Friday, August 02, 2013

Single Sample Point Music: Ableton Live As Medium and Process

Tonight, I've been writing music that uses the shortest sample possible - that is, a waveform that consists of only a single sample point. Not a sine wave, not a two-sample squarewave, but a single sample point on a waveform - i.e. a DC offset value, silence, as close to nothingness as one can have whilst still having something.

I've been fascinated for a long time with using minimal source material, and this is simply an extension of this as process.

There is an interesting side effect of using a "silent" sample that contains almost no information or material as source in Ableton Live. Process and medium are intertwined, and Ableton Live no longer behaves entirely rational; delay lines fail unexpectedly, the Simpler instrument no longer "pitch shifts" what little content can be heard from the sample and unexpected volume changes occur.