If a reverberated delay chain is left running unattended all day, does it make a sound?

Yes, it does. A very caustic, interesting sound.

Yes, it does make a sound. A very caustic, interesting one.

I left the house today, and in doing so forgot to disable a considerable DSP chain of various delays and spatial effects in a project I’d worked on this morning. When I returned home, I didn’t hear it at first (the studio is far from the entrance I typically use to enter the house).

The sound is generated from an unknown source (it could’ve been any number of VST instruments, synthesis, or samplers, as all are present in this particular project). I’m guessing the culprit was the primary signal, a series of textural modifiers that generally follow this architecture:

[source] -> [1-16 digital delays, consecutively chained] -> [last few delays looped back into the first delay] -> [reverb effects]

When I returned home, I became aware of the sound through a series of graduating realizations:

That’s an interesting siren…police? No. An ambulance? Definitely not. What the hell vehicle is that?

I then approached a window in the study to see what machinations were responsible for making such a bizarre structure. As I got closer to the study, I in tandem approached the stairs leading to the studio.

My hearing then corrected for the spatial assumptions the brain had made in order to fit the sound into the nice little version of reality in which I resided upon first hearing it. Then I knew.

I knew it was coming from Buzztracker. I knew I’d forgotten to at least turn down the volume. As it turned out, I’d thankfully not destroyed any monitors or other devices.

Digital audio feedback is difficult to assign a flavor, or even coax with any surety. You can get baseline behavior, of course, but calculating the behavior and shapes of longer-living structures (such as this) are, in environments as complex as modern electronic music composition, a solid, non-logical axiom against a sea of chaotic variables. It’s great.

Note – this is a very< in your shit sound, and may damage your hearing if you listen too loud. This is an mp3 at 320kbps (or an ogg, if using FireFox). See below for the .wav.

Here’s the wav, feel free to use it for anything you’d like.

The Well-Tempered Sequencer

I just invested seven hours or so sequencing a portion of a track approximately 750 milliseconds in length. Looping such a short amount of audio over and over and over and over and over for a period of time this long always seems to induce…

Whether or not microscopic lifeforms are utilizing our own advances in nano-technology against us should be of no concern to you.

As is common with electronic-music composers, I just invested seven hours or so sequencing a portion of a track approximately 750 milliseconds in length. Looping such a short amount of audio over and over and over and over and over (and over) for a period of time this long always seems to induce an odd hue of sensory harmony for me, afterward. It is a harmony that filters my senses through the attributes of the audio in question.

In this case, I was writing patterns in hexadecimal columns, altering spatial algorithms of a reverb dll, and interpolating between values manually via column strings, which is the most precise method I’ve found thus far concerning textural manipulation. The latent effect this seems to have on my senses is interesting. I find my brain has momentary difficulty discerning certain commonplace, household sounds.

I’ll take a break to use the bathroom for a moment, and the resonant frequency of the water-tank filling itself up after flushing will be a few hertz away from a ‘G’ note, the leaky faucet simultaneously emitting a 440 Hertz tone in ‘A’, so I’ll scamper to the faucet and try turning the knob – ever so slightly and gingerly – to attempt a pitch correction to A#, thus helping the universe by converting the chord from a ‘second’ to a ‘third’, unaware for that brief moment that not every set of circumstances that produces an audible sound can be regulated, sequenced, or altered in any controlled manner.

There are endless examples, naturally:

You are in a movie theater. A whining, bastard of a child is whining like a bastard in the seat in front of you, ruining your overpriced movie-going experience. One may implement a series of filters by obstructing the airways of the child with a wondrous variety of materials, each containing their own wave-dampening and absorption properties, or one may opt for a dramatic deletion of the waves’ amplitude by inserting a cutlery device into the esophagus. With adequate real-time software, his waveform could be analyzed, and a series of speakers or transducers would then emit the inverse opposite waveform, canceling the original sound if the two are within appropriate spatial parameters of one another.

: It is just over one year since this post, and the album is finished. What an amazing experience, as always. Thank you to so many developers that made it possible, especially Juan Antonio Argüelles Rius and Oskari Tammelin.