Posted 2 weeks ago

Databending using Audacity Effects


A semi-complete documentation of Audacity Effects on image files.

This can also be found on Wordpress, if you prefer.

When pursuing the wonderful practice of databending I think that experimentation is all important. Discovering new ways to do things is a key element to the entire experience. But I also know that without tutorials from Antonio Roberts (HelloCatFood) and Stallio (AnimalsWithinAnimals) I wouldn’t have taken the steps to really engage in the subject. They acted as a gateway for me to try new things and experiment with other ideas.

If you’ve never encountered it before, I highly recommend checking out Antonio Roberts’ tutorial on databending with Audacity, which can be found here. I’m not sure if he was the first person to ever start databending using Audacity, but his tutorial is definitely the best resource to get you started and if you’re going to try out and of the effects listed below then you should read it first.

If you’ve never heard of Audacity, then here is the website. It’s a free audio editing program with tools to cut and paste sound and to add effects, but it can also be so much more. With just the touch of a few buttons it can take an image and corrupt its form to create something entirely new – and the process is fascinating.

Following Antonio’s tutorial, you can trick Audacity in to opening an image file as a sound. Not only does this give you a sound wave which you can manipulate and bend to your will, but a lot of files sound pretty funky. A bit like if you put a Decepticon in a blender with a couple of R2 droids.

The easiest way to manipulate a file in Audacity is to select a section of the file and apply one of the built in sound effects to it. Now I’m no computing whizz kid but the way I see it when you apply a sound effect to a sound file, the program takes that file and alters the file data in the manner which it’s been told will achieve that effect. So, for example, if you were to apply an echo effect then it would repeat parts of the file, diminishing the repetition after each iteration. The wonderful thing is that it will do this regardless of what the file actually is. Audacity doesn’t know or care whether the file is a sound or not, it will alter it in the manner instructed.

When applied to an image… Well let me show you.


This is a photograph of a fence. You know this. But look what happens when I apply an echo to it.


Pretty neat huh? It somehow LOOKS like you’d imagine an echo on an image to look. Let’s try cranking it up to 11 and seeing what happens when we put a lot of echo on to it.


Phwoa, Melinda! That’s the good stuff.

So, you get it now right? Audacity can be used to manipulate files. Brill-o! Time for us all to go nuts and figure out what all those effects do! Me? I’ve already gone through and tested them all, one by one. What other way of finding out is there?

What’s that? I’ve compiled a catalogue of images that display what each of the built in sound effects do to an image? Oh snap, you’re right!

As I’ve said, experimentation and discovery are a huge part of making glitch art. After messing around in Audacity and trying out all the effects I ended up with the following selection of images for my own reference. I had a lot of fun testing things out on different images and seeing what happened and I wouldn’t want to rob that from you! But I’m also an advocate of sharing these ideas and processes, so if you want to cut those corners and go right for a certain look then here’s a semi-complete list of all the built in sound effects Audacity has to offer!

Consider this to be your Action Replay. The Konami Code of Databending with Audacity. The trip to GameFaqs when you couldn’t figure out that you could just pick up the idol and walk to safety. The…wait what was the question?

Who knows.
Just click this  

Read More

Woah! I want to figure out a way to do this in real time with SuperCollider.

Posted 2 months ago

I have been working for the past couple years on creating a digital archive of Anthony Braxton’s scores and beginning the process of making his scores available to the wider public. The Scores section of the Tri-Centric Foundation website is finally live and I am very happy. I will continue to work on creating more editions of his music in the hopes that more and more people can explore his music.

On the more technical side of things, I have extensively used LaTeX and Lilypond in order to do the typesetting of the covers and of some of the music compositions (Composition No. 131 was typeset in Lilypond).

Posted 3 months ago

Here is a tutorial from Michael Dessen on how to use the JackTrip software to stream high quality audio between computers for rehearsal or telematic performance. I think I am going to try this very soon.

Posted 4 months ago

Supercollider Tweets: Background / Tips


Updated 11/20/2012: Added 7 new tips courtesy of Nathaniel Virgo

I have previously made two blog posts showing some of my Supercollider tweets (Part 1 and Part 2). I posted these up without any real explanation and I wanted to spend a little time talking about why and how I have been…

Here are Schemawound’s tips for writing SuperCollider code that fits within the length of a tweet.

