The Hidden and Mysterious Machinery of Sound

2014-2015, 3rd order Ambisonics

Program Notes

I had been thinking about a piece that used simple sine oscillators in complex ways for a long time. Going back to basics, in a sense. With that idea in mind I dived into the innards of Bill Schottstaedt's new Scheme-based version of the CLM synthesis language and its s7 interpreter, and stumbled into new ugens that allowed me to pile sinewaves in many different ways. The "imaginary machines" examples I found there also helped shape the first code fragments I experimented with. What remains of many lines of discarded Scheme code is the program that writes this piece. It creates fractal machines that manipulate clockwork mechanisms, big and small "virtual gears" that interlock, work without pause, and drive the basic sound synthesis instruments. This universe of miniature machines is spread over 3D space using Ambisonics, and the resulting soundscape is made of interlocking patterns of sound that drift through space. WARNING: the piece contains repetitive phrases of sound (also known as "rhythms"), and is only intended for inmature audiences.