Asemic Writing is a wordless open semantic form of writing. The word asemic means “having no specific semantic content”, or “without the smallest unit of meaning”. With the non-specificity of asemic writing there comes a vacuum of meaning, which is left for the reader to fill in and interpret. …. Asemic writing is a hybrid art form that fuses text and image into a unity, and then sets it free to arbitrary subjective interpretations. …
Inspired by a challenge launched by Robert Boran on the Facebook group Creative Coding with Processing and P5.js I created a Processing sketch that simulates an Asemic Writing. The technique is based on a sequence of eight random “words” that alternates randomly; each “word” is a combination of “elliptic oscillators” that follows the rectlinear movement of the (hidden) pen on the page.
The animation is accompained by a simple purely generative soundscape made with VCV Rack and Native Instruments Absynth VST.
This is the final result.
As soon as I clean-up a little bit the code (actually a mess) I’ll publish it here and add more details.
In a previous post (see here) I talked about “The world’s ugliest music”, a composition made by Scott Rickard using some math techniques in order to minimize the repetitions and the predictability of the sequence of notes. I also made my personal interpretation of the piece using a synthesizer and VCV Rack.
Then I launched a “challenge” on the VCV Community site asking VCV users to give their own interpretation of the ugliest music in an “sci-fi alien context” starting from the MIDI file or a small VCV template with the sequence. Many users accepted the challenge and created very interesting patches (and accompaining videos) … surely if put together they well represent THE UGLIEST ALBUM: The Alien Ping.
Recently I saw a TEDx video by Scott Rickard about “The world’s ugliest music”; and I suggest you to watch it.
Usually good music is characterized by a balance between repetition and variation, applied to one or many of the components of the music itself: melody, texture, rhythm, form, and harmony. So what happens if we try to completely remove the repetitions?
In Scott’s music a math formula is used to generate all the 88 notes of a piano and their duration: starting from value 1, the next value is generated multiplying by 3 the previous one. If the value exceeds 88 then 89 is repeatedly subtracted until the value falls back in the 1-88 range:
1, 3, 9, 27, 81, 243–>154–>65, 195–>106–>17, … and so on
The duration of the notes are calculated using a Golomb ruler : each note is placed on the timeline in a special position (“mark”) in order to avoid any recognizable rythmic pattern. Indeed in a Golomb ruler the positions of the marks are such that all distances between them are distinct. The sequence of 88 note durations (expressed in 1/16th) used in the ugliest music is the following:
You can listen to the music played on piano in the last part of the TEDx video; the title of the piece is “Costas Golomb N.1: The Perfect Ping” … and it is quite ugly. But I like creating “bleeps and bloops” on a modular synthesizer (actually I’m using VCV-Rack and a semimodular Behringer Neutron), and sometimes the results are often not really melodic … so I tried to make a patch and play the ugliest music on it.
I also made a simple sketch in Processing 3 in which the 88×88 grid (notes are from left-to-right, top-to-bottom) are displayed and a “sonar ping” is generated when each note is played.
If you want to experiment yourself you can download:
Forbidden Planet is a 1956 American Science Fiction film; one of the best SF films of those years (and of all time); all science fiction fans should see it (on a regular basis :-). Forbidden Planet – directed by Fred M. Wilcox – pioneered several elements that were resumed and developed later in many other SF films: humans traveling in a faster-than-light starship; it was the first to be set entirely on another planet far away from Earth; a robot with its own personality that has an active role on the plot.