Andrew said “Hello” via E-Mail, just after spotting posting on the ToneMatrix-synth here on this blog. He is also in programming audio-visual systems. Andrew is into Processing and the works on his webpage Kosmotrope instantly caught my interest. He works on exploration of audio-visual systems, that connects generative audio-system with clean graphics and an overall balanced design. We managed to do a little interview. He currently lives in Kentucky, United States.
Screenshots from Closest.
Andrew, what is your interest in audio-visual systems and how do you explore the systems you make? Are you following a systematic approach?
My main interest is building cohesive unified systems, not where sound drives visuals, but where they are both articulating a system or motive force that they share, where they each assist in the understanding of the other. It’s just really fascinating to me when a visual double can help tease out aspects of the sound that you might not notice otherwise. I think doing this carries with it certain limitations, everything has to work at a slower pace, but I’ve always loved drones so it works out alright.
When I’m making one of these I generally start with the visual aspect and try to come up with a good system to drive things that’s dynamic without being chaotic – something that has end states, plateaus, peaks etc… A lot of that’s driven by trial and error, tweaking, let’s try this idea, now this one, etc… There’s also the occasional idea out of nowhere, but it’s experimentation primarily. I do think of it a little like scientific experimentation, when working with automata in particular which can halfway make you believe they’re alive!
I’ve worked with sound for a number of years, so that aspect tends to come a little easier to me and is generally the last thing I do in the work. In fact, there might be ten or twenty different sound variations driven by one single visual system, in part because I’m still getting comfortable with minim and also because doing your own system is a lot more complicated if you’re building all your sounds with oscillators from the ground up without any vst’s!
Screenshots from Automata
You told me something about the underlying technique used on the automata…
Yes. It’s a cellular automata based with 16 different oscillators and delays. Pressing up and down changes the automata behavior a little, and a mouse click reseeds. I’d hit the up button a couple times, see what you can find and then use the down key to level things out a bit.
Your works look very grown-up. Did you do studies in this field? Or what are you doing at the moment. Do you make plans for the future?
At the moment I’m doing application programming / data management, but I’m planning on going back to school in the future for this sort of thing… hopefully before too long!
For the future, I’ve got a couple more Processing projects I’m looking at putting up over the next few weeks as well as a few solely musical things that I’ve been sitting on for awhile. I want to continue doing live performance as ARZU, looking forward quite a bit to digging into OpenFrameworks, and also making my source available… I don’t currently have any exhibitions planned, but it’s something I’d love to do!
Screenshots from Clusters
And then I’ll also love to ask for inspiring things. Are there books, theories, people, movies, websites, software or projects, that are important to you?
Big thanks for you kind words. At least for me this was an inspiring talk!
Text and Interview: Martin Wisniowski, April 2009