The Haunted House

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sound Mangling Tools : Part 1

I am currently preparing and tooling up for starting the next Creature album. I will probably do more circuit bending for this album, but I also want to experiment with different ways of completely mangling and decimating sound. So I have been on the lookout for some useful tools to help with this. First up is a nice little tool called Audio Paint.

Essentially this tool turns images into sound. This opens up lots of sound possibilities. Think about it, you can effectively turn your camera and photoshop (or other image editing package of choice) in to a synthesizer. The image above, is from one of Mine and Amanda's walks in Derbyshire. The image below shows the wave form generated from this image. This makes a great way of creating new and weird sounds.

So, how does it work?

A picture is actually processed as a big frequency / time grid. Each line of the picture is an oscillator, and the taller the picture is, the higher the frequency resolution is. While the vertical position of a pixel determines its frequency, its horizontal position corresponds to its time offset.

By default, the color of a pixel is used to determine its pan, the red and green components controlling the amplitude of the left and right channels respectively (the brighter the color, the louder the sound), and the blue component is not used. The action of each component can be modified in the Routing section of the Audio Settings window. Starting with version 2.0, AudioPaint can also convert the color components into HSB values, and use hue, saturation and brightness instead of red, green and blue.

This application is Windows only. There might be a mac equivalent somewhere, but I havn't looked as I don't use them. But if you are using an Intel Mac, you could always run it via a virtual machine or under BootCamp. I guess it would be fine under a VM as the tools isn't a realtime synth.

At the weekend I will put a little audio demo together to show you the interesting noises this tool generates. I plan to make good use of Audio Paint. Oh, did I mention this tool is FREE. I have another couple of tools in my arsenal that I intend to use for sound mangling, Audio Mulch and Beatburner. I will do a little write up on these soon, but they sure so look fun.

I am now raring to go on the new album, which I will plan to release next year, as I am in no rush. But in the mean time, I will be releasing a new album that is effectively a re-release of the original Mechanical EP's. I will also soon be re-releasing the Nightmares and Dreamscapes EP. Keep tuning in.



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