Music for Abacus (MP3)

Montreal's Analogue01's various math tunes

The Montreal-based musician who goes by Analogue01 has routinely provided glimpses at his ingenuity. Not long ago, in response to a Disquiet Junto project (number 19) on graphic scores, he took the angular geometries of the subject image and recreated them as dots on a punch card. The origin point was a photo by Yojiro Imasaka; he took it and then reduced it through a series of steps to the sort of thing computers of yore would read for their rudimentary data. The result was a splendid exploration not only of the structures inherent in the subject image but, as he put it in a post-project summary post, of the role of the grid in composition. He runs through the process on his website, with some excellent photos of the various stages.

Among his more recent projects is one whose brief explanatory note when posted to (“Sine waves + abacus. Rough improvisation at home on a Monday.”) asked more questions than it answered. Over at his site, he provided a bit more information: “Here’s a rough, improvised piece that I recorded yesterday afternoon. Just sine waves, an abacus, and some pedals. The sound of me trying to make sense of my gear. This probably what I would sound like if I were to perform live.” And via Twitter, when prodded, he provided a bit more detail still:

Me: “What role did the abacus play?” Him: “It’s the “gurgley” percussive sound in the background.” Him: “Whole process is: synth > tremolo > filter > looper; abacus > contact mic > volume pedal > looper; looper > tape loop > record”

This is the track in question:

The “‘gurley’ percussive” to which he refers is very much core to the track. It makes for a lovely, rhythmic ambient piece, and while the track stands alone as a tidy experiment, it also sits nicely alongside the earlier punch-card project as an example of making music from earlier equipment associated with calculations.

Track originally posted at More on the musician at and

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