Kyma 7 Soundscapes (More Internet Feedback Loops with Spectral Evolver)

Using the latency from videoconferencing software as a delay for feedback loops, this time with Kyma 7 processing the signal at both ends, creating (noisy) evolving sonic textures.

During the pandemic, conferencing software quickly became a required part of work and education culture.

Of course, this technology’s ability to keep us connected has been and important part of keeping people safe, but we’ve also discovered the quirks of this mode of communication. Being bound to this remote interaction inspires curiosity about its potential for collaborative creativity. Musicians have know for a while about the issues of internet latency in coordinating remote ensembles, but what if, instead of attempting to recreate the conditions of a traditional performance in this new medium, we embraced the “space” created by this conferencing software?

In this performance, the audio signal is sent between the two Kyma systems, creating a feedback loop.

Feedback loops, such as when we put a microphone close to a speaker, emphasize the resonant frequencies—the imperfections—of a system. As we know, the audio of conferencing software is an imperfect connection, with latency, filtering, and audio compression artifacts.

This conferencing-software feedback loop, then, emphasizes these imperfections, bringing out the character of this communication medium as an emergent soundscape.

More explanation of these pieces here:

Check out Will’s channel here!

Audio Feedback Loops in Digital: Cybernetic Music in Symbolic Sound Kyma 7

Building some feedback loops in the digital domain using Symbolic Sound’s Kyma 7.

In audio feedback loops, the output of the system is fed back into an input. We’re probably most familiar with this when we put a microphone in front of a speaker and we get the “howling” sound. Here, though, I’m intentionally building digital feedback loops in order to explore the sonic possibilities of these rather unpredictable systems.

In order to keep my feedback loop interesting, though, I need to keep it from dying away to silence, or blowing up into white noise. By considering the different processes we apply to the audio in the loop (are they adding spectral complexity or removing it?), we can try to make feedback patches that are dynamic and interesting over time.

0:00 The Continuum of Spectral Complexity
3:13 Staring with an Sine Wave in Kyma
4:45 Delay with Feedback
5:49 Building Feedback Loops Manually
8:40 Ring-Modulating the Feedback
11:20 Gain and Saturation
14:22 Exploring the Sound
16:16 Filter Bank
19:05 Jamming with the Patch
22:18 Thinking about Control
23:25 Performing the Sound
26:34 Feedback Loop with Reverb
28:10 Making it into IDM with the Chopper
29:22 So What? Next Steps

More Kyma Videos:

More audio cybernetics and feedback:

Understanding Granular Synthesis

Explaining granular synthesis and giving demonstrations with the Kyma GrainCloud and SampleCloud sound objects.

Granular synthesis is a synthesis technique where we can assemble new sounds from very short “grains” of sound. We can do this with wavetables or longer samples, breaking them down into these short grains before reconstituting them back together in unique ways. Because we can change all of these tiny parts that make up our new sounds, there are exciting opportunities for real time control and performance.

“Krell Muzak” Generator in Kyma 7

Using Kyma 7 to create some generative Sci Fi music inspired by Todd Barton’s “Krell Music” patch on the Buchla Synthesizer.

Once again, I’m back with more ancient music of the Krell. As I mentioned previous weeks, in my regular journeys across the internet, I came across the concept of a “Krell Music” patch–a self-generating patch created by Todd Barton, inspired by Bebe and Louis Barron’s soundtrack to the 1956 film “Forbidden Planet.” The Barrons’ soundtrack to the film is amazing, and a bit beyond what I can get into here (see links below). Barton’s Buchla patch tries to capture some of the dynamic timbres of that score.

My oversimplification of the idea is this: a note has an amplitude envelope–attack and release–and when that amplitude envelope ends it triggers the next envelope. At the same time, that trigger selects a new (likely different) attack and decay time, as well as a new pitch and timbre for the next note. So we create a continuous series of musical tones, each distinct from the one before it.

So, this time, let’s make it in Kyma.

Kyma & DAW Integration with Dante (Digital Audio to Pacarana with AoE)

My students getting started in Kyma often ask me how they can integrate it into music production in their DAW. Now, there are a lot of good reasons to get away from your DAW sometimes, and experiment with different workflows (including those built into Kyma), but let’s set those aside for the moment. With a Dante AVIO USB ($129) and the Dante Virtual Soundcard ($29), you can set up two channels of 48K digital audio in and out of your Paca(rana), enabling you to use it like a plug-in effect with low latency and without any conversion to and from analog.

I demonstrate this in Logic Pro X, but it should work in Pro Tools, Reaper, Ableton, or your other DAW of choice.