iannis

so sassu was really cute and organic looking.

that's great and all, but iannis is not. iannis is mean and smells like chemicals.

iannis, like sasu, uses a visually rendered Lindenmayer system to generate quasi-granular note events. GESUNDHEIT!

in english: iannis is a self-similar, 3 dimensional structure that grows according to rules first applied in biology, but also found in linguistics and mathematics. the rules are applied sequentially, like a cookbook, but much simpler, more like driving directions. "Take I-90 for 45.6 miles and get off on exit 38-b toward Hellertown." That is an event. Actually, it's two. You have the event "Take I-90 for 45.6 mi" and the event "exit 38-b twd Hellertown". (note: Hellertown as I understand is not anywhere particularly close to I-90. I have no idea what exit it would be, either, I just made that up.) Which Hellertown, you might ask? Exactly.

so right there we have two levels of orientation. i like to think of them as degrees of magnification. we have the single event and the whole structure, which is made of many events. visually speaking, since this structure grows (and slowly rotates :-0), we see it predominantly in terms of its entire timescale, or about 5 minutes as i recall. In the beginning we have nothing and at the end we have a very large, complex thing that resembles a wire sculpture. actually it disappears at the end I think. perhaps I should work on that. Curtis Roads, in his beautiful introduction to Microsounds, calls this time scale or magnification "Meso Structure". It encompasses the entire composition from start to finish. thus, there is a persistent element-- "How I get to Hellertown"-- and a transient element "turn left to get on the ramp (DON'T DRIVE LIKE THAT YOU'LL GET US KILLED!!) ".

the events, however, happen much faster. also there are many more of them. yes, this time i did not write a piece of music with just one note. that was an earlier version, when it would crash immediately and i smelled harsh synthetic vapor coming out of my macBook. jk.

side note: Roads is careful to let us know that one year ≈ 0.000000031 Hz.

i would classify the events in this case to reside comfortably within the "Micro" time scale, right between taking long enough to be able to distinguish each one like a musical 'note' or a 'sound object', to happing rapidly enough that they blend and become a texture, either noisy or pitched, or some wonderful combination of the two.

between these two poles i have set up (which indeed are just two landmarks on a continuum), there resides the world of the phrase and the world of the sound object. the beauty of iannis is perhaps most easily found in the structure of message-passing that makes up his syntactic skeleton, precisely because it begins with a 'sentence' or string of instructions and moves through the time scales until it reaches the micro-event, at which point it comes full circle.

in the beginning, the entire instruction set that will form the song is figured out ahead of time. then, the instructions are followed one by one in a manner similar to sasu and my previous experiments with the L-Systems class in Proce55ing. Actually without further blathering let me take this moment to thank Patrick Dwyer for making such an elegant and easily extensible class. as this part of iannis' visual component follows these instructions, it passes messages to another program, superCollider, which handles the sound.

if this were sasu, superCollider would make some notes that correspond to the event data. iannis is way too badass for that. so, iannis instead takes these events and, after classifying them, selectively determines which ones are phrase events and which ones describe the phrase event that is about to occur. it's as if "going forward" is the phrase event, and turning one way or the other describes what "going forward" means or how the phrase event will sound. iannis then generates patterns of messages with counters and ID numbers to keep track of them so I don't have to.

after this, the message is passed back to superCollider (from superCollider) for further mischief. each phrase event triggers a pattern of micro events that perhaps we can think of as notes, although they too are very densely layered and coalesced. which is part of the fun of doing all this anyway, right? i mean the better the fidelity of the record, the cooler it will sound after you pop it in the microwave for a minute or two. there's more to subvert.

these note events, as i said, trigger individual micro events-- at this point small copies of the same sample which is much less than a second long. it's a kick drum i made a while ago to sound like some of Pan Sonic's work. (perhaps the next one will be called mika or ilpo.)

ok so one last trick happens when superCollider actually gets to make the micro kick events which i'm particularly happy about. the synth has imbedded in it a message to be passed back to proce55ing, which jiggles the entire visual structure as though the sound is being played through it.

so iannis as an audiovisual entity displays sensitivity to each level of magnification intrinsic to the rules that make him up. ok enough i have to get back to him and make sure he didn't explode; you know how those Greeks are... ;-0

ps here's a picture of the kick drum sample's waveform. the whole waveform is one second. only the initial transient is used, however.

picture-3.png

since the duration of the microsound (kicklet?) is inversely proportional to its pitch, and there are only a few discrete pitches in the constellation, i can tell you that at most it lasts for 0.1454545454545... seconds, and at least it lasts for 0.018181818181818... the micro-pitches that make up a note event are, relative to one: 0.25, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1.25, 2. these are fibonacci numbers. also i fixed the end state so the picture stays. it was easy.

pps- no WAY am I posting a screenshot of this guy.  not until after tomorrow...

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