Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Episode 6: Wickedness Stops Its Mouth

mp3 file: Wickedness Stops Its Mouth (17M)
MacCSound file: eyeballsun_080905.csd (8K)

This seems to be turning into an annual podcast. Well, the old computer died and the new computer doesn't run Supercollider. So I'm switching to Csound, a fossil in the evolution of computer music, based on the original Music V program by octogenarian Stanford professor Max Mathews (Max is named after him). It's like writing music in Apple II BASIC, but it works well. I'm using MacCsound, which actually has an easier method of building GUI-based controls than Supercollider. Thanks to MacCsound, this new piece actually has live control.

I came up with a patch that sounded like cicadas. There've been a lot of cicadas out this summer. Unfortunately, when I listened back to it, I discovered that I'd been overloading the CPU, and the tremelo effect I'd heard was the audio cutting out repeatedly as the processor tried to catch up. The recording consisted of a small number of unpleasantly steady tones. So I figured out how to lighten the CPU load and added a tremelo on purpose.

This is an extremely quiet track. The aiff was a little louder, but either the frequency range or the hard stereo separation made for significant loss in the mp3 encoding.

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