Sunday, November 25, 2007


Today i played around with a process that is an electrical and digital analogy to the acoustic properties that are explored in Lucier's I am Sitting In A Room. Yes, i am well aware that this sort of stuff has been done many times.

The output of ProTools was connected to a cheap digital reverb pedal. The output of the cheap digital reverb pedal was connect to the input of ProTools. A short sample of white noise was played through the reverb pedal and the processed material was recorded onto a track. This recorded material was then played back through the pedal and re-recorded. This was repeated nine times.

The outcome is quite interesting. Click here to download. The sample features the ten iterations with long crossfades, so that they integrate seamlessly.


Tristan Louth-Robins said...

This sounds good. It's kind of the most explicit example of Lucier's process in that you are filtering a noise signal down to a few of its component frequencies. Considering that the process from noise to the end result was so fast, I guess you were using a pretty heavy reverb yes?

Sebastian Tomczak said...

yeah, i guess the idea of using a broadband noise source is that you can hear the direct, uncontested result of the process (and therefore the outcome of the algorithm in question).

the reverb was the hall algo from the low-end behringer reverb pedal with the effect wetness set to 100%.

Tristan Louth-Robins said...

Yep, I thought so. Perhaps try it out with less wetness? Of course the end result is always going to be the same, but the unfolding process might be subtler. The crossfading is a good idea; it evokes more of a continuum-like structure opposed to the individual iterations made more perceptible due to immediate breaks between each iteration. That said, I guess it depends on the kind of sonic result you're after.

Sebastian Tomczak said...

i wanted to reach the end result asap...
the iterations only show the journey from a to b (the crossfades make this journey smooth one ;-)

but again, this is just an example. i plan to exhaust this more fully tomorrow...

Freddie said...

Less wetness?? Such a funny word.

Since the file is gone I can't hear it, so I'll ask a stupid question. What are we meant to be listening to? The reverb being filtered, the pedals self noise being filtered, the AD/DA noise being filtered (I guess this question raises the query of what sample rate was used).

I assume the final sound is basically narrow bands of various frequencies, or just one, which begs the question that continues to baffle me when I hear about Lucier. What is the purpose of this? How can this be of any use? Is it just an arty thing to do? I am being serious and quite sincere in my question.

Sebastian Tomczak said...

oh, heya Freddie, how are you going? Hope holidays are treating you nicely.

I deleted the file, sorry. But just for you, Freddie, i uploaded it again at:

The resolution of the pedal is 40KHz and 24 bit (weird specs, i know) and the protools session was running at 44.1 / 16.

But in my opinion this difference of specs and self noise of the pedal _appear_ to have minimal effect.

>>> What is the purpose of this? How can this be of any use?

I guess i think of this sort of thing as a sonic exploration of a given process. In this case, we can hear the direct effect of the algorithm that is used to emulate the reverb.

What use is it? Well, i don't know if you know of this, but i do this thing called milkcrate (see for details) and i have used this process / similar processes for extensive sound manipulation etc.

It is possible to get some interesting textures and timbres using this technique.
for example, from 0:00 to 1:51 and 2:54 to 4:25 of:

and 0:00 to 1:42 of:

neither of these sounds would have been possible without lucier's technique. i am not claiming that this technique is 100% responsible for these sounds, just that it has helped a great deal in this situation.

>>> Is it just an arty thing to do?
nope, not in my opinion. i think it sounds cool, regardless of the conceptual underpinning. but it is a good concept (by lucier) as well. tristan? what do you reckon?

Freddie said...

"In this case, we can hear the direct effect of the algorithm that is used to emulate the reverb."

Cool. That makes sense. The first one seems to be not working for me, so I listened to this one.

For me, it's interesting from a science point of view. Cool stuff.