Here’s a fairly rough video, showing some of the steps and processes used to generate Sound1.

Generative Sounds Sound 1 from Generative Sound on Vimeo.


This is Sound Number 1.

It has been generated using Max/MSP and Processing.  It was generated using an oscillator, the frequency of which is controlled by Twitter.  In this instance, the search term “Bieber” is used to create an expanding list of tweets in Processing.  The length of this list is sent from Processing to Max/MSP via the MaxLink bridge.  As the length of the list increases, the frequency of the oscillator also increases.

“Bieber” was chosen as a preliminary search term due to the high volume of tweets containing the word.  This allows us to scroll quickly through frequencies and demonstrate that sound can be created and controlled by third party data.

This sound has been created purely as a proof of concept.  It is hoped that more complex sounds will be created in the near future.

I’m keen for this project to know its place in the wider context of the generative art world. To help facilitate this, I’m going to do a few posts about artists working in the field.

The logical place to start (given that he helped to create one of the programming environments that I’ll be using) seems to be with Casey Reas.

Now, I don’t want to appear lazy but, fortunately, someone’s already done a lot of the legwork on this one. Thanks to the really rather brilliant Protein Network, there’s already a great interview with Casey available here:


While I’m obviously grateful that Casey (and Ben Fry) took the time to develop Processing, what interests me more is the way that he uses third party data to create beautiful things. If you want an idea of the sort of things he creates, and how mind-bendingly smart he is, have a quick look at the work called Signals over on his website. It’s the idea that you can take data out of its original intention and use it to create something new and (mostly) unpredictable that I find really fascinating.

As well as creating beautiful things from other people’s data, 2011’s Immuring shows how outcomes derived from his processes and shaped into three-dimensional forms, can be equally as beautiful.

If there are artists working in the field of Generative Art that you think I should know more about, drop me a comment and let me know.

From time to time I’ll try and post working examples of projects that utilise Processing, Max/MSP or sound as a primary medium. The film above is a great place to start; as well as the finished article, there’s a great making of documentary as well.

If you find things like this online, please drop me a comment with a link.

This blog will be used for the documentation of a new project, creating soundscapes from third party data.  It draws in influences from a variety of different cultures; remixing, improvisation and mash-ups will all feature in the finished product.  Over the next few months (and possibly years) this blog will document the progression of the project, the lessons that I hope to learn and the influences that have helped to shape it.

Please feel free to leave comments or point me in the direction of further reading.  You can also follow the project on twitter and vimeo.

Twitter: or follow @generativesound