You’ve seen oscilloscopes. You’ve heard sounds. You’ve seen oscilloscopes make visual representations of those sounds. You’ve maybe seen oscilloscopes used to make drawings while making sounds. And of course you’ve seen 3D models.

But you probably haven’t seen oscilloscopes used to draw 3D models that make sounds while the sounds match the oscilloscopes in a 3D sound visual extravaganza … which then becomes an entire album with software that goes with the album so you can also use the oscilloscopes to draw 3D models to make sounds.

Say what?

Okay, let’s put it another way. Imagine an Etch-a-Sketch and a laser show decided to collaborate on a glitchy electronic album, and they released a video and software to go with it.

Sort of like that.

Graz-based artist Jerobeam Fenderson is out to solve an age-old problem in the literal fusion of image and sound. Simply put by him, (and accurately), “What sounds good doesn’t necessarily look good and great images mostly just make ear-deafening noises.” Right – that.

Well, he’s been gradually building a vocabulary that both sounds and looks good – and even looks, in some cases, like a literal wireframe drawing. This all looks like a special effect, like animation set to music, but it isn’t. There is actual sonic data informing the image and visa versa. Some of the trick is to do with Lissajous-mode oscilloscope generation, which graphs the visualization of the sound on an X/Y plot – where it makes more sense to the eyes. And some of it is just a combination of painstaking sound design that simultaneously considers the visual dimension.

Watch some stunning videos:

And then you can draw mushrooms too. I’m dubbing this genre Wireframe Mushroom Oscilloscope Dubstep Glitch.

Here’s an explanation:
how it works

And some nice Pd patches to mess about with, for that free patching environment:
Pure Data

Here’s where Kickstarter comes in. Now having put together proof-of-concept for the 3D model-to-oscilloscope software, the sound patches that make nice noises that also make nice illustrations, and some music, the next phase is an entire album. There’s vinyl. There’s sound. There’s a movie.

And there’s also more software – both for 3D models and Max and Pd patches.

Sounds great to me. I also love that this isn’t just a one-off novelty: sharing the tools means people could take the same technique in other directions, and find their own voice. There’s no super-expensive product to buy, either (like a magical next-generation coffee maker that will never ship). Instead, you pay a little, and you get a record. That could be Kickstarter at its best. Essentially, you, the crowd, are the record label.

Oscilloscope Music by Jerobeam Fenderson

But it’s also important that these techniques build on the work of others – because that means others can build further. The technique of visualizing sound is something that could simply become part of the language of music, which I think is all the more reason to support the project.

If you’re into this, definitely keep going for more background:
http://www.jerobeamfenderson.net/tagged/oscilloscope

For more of this sort of goodness, here’s Mac software built in Max/MSP that concentrates on the Lissajous visualization. It’s nice by way of comparison – the ideas are the same, but with its own aesthetic approach. And the more of this, the merrier, I say – we might have a whole scene about to emerge here, especially if there are people like me who never get tired of watching this.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION from Audiobulb on Vimeo.

A demonstration video of Lissajous – an audio visual software module for Mac OS.
audiobulb.com/create/Lissajous/Lissajous.htm
Lissajous is a complex audio/video signal generator built in Max/MSP and inspired by the work of Jules Antoine Lissajous.
The software shows sound oscillations as XY matrix functions and creates complex graphics curves. Lissajous graphically describes sound and allow observation of constantly varying signal voltage of two audio signals as function of time. Video generated by sound can be controlled in endless ways by giving to the user the possibility of a whole-new range of interactions.
audiobulb.com/create/Lissajous/Lissajous.htm
vimeo.com/sineraw
vimeo.com/boozepotato

  • This is my favourite video from this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtR63-ecUNo

    • DPrty

      Get Your Audio Interface Scope Ready

      You’ve probably wondered why images created
      with sound, that are supposed to be stable, sometimes wander around
      slowly on your oscilloscope. Of course you have.

      It’s due to the lowcuts in your audio interface’s outputs (assuming
      everything else works as it’s supposed to). These filters are in there
      to eliminate very low frequencies (way below the audible spectrum) and
      DC offsets (frequency = 0Hz). This makes sense for audio signals but for
      drawing stable images on an oscilloscope they need to go. So here’s how
      to take them out. ……. http://www.jerobeamfenderson.net/post/118602112343/get-your-audio-interface-scope-ready

  • This is my favourite video from this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtR63-ecUNo

    • DPrty

      Get Your Audio Interface Scope Ready

      You’ve probably wondered why images created
      with sound, that are supposed to be stable, sometimes wander around
      slowly on your oscilloscope. Of course you have.

      It’s due to the lowcuts in your audio interface’s outputs (assuming
      everything else works as it’s supposed to). These filters are in there
      to eliminate very low frequencies (way below the audible spectrum) and
      DC offsets (frequency = 0Hz). This makes sense for audio signals but for
      drawing stable images on an oscilloscope they need to go. So here’s how
      to take them out. ……. http://www.jerobeamfenderson.net/post/118602112343/get-your-audio-interface-scope-ready

  • This is my favourite video from this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtR63-ecUNo

    • DPrty

      Get Your Audio Interface Scope Ready

      You’ve probably wondered why images created
      with sound, that are supposed to be stable, sometimes wander around
      slowly on your oscilloscope. Of course you have.

      It’s due to the lowcuts in your audio interface’s outputs (assuming
      everything else works as it’s supposed to). These filters are in there
      to eliminate very low frequencies (way below the audible spectrum) and
      DC offsets (frequency = 0Hz). This makes sense for audio signals but for
      drawing stable images on an oscilloscope they need to go. So here’s how
      to take them out. ……. http://www.jerobeamfenderson.net/post/118602112343/get-your-audio-interface-scope-ready

  • Neil Bufkin

    Okay so this is really cool…

    If you want your mind blown, just check out the videos above. 

