Since the early experiments by contemporary composers such as Iannis Xenakis, interest in the use of Cellular Automata in music has only increased. ULAMIZER II is the second prototype of a Cellular Automata (CA) music module, designed to be an independent part-time project of the Noyzelab studio environment for both analogue modular and MIDI synthesizers. It is designed from a musicians perspective on CA, using fundamentally new techniques resulting from Noyzelab's many years of research in this field.
Complex systems such as CA produce a myriad of pattern from rule-based interactions of simple cells. CA are capable of producing more patterns than can possibly be observed by a single human in one lifetime. CA have a long distinguished history in computer science, from its foundation to their present day influence in the field of Artificial Life and numerous other disciplines (genetics, digital biology, digital physics, virology, self organising systems).
Herbert Brün began his work as an electronic music composer in the late 1950s, in Paris, at the WDR (Cologne) and at the Siemens studio (Munich). He continued his work in the electronic studio at the faculty of the University of Illinois and began research on composition with computers, which resulted in pieces for tape and instruments, tape alone, and graphics (some to be performed by interpreters). In the late 1960s, Brün created his own programs in FORTRAN. Brün took a new direction in 1972, leading to his 'Sawdust' compositions. The goal was to create sounds that were unfamiliar and new.
He was a pioneer in the development of computer music, recognized as a thinker who focused on musical process, creativity, language and thought, performance and everyday life. His concerns included the social functions of composer and listener, communication, originality, and the human implications of various compositional processes. You can find Brün's important lectures and articles (with excerpts from his book 'When Music Resists Meaning') here:
"It is one thing to search for events that will produce the sound one wants, and quite another to discover the sound of the events one wants. In the first case the wanted sound renders desirable the necessary events; in the second the wanted events are the standard for the desirability of the resulting sound. These are not only two different approaches to the composition of music, but also two different political attitudes."
SAWDUST is the fourth in a series of four CDs containing the complete works of Herbert Brün. This CD contains Brün's music with sounds generated largely by his computer program 'Sawdust', which he wrote in the 1970s.
"The computer program which I called SAWDUST allows me to work with the smallest parts of waveforms, to link them and to mingle or merge them with one another. Once composed, the links and mixtures are treated, by repetition, as periods, or by various degrees of continuous change, as passing moments of orientation in a process of transformations."
Symbolic Sound Corporation's Kyma X is a powerful visual programming language for music and sound, originally created in 1987 and still going strong today. The Kyma sound design environment is used by composers, researchers and sound designers for realtime sound generation and manipulation.
The First International Kyma Symposium will be held from the 8-11 October 2009 at the Niu Espai Artistic Contemporani in Poble Nou, Barcelona.
Current and potential Kyma practitioners are invited to attend an in-depth 3 day interactive conclave devoted to the technical and artistic aspects of the Kyma sound design language.
The preliminary program includes master classes presented by Carla Scaletti and Kurt Hebel, the creators of Kyma, papers and demos presented by Kyma practitioners and professional users , plus a program of concerts, installations and performances in the Niu art space of Poble Nou.
Cost: €80 for the workshops and concerts.
Organisers: Station 55 Productions in co-operation with Niu, Symbolic Sound, TC Electronic Spain and the LEM Festival.
Randy Thom, the brilliant sound effects designer from Skywalker Sound, offered the first keynote of the conference. A protégé of Walter Murch, who “went to school” on Apocalypse Now and earned Oscars for The Right Stuff and The Incredibles, Thom offered an enlightening discussion on “Designing a Movie for Sound.” In fact, he used the openings of both Apocalypse Now and WALL•E to illustrate two innovative approaches. Early collaboration is essential in achieving a cinematic result and so is experimenting with how the visual and the sonic can work together. On Apocalypse Now, when director Francis Ford Coppola made Willard (Martin Sheen) a passive observer, he opened up the possibility for experimentation with sound. Thom even crucially suggested that animation is currently utilizing the best strategy for successful integration of sound design more than live-action. Early collaboration with the director is offering inspiration to animators for finding the right balance between visuals and sound, and the most appropriate combination of dialogue, music and sound effects. The latter, he said, was key.
"One emerging difference that's very important ... is the directors of animation more and more often are asking me and other sound designers to get involved very, very early in the process, and do speculative sounds to help animators get inspired."
"This idea that sound is something you do at the end of the process -- that it's sort of a decoration you apply at the end of the movie -- is false. I think it's bound to make a better movie if you start thinking about sound and start experimenting with sound as soon as you start the project."
He urged the assembled graphics designers and animators to remember, "When you're writing the story, think about what your characters might hear that could tell the audience something about who the characters are. Create moments to feature those sounds."
He also warned that if the characters are always talking, "neither they nor the audience will get a chance to hear the objects, places and events that will make your film more cinematic."
"My SIGGRAPH presentation went very well. There were more than 3000 people in the audience. Gulp! My long time co-supervisor and in-his-spare-time theater sound design and calibration specialist Dennis Leonard worked with the team in New Orleans to create an amazing sounding 5.1 system for a room that large."
"The audience was mostly computer graphics and animation professionals, but included lots of students interested in those areas too. They were very receptive to the ideas I presented about treating sound as a full collaborator, getting sound experiments started as early on a project as possible, and integrating visual and sonic experiments from the very beginning of the project. I had done video interviews with Francis Coppola and Walter Murch talking about the sound on Apocalypse Now; and Andrew Stanton and Ben Burtt talking about Wall-E, and I used excerpts from those interviews in the presentation."
"I made the point that one emerging difference between sound for animation and sound for live action is that animation directors are increasingly interested in getting sound involved early, whereas nearly all live action filmmakers are stuck in this dumb old notion that sound is a decoration you apply to a film just before it's released."
"Basically the presentation was about integrating visual experimentation and sonic experimentation as soon as either of them starts. That's literally what happened on Wall-E. Ben Burtt started doing sound experiments at the same time the animators started imagining what the robots in the movie would look like. Walter didn't start playing with sound quite that early on Apocalypse Now, but he did start while they were still in principal photography."
"I also talked about the sound design opportunities on Apocalypse increasing exponentially when Coppola re-wrote John Milius' original script. Milius wrote the Willard character as more active, aggressive. Coppola decided he should be more passive, like a lens through which we experience the war... basically an observer. That turned the movie into a playground for sound design, because an observer is also a listener. So, even though Coppola may not have anticipated that outcome exactly in terms of sound, he opened the door nonetheless."