Posted 4 months ago

Using WiiMotes with AbelSim Change Ringing Software


I have recently started learning about change ringing again after a brief time exploring it a few years ago. I have been looking for a way to practice in between sessions and one of the other ringers alerted me to the Mabel (Mac OS X version) of the AbelSim Change Ringing software. This software provides an interface for you to practice different change ringing methods on simulated tower and hand bells. On windows, there is a way to hook up handbell simulator sensors to the computer, but there is no such technique for the OS X version. I have figured out a work around for this by using the Mabel software in combination with WiiMotes and the OSCulator software. 

The basic process is to assign the accelerometer function of each WiiMote to the appropriate keystroke that triggers the appropriate bell in the Mabel program. So then with two WiiMotes you can use one for each bell to practice ringing and get a feel for ringing that is slightly more realistic than pressing keys on your keyboard. The main trick is to tune the accelerometer smoothing value in the WiiMote settings. I have found that a value of 55 tends to offer a good balance in sensitivity where it is easy to trigger the bell, but not too easy that you accidentally ring when you don’t want to. You will have to experiment to find a setting that works for you. 

You can download the Osculator template I created here:

Posted 5 months ago

Reblog if you want your followers to ask you anything they’re curious about.

(Source: okdubu)

Posted 5 months ago

IRIS in Cambridge, MA

I’m performing my solo bass and electronic music from IRIS in quad sound next week in Cambridge, MA. The performance is a part of the Ampersand series which is a collaboration between WMBR and the List Visual Arts Center.

I will also be playing some new pieces at this performance. One from last summer and a new work in progress that incorporates aggressive panning with freezing sound elements. Please tell friends who might be interested. Full details are at this link

Posted 6 months ago

Okay, so I am getting into change ringing again, and this performance is pretty incredible.

Posted 6 months ago

free-programming-books/ at master · nashvillebrigade/free-programming-books · GitHub



A huge index of free resources

Indice de libros de programación gratis.

Interesado en el apartado de matemáticas el cual me hace mucha falta…

Reblogging for later

Posted 7 months ago

Using SuperCollider as an Oscillator and Gate Sequencer with a Modular Synth

Tonight I had the goal of interfacing SuperCollider with the modular synth a bit more. I still don’t have a proper oscillator module in my eurorack synth, so I have been looking for ways to send sound externally into the modular from the computer, gameboys, etc. I have also been wanting to experiment with shaping sequenced sounds coming from SuperCollider using the modular. 

The concept is that SuperCollider generates a constant stream of audio (like an oscillator module), and can be sequenced using the built-in Pattern library. Every time a note changes, SC sends out a gate trigger signal through one of the audio outputs which is then used to trigger an envelope controlling a VCA.

So here is a solution I came up with today. In order to do this you need SuperCollider, a DC-coupled audio interface (MOTU or others), a floating-ring cable, and a modular synth.

The signal flow is as follows:

MOTU OUT 3 (SC audio) —> Filter —> VCA —> Delay —> Speaker
MOTU OUT 8 (SC gate using floating ring cable) —> envelope Trigger In —> VCA CV In
LFO Module Signal —> Filter Cutoff CV In

SynthDef(\oscwithGate, {
	|freq=440, t_envgate=0, dur=1, amp=0.8, audioOut=0, gateOut=7|
	var osc, gater;
	osc =, mul: amp);
	gater =, 0.1).range(0, 5);, osc);,;

		\octave, Prand([2, 3, 4, 5], inf),
		\root, 0,
		\degree, Prand([0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], inf),
		\dur, Pseq([Pn(0.25, 8), Pn(1/3, 6), Pn(1/5, 5)], inf),
		\envgate, 1,
		\audioOut, 2,
		\gateOut, 7,


This code creates the simple oscillator modules and takes care of the gating at the same time. Every time a new note is chosen in the Pmono, the \envgate command sends a “1” which triggers the UGen which is sent to the audio output specified by the gateOut argument. I had to increase the range of the UGen to 5 otherwise I didn’t get a hot enough signal to actually trigger the Trig input on the Maths module.

Questions or Comments Welcome.