Tom Moody provided an answer to a question I had asked awhile back, at twitter.com/disquiet:
“Wondering if there’s a sonic equivalent of (or parallel to) an animated GIF, and if so what it is.”
The question yielded some immediate responses at the time, beginning on May 17 in the form of comments, some collected here, at disquiet.com, and others at this site’s facebook.com/disquiet.fb page. Among them were these suggestions: A loop? A ringtone? Samples? Even a “crankable music box”? The latter is an especially enticing idea because it locates not only a sonic approximation of lo-fi visual reproduction, but does so in a technology that predates computers, let alone animated GIFs, significantly so. The general consensus tended to be that a MIDI loop is the equivalent of an animated GIF.
Moody, about a two months later, summed up his proposal at his excellent tommoody.us website as follows:
It would have to be (a) short, (b) a loop, (c) digitally timed, (d) compellingly misaligned in some way, (e) easily grasped by the listener but containing some subtleties that reveal themselves in repetition, and (f) pattern-based. Obviously we’re talking about the more abstract GIFs here, not a seagull strolling into a convenience store and stealing a bag of chips over and over.
In the process of pondering the question, Moody also recorded an example that fulfilled his hypothesis (MP3).
He explains what we’re listening to:
Here, three sequences play simultaneously. Two are the same note pattern played on different synths a few steps out of alignment. The third is a different, mostly rhythm pattern. Some unexpected syncopations, polyrhythms, and polyphonies result.