I first came across Hilbert curves in Tom Johnson’s book Self-Similar Melodies, and first used them as the basis for a piece of music with curve-ing hil – written for Hilary Jeffery as part of a composer/choreographer workshop back at the turn of the millennium. I revisited them again in 2015 with a little screen-reader piece put together as part of my 101 x 101 Words project.

This morning I suddenly got to thinking of Thomas Brinkmann – his Variations in particular. A quick search to see what he’s up to these days took me to his latest album – filled with Hilbert patterns it turns out.

Very much an on/off music and a demonstration of what can be done within those constraints – in contrast to the recent move towards greater digital expression that Darwin Grosse covers in a recent series of interviews on his Art + Music + Technology podcast.

From Hope to Demagogue.

Last year I intended to round off my series of SPYO posts with one on the Shepard Fairey “Peace” mural at Jagtvej 69 – one of “the birds” makes an appearance there too.

Today seemed an appropriate day to finally get that done.

Last year I came across a fascinating lecture by Just Van Rossum in which he explores the The Sound of Shapes & Shape of Sounds. I finally got round to figuring out how to create those shapes myself with a little help from Hansi Raber’s OsciStudio coupled up with Blender. (There’s a nice video explaining how he got started with the whole thing.)

Hansi created OsciStudio as part of an oscilloscope music project together with Jerobeam Fendersen. Looking though some of his Max for Live patches I came across a little oscilloscope, and together with Ableton’s Operator synth could easily get some Lissajous shapes going. The ‘coarse’ frequencies in Operator follow the overtone series and one can set the phase relationship, so it’s easy to set up the Lissajous curves for different frequency proportions. Operator also has a wide variety of wave shapes that one can easily experiment with.

Following Just van Rossum’s idea of applying the Lissajous principles to letter shapes,1 I used Blender to trace the outline of the letter S in three typefaces, and recorded the resulting waveform as generated by OsciStudio. Those soundfiles are then filtered with a little LFO sweep in Ableton Live which gets the letters to dance. That’s an Arno “S” in the video.

An Ableton Live Pack containing it all can be downloaded here.

  1. See in particular the section on letter shapes that starts a little after 6 minutes in: 

Helge Slaatto performing fuglens flugt at the Vagn Steen memorial exhibition last Friday.

The background is a large print of one of his poems. A digital version of the poem/pattern, as well as a short commentary1 by the poet himself, can be found on CYF’s afsnit P.

And that reminds me of Mariko Kosaka’s knitting patterns.

  1. Typewriter text can be printed in various ways. On a typewriter “treret” (three plain) and “3vrang” (three purl) both fill 6 places, they are precisely the same width. But when printed in booktype that’s not the case.

    I’m not sure how well that suggests a section of a knitted sweater.

    In that case one could talk of a double-reality: both sweater and poem. And I could find a typeface more curly or ‘woven’.

    For me it’s forst and foremost a pattern, a form-poem.

    I ‘read it as a poem’.

    Had I had a computer in 1962, I would surely have presented it with the most ‘patterned’ font I could find. 

Sounds from the parking lot of a certain pharmaceutical company I pass by every morning. This morning employees were having their tyres changed: Two guys with a truck, some tools, and a trailer.

In three movements:

Paved Paradise I
Paved Paradise II
Paved Paradise III