If a computer could throat-sing, meditating on numbers, it might sound something like this.

Electro-acoustic composer Jeffrey Stolet is Professor of Music and Director of the Intermedia Music Technology at the University of Oregon, but “sonic shamanism” might apply as well. Mysterious sounds emerge from his laptop as he tugs and pulls on a controller, as if extracting sounds from within. (The hardware in question is a Gametrak game controller – a toy game device that has become an affordable 3D music input. Apparently some 300,000 units were sold by 2006, but the controller never caught on as a mainstream input device.)

“Lariat Rituals” is a kind of esoteric improvisation on this controller; the computer utters formants and drones as Stolet shapes and conducts the sounds.

The resulting instrumental environment is what Stolet describes as a “data-driven instrument,” though it seems it would fit in a category with other physical controllers in general.

Sound is provided by the Symbolic Sounds Kyma, a hardware-driven system that uses a graphical programming interface – powerful, if pricey, but on nice display here.

Thanks to Roland Lindner for the tip.