011 – SoundHacking

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Tonight, I wanted to experiment with an old piece of software called SoundHack. It was created by a professor named Tom Erbe and has been around for a long time (originally released in 1991!). The application has a ‘hack’ called Spectral Mutation, which is sort of unpredictable. Here’s how the manual explains it: “Mutation measures the spectral change over time in two soundfiles (called the source and target) and resynthesizes a new soundfile (the mutant) through various strategies of combination.”
The manual recommends using two similiar sound sources, but out of curiousity, I put two sounds together that weren’t exactly alike – the sound of water and the sound of some chimes I had processed in Logic. I thought the sound was interesting enough to share tonight. I plan on playing with this software more in the future and perhaps some of the sounds will end up in my music.
The picture you see was also created with SoundHack. It kind of reminds me of a Brian Eno album cover. The application can turn sound into a sonogram, so I did that with my mutated sound and then selected an interesting frame from it. Regarding the sonogram, the SoundHack manual says this: “The QuickTime movie will contain a series of sonograms representing your sound. The sonograms have linear frequency on the vertical axis and time on the horizontal axis. Color saturation is used to represent ampiltude and hue is used to represent delta phase.”
If you like the idea of experimenting with sound and sound design, SoundHack is freeware and you can download it on SoundHack.com. There are also free plugins available as well in different formats.