to effectively drive the visualization. Almost all samples from the album are included, though it isn’t 100%. Doing the album annotation as a side project, it took hum a few weeks to complete.

“The biggest challenge was getting the years for the tracks that don’t have Wikipedia pages, which required me to do some manual searching,” Adereth says. “Eventually I found Who Sampled, which had all the details I was missing.”

The result is a timeline filled with little blue data points, each representing a different sample. As the song plays and passes over each point, the sampled song’s album cover pops up below and then disappears when it’s done. The albums are then stacked by year they were released–which allows you to see which samples are driving the songs and feel.

For the project, the music is played using SoundCloud’s Widget API, while the art is grabbed from Wikipedia and links via iTunes. On the more technical side, Adereth used d3.js for the visualizations and Clojure for the data processing.

If you want more, Adereth also has a version one concept for the Girl Talk album Feed The Animals.

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About the author

Tyler Hayes is a Southern California native, early technology adopter, and music enthusiast. You can reach him at tyler@liisten.com

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