Put your hands up for the COMMAND LINE INTERFACE!!! <3 <3 <3 (um... photo courtesy BT)

From the mysterious underworld of 80s sound software, it’s a library of free sound transformation tools so cool you’ll happily head to the command line to run them – no real-time preview to be found.

No, seriously. Even if the fanciest you get is changing a preset in Logic, you want to hear about this.

Self-professed addict of sound geekery BT took to a packed room at New York’s Cielo to tell an assembled group of aspiring producers why they should embrace the Terminal. His video is a fantastic introduction to the tool. Dubbed Composers Desktop Project – after the UK-based cooperative that maintains the tool – this is open source (LGPL) software for any platform you like that performs archaic alchemy on your audio files.

But that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that the sonic results are brain-exploding in their transformational powers.

Hosted by Dubspot, one of our favorite sources of knowledge (and now going multi-city as well as online), BT uses this as a centerpiece to a surprisingly deep-yet-beginner-friendly sound design workshop. Watch:

About the software – there is actually a GUI, called SoundLoom. But much of what you want here primarily is simply a library of sound transformation and editing functions, which you can run from the terminal on OS X, Windows, or Linux. Downloads and documentation:

It’s not terribly user-friendly, so what you want is the two-part workshop series PDFs, which get much clearer.

And these get into why this stuff is cool. Filled with audio examples, you get into the meat of what this is about. The basics are covered, but then you get into weird implementations of distorted repetition and re-pitching, spectral and stepped time stretching, odd transitions and morphing.

None other than composer Trevor Wishart steps in for one of the workshops. And here’s why the texture program is cool:

Here are some of the many