Interactivity Sonified Workshop at INST-INT

The INST-INT 2015 conference, exploring the “…art of Interactivity for objects, environment, and experiences,” just happened and I had the honor and privilege of giving a workshop at the event titled Interactivity Sonified. The intent of the workshop was to teach attendees to sonify their work by triggering, generating, and processing sonic textures or musical forms through interactivity. I covered several basic programming techniques for including sound in projects with input devices and numerical values. Touchscreens, microphones, cameras, gyros, MIDI controllers, or any other stream or set of incoming data might be used to add sound. The sonification of this information adds a whole new sensory dimension to interactive installations and performances.

During the workshop I covered sonification examples in and Max while looking at input signals from the Leap Motion, MIDI controllers, video camera, microphone, keyboard, and trackpad. We experimented with recording, looping, reversing, pitch shifting, and granulating sampled audio. We also looked at modeling waveforms and processing them through lowpass, highpass, bandpass filters, delays, and reverbs. Finally we looked at the convolution reverb in Max for Live trying out several of the IRs as well as discussing the technique of sampling impulse responses.

In this video I asked the attendees to pull out their headphones cords after completing the task of triggering sounds with a moving object. The resulting cacophony in the room was quite beautiful! I thoroughly enjoyed giving this workshop and would love to do it again. Please be in touch if you’re part of an organization interested in a workshop like this. For more information you can view the slideshow for the workshop at Keep in mind that the slide show just a fraction of the activities. Most of the time was spent applying code and examples to either trigger, generate, or process sound.

Free Track from Ostracon Debut Unauthorized Modifications

Unearthed Music is giving away a free track from the album Unauthorized Modifications by Ostracon (John Keston on electronics and Graham O’Brien on drums). This album was recorded and mixed at by Adam Krinsky at the former Flyte Tyme studios and mastered by Tom Garneau of Audioactive.

To get the free track Probability Defect visit the release page and enter your email address in the box in the lower right of the screen. You will then receive an email message with a unique link to download the track at 320kbps. Please let us know here what you think of it and join us for the release show on Friday, June 24, 2011.

Eyeo Festival June 27-29, 2011

In late June 2011 I will be presenting the GMS and Grain Machine, as well as performing with Ostracon, at the Eyeo Festival. Eyeo is a new festival organized by Dave Schroeder, that includes an ever expanding and incredible list of speakers. I am honored, humbled and invigorated to be participating in this event. Here’s a blurb from the festival website:

“eyeo brings together the most creative coders, designers and artists working today, and shaping tomorrow – expect an amazing three days of talks, labs, demos & events fueled by the people and tools that are transforming digital culture.”

Just to give you an idea of the scope of the presenters, both Ben Fry and Casey Reas, founders of the language (that I used to build the GMS) are on the roster among many other brilliant talents. Checkout the website for a list of the presenters so far. Here’s a track from the upcoming Ostracon album to illustrate what we’re producing.

Entropy Procedure by Ostracon

Video by Jon Davis of an Ostracon Performance

I just came across this five minute video shot by Ghostband artist Jon Davis on his mobile phone of my duet project Ostracon performing at the Kitty Cat Klub in Minneapolis on July 17, 2010. I’ve been enjoying a lot of these lofi videos that Jon puts up on YouTube, and it reminds me of a quote I read recently from David Byrne in the liner notes for My Life in the Bush of Ghosts: “…we came to realize that high fidelity was a vastly over-rated convention that noboby had bothered to question…”. I can’t agree more, except that today, thankfully, it is being questioned more than ever.

HTML5 Audio Visualization for Illuminator Console

Recently I have been investigating some of the new capabilities of web browsers that support HTML5 and include JavaScript enabled audio APIs. This video excerpt above is a screen capture of an audio visualization that I produced with Processing.js, HTML5 and the Audio Data API that’s built into Firefox 4 Beta. The audio analysis is based on code from this example by Corbin Brook.

Circles are drawn that vary in size dynamically based on the amplitude of the music. The track is Illuminator Console by Ostraka (John Keston) from the album Precambrian Resonance on Unearthed Music. This application will only work in Firefox 4 Beta. To view the full visualization visit the following link:

HTML5 Audio Visualization for Illuminator Console