Category Archives: Pure Data

Radiophonic Workshop

Today I went to check this event out as part of THE SPACE and really enjoyed it. Matt Herbert, who is becoming a favourite of mine is the recently appointed creative director of the reborn ‘Radiophonic Workshop’. The day was split up in to a number of talks; the ones I saw were Music and Technology. The music one was a very interesting explorative debate on the role of music in films, theatre, tv and artistically. One point that Matt Herbert made was the seeming regression from electronic music to classical in certain theme tunes such as the re-imagined Doctor Who theme, originally created by Delia Derbyshire at the Radiophonic Workshop. The parralels between climactic, orchestral scores in film are apparent in some TV programs as a solution to mainstream audience need in the perception of importance. Another speaker on the panel, Paul Morley spoke of the TV ‘Classic Awards’ as a collective climax of uninspired music that could be stamped from a template of safely played underscore….or something along those lines.

The technology talk was something that got me thinking too. Yann Seznec showed us his project called ‘The secret sound of spores‘ which was a fantastic demonstration of combining technology with nature in its purest sense. The arbitrary results of a spore-catching-light-triggering midi synthesizer wonderfully reaffirmed a connection between a natural living process and an engineered electronic outcome of which a sense of control blends between the natural and the unnatural. It got me thinking about how we can make musical instruments that give back to the performer; a deeper interaction between musician and instrument much like the improvisation of two musicians responding to each other’s playing. We also heard from Robert Thomas from RjDj explaining how ubiquitous technology platforms (such as the iPhone) can provide us with a rich mine of data that can be extracted and used to target listeners musically based on unique situations they are in such as the weather, where they are in the world, how fast they are travelling in a car etc. This is a really interesting approach for a musician because you have the chance to engineer an exact experience for the listener defined by all-encompassing (‘shotgun’) and  fine-tuned (‘sniper’) scenarios.

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Pure Data Wind Generator

Wind Generator

A few years ago I read a book about synthesis and there was a section about white noise and how it can be used to recreate sounds heard in nature such as the ocean or wind. I wanted to create the sound of arctic wind so I first had a play around with Audacity and then sought to create a patch in an open-source and much loved program called Pure Data. By designing software around my needs I was able to add more features such as automation and filtering.

As in keeping with the pure data community my patch is available here: WindGenerator.pd

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