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SuperCollider Symposium 2007: Talks

The quality of the talks at the SC symposium this year was really impressive. Some highlights:

  • Juan S Lach's talk about dissonance curves was really illuminating, including an overview of the psychoacoustics of dissonance and some nice consideration of the interaction between instrument timbre, dissonance, and and musical keys. His demos (using a couple of special SC scripts of his) were really helpful.
  • Jason Dixon talked with some insight about the dynamics of collective laptop improvisation, and some aspects of what make it go wrong or go right.
  • Nick Collins demonstrated his generative synthpop system which can generate a wide variety of extremely impressively "real-sounding" synthpop tracks, by building each of the instrument lines with a contextual awareness of what the other instruments are doing. He didn't have time to go through the detail of how it worked (looking forward to a future paper on that topic), but we were treated to a round of generative synthpop karaoke (with Takeko on vocals)! Generative synthpop karaoke!
  • Wouter Snoei described the wavefield synthesis system he'd been involved in building - including some of the tricks needed to get 8 audio servers (on 2 computers) in the exact sync required to drive the 192-speaker system.
  • Hans Holgar Rutz's "Eisenkraut" (a Java audio editor that uses SC as an extremely flexible effects processor) was really impressive, especially the interface, which looked very usable and very well thought-through.
  • Bjorn Erlach and Luc Dobereiner demonstrated Faust, a functional language for creating audio plugins. I like its approach, and the fact that it can create efficient plugins for a number of different systems, but I still haven't found a case where I want to use it. Its language is a bit alien and at present it lacks a few features that I'd be interested in (e.g. FFT stuff).
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