You know you’re in for something different with an article that contains this line: “as 256 bytes is becoming the new 4K, there has been ever more need to play decent music in the 256-byte size class. ”

In just a single line of code, Finnish artist and coder countercomplex, working with other contributors, is creating “bitwise creations in a pre-apocalyptic world.” What’s stunning is to listen to the results, even if you have trouble following the code – the results are complex and organic, glitchy but with compositional direction, as though the machine itself had learned to compose in its own, strange language.

This is, naturally, the opposite of the musical coding in the previous post: in place of human-readable languages representing abstractions atop other abstractions, this is pure algorithm transformed into music. Geeky, yes, but it also says something about musical composition and thought independent of the computer. It is as compact an expression of a human musical idea as one could imagine.

I recommend reading the whole blog post (and following the blog for new developments). Embedded in this whole exercise are thoughts about musical algorithms, the history of chip and 8-bit music and the demoscene, and, most interestingly, the question of whether digital music might yet yield “new” (or at least largely unknown) discoveries:

Hasn’t this been done before?

We’ve had the technology for all this for decades. People have been building musical circuits that operate on digital logic, creating short pieces of software that output music, experimenting with chaotic audiovisual programs and trying out various algorithms for musical composition. Mathematical theory of music has a history of over two millennia. Based on this, I find it quite mind-boggling that I have never before encountered anything similar to our discoveries despite my very long interest in computing and algorithmic sound synthesis. I’ve made some Google Scholar searches for related papers but haven’t find anything. Still, I’m quite sure that at many individuals have come up with these formulas before, but, for some reason, their discoveries remained in obscurity.

Algorithmic symphonies from one line of code — how and why? [countercomplex]

But can you dance to it?

Matt Ganucheau contributed to this story from San Francisco.