Sunday, May 4, 2008

Archaeopteryx: Techno/IDM Wind Chimes

The audio was done with Reason, driven by Archaeopteryx. The video is just video I shot with my camera. I had a pair of sketches lying around which I hadn't been able to record. For some reason my audio recorder couldn't play nice with the threading/timing stuff in Archaeopteryx. So to record the audio, I had to use Snapz Pro X and pretend to be making a video, then throw away the video content in the file. I figured if I was going to all that trouble, I might as well make an actual video.

Unfortunately the upload process ate the last 20 seconds of audio for some reason.

The vocal sample is Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer saying "looks like Giles has some schooling to do," but in reality, this isn't me schooling anyone, this is just a sketch. The two existing sketches I built this from were perpetual music generators - one made perpetual randomized techno, the other perpetual drum and bass which had both dynamic and hard-coded components.

Obviously this wind chimes thing is kind of simplistic, and far from a killer app. The exciting part is that I hit my target use case for Burning Man months ahead of schedule. My goal was to get Archaeopteryx to dynamically generate infinite streams of ambient/IDM stuff by the time of Burning Man, and it's definitely there. Ironically I might not get it to Burning Man, though, because the logistics of setting up a computer out there are kind of a pain in the butt.

Specifically, solar power may or may not cost thousands of dollars. The reports vary widely. The obvious alternative - a noisy, stinky gas generator - would kind of undermine the soothing aspects of the ambient music, what with all the noising and the stinking going on.

Still, there are plenty of reports of successful computer usage at Burning Man, and plenty of reports of successful solar power up there as well. I know it's been done and I know it can be done, I just haven't figured out how to do it.

Either way, though, I've got reasons to be stoked. I've met the bare-minimum use case months ahead of schedule; that's good news on any project, and especially good news on a part-time project targeting potentially impossible use cases.