Artist Bartholomäus Traubeck has custom-built a record player that “plays” slices of tree trunks. His artpiece “Years,” an audio recording of tree rings being read by a computer and turned into music, mimics the same science behind a record player’s needle reading of the grooves on an LP.
The tree rings are actually being translated into the language of music, rather than sounding musical in and of themselves. According to Makezine, the “custom record player takes in data using PlayStation Eye Camera and a stepper motor attached to its control arm, and relays the data to a computer. A program called Ableton Live then uses it to generate an eerie piano track.”
Although this is an interpretation of sound rather than “playing” it in the traditional sense, you can hear that the sounds change with each piece of wood placed on the turntable. It’s mind-boggling and totally amazing!