    If you want your mind doubly blown, go to a lake, watch these videos for at least five minutes straight, and then look up at the lake. Your eyes will be attuned to sense the vibrational frequencies and patterns that are naturally occurring within the lake… Total mind explosion!

    • foljs

      And if you want to take it up ten notches, drop some acid while doing so.

  • Neil Bufkin

    Okay so this is really cool…

    If you want your mind blown, just check out the videos above. 

    If you want your mind doubly blown, go to a lake, watch these videos for at least five minutes straight, and then look up at the lake. Your eyes will be attuned to sense the vibrational frequencies and patterns that are naturally occurring within the lake… Total mind explosion!

    • foljs

      And if you want to take it up ten notches, drop some acid while doing so.

  • Neil Bufkin

    Okay so this is really cool…

    If you want your mind blown, just check out the videos above. 

    If you want your mind doubly blown, go to a lake, watch these videos for at least five minutes straight, and then look up at the lake. Your eyes will be attuned to sense the vibrational frequencies and patterns that are naturally occurring within the lake… Total mind explosion!

    • foljs

      And if you want to take it up ten notches, drop some acid while doing so.

  • J.R.

    The sound from his videos work from the computer to your own oscilloscope as shown here: http://bit.ly/1F6qDnQ

  • J.R.

    The sound from his videos work from the computer to your own oscilloscope as shown here: http://bit.ly/1F6qDnQ

  • J.R.

    The sound from his videos work from the computer to your own oscilloscope as shown here: http://bit.ly/1F6qDnQ

  • Eric Moon

    Just a note that the Reaktor ensemble Metaphysical Function will let you do a bunch of cool experimenting with this, if you have Reaktor already.

  • Eric Moon

    Just a note that the Reaktor ensemble Metaphysical Function will let you do a bunch of cool experimenting with this, if you have Reaktor already.

  • Eric Moon

    Just a note that the Reaktor ensemble Metaphysical Function will let you do a bunch of cool experimenting with this, if you have Reaktor already.

  • just passing

    Did anyone else find themselves thinking “This is going to be all over the next Autechre album”…?

  • just passing

    And another thought. Before/after pictures of an MP3 conversion.

  • Corey Mose

    I have had some fun playing around Lissajous curves as well. I made a PureData Lissajous plotter here: https://github.com/coreyker/Lissajous and a web audio (works in the browser) plotter here: http://webaudio.reverberate.ca/lissajous/

  • Corey Mose

    I have had some fun playing around Lissajous curves as well. I made a PureData Lissajous plotter here: https://github.com/coreyker/Lissajous and a web audio (works in the browser) plotter here: http://webaudio.reverberate.ca/lissajous/

  • Corey Mose

    I have had some fun playing around Lissajous curves as well. I made a PureData Lissajous plotter here: https://github.com/coreyker/Lissajous and a web audio (works in the browser) plotter here: http://webaudio.reverberate.ca/lissajous/

  • The Dude

    What’s up with the clickbait titles lately on CDM, ‘might make your brain fall out’??
    You won’t believe what happens next!

  • The Dude

    What’s up with the clickbait titles lately on CDM, ‘might make your brain fall out’??
    You won’t believe what happens next!

  • The Dude

    What’s up with the clickbait titles lately on CDM, ‘might make your brain fall out’??
    You won’t believe what happens next!

  • David Newman

    Lissajous

    Audiobulb is excited to bring you an innovative audio & image creative tool.
    Lissajous is a real-time audio reactive graphics application (available as Standalone or MaxForLive) built in Max/MSP and inspired by the work of Jules Antoine Lissajous.

    http://www.audiobulb.com/create/Lissajous/Lissajous.htm

    The media project is born with the purpose of investigating the relationship between sound and vision, chaos and order, closely related to astronomy, mathematics & physics. It explores the field of harmony and disorder and let the user dip into an elegant, dreamlike, minimalistic yet chaotic space which reflects the complex rules of the universe in all its abstract beauty.

    The software shows sound oscillations as XY matrix functions and creates complex graphics curves. Lissajous graphically describes sound and allow observation of constantly varying signal voltage of two audio signals as function of time. Video generated by sound can be controlled in endless ways by giving to the user the possibility of a whole-new range of interactions.
    Operating System: PC Windows or Mac computer (not ipad or iphone).

    Lissajous comes in two forms:
    1. Lissajous Standalone Module
    2. Lissajous Ableton Live Version (M4L Version)

  • David Newman

    Lissajous

    Audiobulb is excited to bring you an innovative audio & image creative tool.
    Lissajous is a real-time audio reactive graphics application (available as Standalone or MaxForLive) built in Max/MSP and inspired by the work of Jules Antoine Lissajous.

    http://www.audiobulb.com/create/Lissajous/Lissajous.htm

    The media project is born with the purpose of investigating the relationship between sound and vision, chaos and order, closely related to astronomy, mathematics & physics. It explores the field of harmony and disorder and let the user dip into an elegant, dreamlike, minimalistic yet chaotic space which reflects the complex rules of the universe in all its abstract beauty.

    The software shows sound oscillations as XY matrix functions and creates complex graphics curves. Lissajous graphically describes sound and allow observation of constantly varying signal voltage of two audio signals as function of time. Video generated by sound can be controlled in endless ways by giving to the user the possibility of a whole-new range of interactions.
    Operating System: PC Windows or Mac computer (not ipad or iphone).

    Lissajous comes in two forms:
    1. Lissajous Standalone Module
    2. Lissajous Ableton Live Version (M4L Version)