Sonology Student Max Frimout wins Apple Design Award

KonCon Sonology Student Max Frimout wins the Apple Design Award for Innovation 2022 for his App Odio

Odio: Absolutely Spatial
Audio apps don’t get much more immersive than Odio. The Apple Design Award-winning 3D audio app employs a mesmerizing mix of Spatial Audio and head tracking to conjure up its AR soundscapes. While you might flow between a rushing waterfall, the deep sea, and even a world of calming digital ambience, you’re no passive listener in these realistic realms: Each soundscape can be manipulated through a clever system of arcing sliders that reposition each sonic element — a rushing river, dreamy whalesong, or wash of digital static — around your head in 360 degrees. Odio is created by Volst, Joon Kwak and Max Frimout.

Max Frimout is the app's audio engineer, and though his work is heavy on synthetic, otherworldly digital elements, his audio career started with something considerably more analog. Max started his musical journey on the harp. "One day I opened the ES1 Synthesizer in Logic Pro, and now I’m here!"

The Odio Team - Max and his colleagues

Odio originally focused on nature sounds, but after a few months of development, the Netherlands-based team at Volst wanted more. “‘What if we have musicians compose their own environments?’” says Roger Kemp, co-founder and designer at Volst. “That’s when it all clicked.” Frimout is also one of the app’s five composers. A musician and DJ by trade, he began creating his Odio soundscapes with lines of melody, then layered in effects and flourishes with names like “synthetic water,” “moving chords,” and “filtered drone.” Soundscapes are built in Logic Pro and tested with AirPods Max. “That’s how I look around to hear how it feels,” he says.

Most of Frimout’s compositions are the result of sonic experimentation, but the soundscape called “Wow!” followed a more organic path. “I started with a series of melodies that basically all came to me in the same evening,” he says. “I think that shows how you can have all this equipment and all these concepts but still be incredibly inspired by a single event.” And yes, it contains harp: That’s Frimout playing on the loop called Heartbreak — though you might not recognize the sound as strings. "It’s just three chordal structures,” he says with a laugh, “but they’ve been processed and processed and processed.”