Meek FM is an interpretation of type as sound. Using bespoke software and the MEEK typographic synthesizer, the musician/designer develops sounds and typographic visuals in parallel. Meek FM was premiered as an interactive installation at the Typo2007 in Berlin, where the Meek FM team also performed live.
Meek FM consists of a physical controller and some software.
The controller is a handmade walnut box, with engraved aluminium panels designed by the Meek FM team. It has the look of an analogue synthesizer or mixer. The controller connects to a computer running the Meek FM software.
On a screen, the designer/musician sees one or two letters in the form of line-drawings. A red cursor loops along the lines of the letters – like a pen drawing the letters or an imaginary playhead ‘playing’ them. By manipulating an array of dials and buttons on the controller, the user can transform the way the pen/playhead behaves – changing its thickness, angle, speed, pressure etc.
Visual changes in the letter forms correspond to transformations in synthesized sounds which are generated in real-time by synthesizer software. For example, if the pressure of the imaginary pen varies, the brightness of the virtual ink will vary accordingly, as will the volume of the corresponding sound. If the pen is made thicker, the letter will become thicker, and the sound will become ‘fatter’. Changes which are made to one letter can be automatically be transferred to a complete character set to create complete fonts.
Letters become instruments, fonts can be heard and composed – the synaesthetic typographer finds their tool of choice.
Here’s the introductory video: