What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt

This little gadget is the Pisound, which I spent much of yesterday building under the guidance of a far more informed and experienced friend. Its existence is predicated on the Raspberry Pi, an inexpensive bare-bones computer, around $35, that is used widely in education and by tinkerers/makers. The Pisound is a sound card that attaches to the Raspberry Pi and turns it into a full-fledged media device, with an emphasis on high-grade audio processing. The Pisound is capable of serving many purposes, including a networked audio player. What I’m most interested in is its ability to serve as a programmable musical instrument, such as an effects pedal of infinite possibilities. After we got it set up yesterday — the Raspberry Pi organization is based in the U.K., and Pisound arrived from Lithuania — my friend showed me how a single line of code could transform my inbound electric guitar signal into an outbound warble that sounded like we had captured Angelo Badalamenti’s spirit in one tiny little semi-opaque box. Anyhow, yesterday was day one. Actually, the first thing we did, even before the guitar processing, was to drop in one of Fredrik Olofsson’s mini-compositions that come in the form of Twitter-sized bits of SuperCollider code. Makes me want to get a second PiSound and make a music box of generative compositions. I’m looking forward to exploring this thing more as the summer progresses.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.

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