8 variations of Tanglefoot Approach

Robin Whittle rw@firstpr.com.au 17 September 2018  ©

Link to the Astral Truth Window main page.

Link to the Tanglefoot Approach page at SoundCloud.

MP3 files

These are 256kbps MP3 files, and so may sound marginally better than SoundCloud playback, which I understand is 128kbps MP3.  Each file is about 16MB and most browsers will play them directly if you click their links below.

These renderings differ in how the sound sources move through the simulated space.  First, the original version, then the 8 variations.










These files are for personal use, radio play, podcasts, DJs and streaming on "Internet radio" stations such as Drone Zone.  For any commercial use, including YouTube videos and the like, please request permission first.

Technical details of how these renderings differ

Tanglefoot Approach (1996) is the product of Csound running according to the instrument programs in an orchestra file and the note events for these instruments specified in a score file.  These are plain text files written by hand. 

In 1998 I modified the .orc file so that some elements of the piece are affected by the output of a Pseudo-Random Number Generator: the starting location and the speed of rotation of the groups of sound sources in their circular orbits.  The sounds themselves are unaltered, except that the PRNG noise signals for pitch and amplitude modulation of the sounds' 8 harmonics, are, in fine detail, actually different.  The speed changes are modest: +/- 30%.  So these renderings are audibly different only in the locations of the sound sources in the imaginary 3D space which the imaginary head slowly moves through.

PRNG software generates a stream of random-appearing set of integers (though the sequence might repeat after 4 billion numbers have been produced), with the sole input argument being an integer, the starting seed.  For each different value of starting seed the PRNG produces a different sequence of numbers, with no obvious relationship between any of these numbers and the seed.  1, 2 and 4885923876 are all perfectly good seeds, and each results in a unique set of numbers.

I chose some seeds manually and others by rolling dice.

Csound . . . and Cabbage

Csound is a programming language for creating sound and potentially entire musical compositions either in real-time, or as a batch-process by which the program renders the piece to a sound file, which may take much longer than the audio length of the sound file itself. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Csound

Csound has been improved in many ways since 1996.  The Csound language is still quite limited compared to C or C++, but it has unique abilities regarding sound, and a huge range of inbuilt "unit generators" (AKA "ugens") which can be called from within the orchestra programs.  The ugens and the whole of Csound is written in C, so if you are handy with C, you can add your own ugens, and so extend the Csound orchestra language as you please.

In 2018 Csound has some binaural placement ugens, but I haven't tried them.  The sound placement you hear in Spare Luxury and Tanglefoot Approach is done with my own set of binaural synthesis ugens, which do not use HRTFs, and which I am keeping to myself.

I hadn't used Csound for many years, but in March 2018 I discovered that it could be used for real-time sound processing and generation with excellent real-time GUI control, with on-screen sliders, knobs etc. of variables inside the instruments, each running a Csound program from the orchestra section of a CSD file.  This is with Cabbage http://cabbageaudio.com .

Even if you have no experience in programming, if you have a Linux or OS-X (Macintosh) computer, or can run a Linux virtual machine within your Windows or Mac box using VirtualBox - you might find the Cabbage-Csound combination fascinating and fruitful.