Algorithmic DSP

Viznut is writing about the experiments with these symphonies of one-line of code and wondering why he hasn't found any earlier experiments that go in this direction. He ascribes it to what he calls a "technological mismatch", the people who worked on digital audio algorithms were more interested in implementing models of acoustics and acoustical instruments than that they were interested in the sonic qualities of particular algorithms.

countercomplex - bitwise creations in a pre-apocalyptic world - Ville-Matias Heikkilä (Viznut)

"Maybe it's just about technological mismatch: to builders of digital musical circuits, things like LFSRs may have been more appealing than very wide sequential counters. In the early days of the microcomputer, there was already enough RAM available to hold some musical structure, so there was never a real urge to simulate it with simple logic. Or maybe it's about the problems of an avant-garde mindset: if you're someone who likes to experiment with random circuit configurations or strange bit-shifting formulas, you're likely someone who has learned to appreciate the glitch esthetics and never really wants to go far beyond that."

"Demoscene is in a special position here, as technological mismatch is irrelevant there. In the era of gigabytes and terabytes, demoscene coders are exploring the potential of ever shorter program sizes. And despite this, the sense of esthetics is more traditional than with circuit-benders and avant-garde artists. The hack value of a tiny softsynth depends on how much its output resembles "real, big music" such as Italo disco."

"Apart from some deterministic efforts that quickly bloat the code up to hundreds of source-code characters, the exploration process so far has been mostly trial-and-error. Some trial-and-error experimenters, however, seem to have been gradually developing an intuitive sense of what kind of formulas can serve as ingredients for something greater. Perhaps, at some time in the future, someone will release some enlightening mathematical and music-theoretical analysis that will explain why and how our algorithms work."

Discovering novel computer music techniques by exploring the space of short computer programs - Ville-Matias Heikkilä


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Digital Audio Out of the Box by Marije Baalman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.