For this assignment, I took inspiration from a quote I heard in a movie over the weekend. In “Her” (Spike Jonze 2013), Samantha the artificial intelligence is trying to explain to her human lover why she can’t be with him anymore. She says
It’s like I’m reading a book… and it’s a book I deeply love. But I’m reading it slowly now. So the words are really far apart and the spaces between the words are almost infinite. I can still feel you… and the words of our story… but it’s in this endless space between the words that I’m finding myself now. It’s a place that’s not of the physical world. It’s where everything else is that I didn’t even know existed.
I was struck by the concept of the spaces between words and moments growing increasingly large, expanding to what seems almost infinite, and the sort of sense of being in endless space, but finding “everything else” in between these spaces.
So, I created a system based around stretching out multiple moments of sound to increasingly large and distorted timeframes and then back, allowing us to hear everything that happens between each of these cycles. Additionally, I layered three copies of each sound each expanding and contracting at a rate 2 times as slow as the previous, creating interesting interactions between the frequencies of distortions.
Here’s a screenshot of the patch, which I’ll explain a bit more after this:
In this patch, you load content into a buffer, which is accessed by three [groove~] objects that play back the clip at a variable speed. The variable playback speed is controlled by a metro object which bangs three palindrome (0->max->0) [counter] objects. The output of the [counter] objects are reverse scaled to a range of (1-0), and then fed into [groove~] as a signal for playback speed.
However, each of the counters has a max that is double the previous, meaning it will take twice as long for the track to cycle from normal playback speed. These then move at a rate of (500/1000/2000) steps, times the increment rate, which is entered in ms.
This creates the effect of each track fluctuating in speed at it’s own (incredibly slow) “frequency”, which creates different interesting audio textures. This is better illustrated visually, so I’ve included a gif to explain the cycles of playback speeds.
The colors of the circles correspond to the colors of each track in the max patch:
As you can see, because they are moving at multiples of each other, they go in and out of phase, eventually realigning, and beginning the cycle over again.
I tried this effect with a variety of audio tracks; some produced interesting results, others produced terrifying satanic soundscapes. I’ve attached results using 4 different tracks for a variety of effects.
Comments on each track:
Dukduk – This is probably my favorite one, and the least ear-bleeding of the group. The tonal changes produce an interesting and complex soundscape that sounds like multiple instruments. Audio is a default max clip.
Fairy Fountain – This is the audio track I used for assignment 1, also produces some interesting atmospheric results that get a bit noisy at points, but not quite terrifying. Gets especially interesting at about 3:20ish.
Is That You – (WARNING IT STARTS REALLY LOUD) This was a default audio clip in MAX, I was surprised how complex the sound becomes using such a simple and repetitive clip. The transition from speech to sounds is interesting.
Lonliness #3 (Late Night Talking) – This track is from the Her OST (which is great btw, listen to it) and is already a very slow and atmospheric track, which becomes something more somber and ambient with the time-shifting. Very meditative.
Rains of Castamere – This is from Game of Thrones season 4(?) and is a truly beautiful track, that turns into an otherworldly and frightening demon-summoning ritual that’s chilling to listen to.
Hope you found this interesting!
Here’s the patch: