Archived Pages from 20th Century!!

What do I mean by 'fractal music'?

Self similarity is the essence of fractal geometery. Twigs look like branches, look like trees. It ocurred to me one evening that if I could build some music which incorporated the same sorts of self similar, recursive themes repeated on top of each other over and over again with minor, random variations in the rhythm, I might me able to create something which, even if it didn't sound that great, would at least sound interesting.

 So, for the next twelve hours I sat, strapped to my desk in front of a rickety old Mac IIvx, fiddling with Macromind's sound-edit pro. Despite numerous crashes, restarts and general time delays, I wound up with a little tune I like to call ;-) Plane. Unfortunately stupid PCs cant let you use ';' in a file name so I've been forced to rename it 'Plane'. Annoying huh!

 If there is such a musical category as lo-fi paranoid trance then this is its defining piece. I hope you enjoy it, even though at such a compression you lose quite a bit. In my experience the best way to listen to sounds off a computer is either through an huge stereo, or through headphones.

 All of the sounds were 8 bit, 22Khz samples of things I had to hand on my desk using the standard apple microphone. The speech and 'beat' came from a message left by dave parry on my answering machine. Other noises came from the sound of the modem connecting, the mike being dangled in a wine glass, and me tapping my fingernails onto the desk. (I may also have used a steel ruler to create a boing noise but then discarded it.)

 The finished stereo article exists on a DAT where it takes up 16mb as a 22khz 8bit file. The file I have here for you to download and play has been reduced to 11Mhz/8bit with 6:1 comression. You'll need something like Wham for the PC to play it. Other platforms, use anything which will support the .aiff sound format. I looked about but not being a unix person, could not even begin to find anything. If you know of any pointers to appropriate aiff players for other platforms then send me some mail with the URL and I'll update this space. If there is a simple way of converting .aiff files to .au files on a mac could someone let me know as well.


  • ;-) Plane (6 minutes, approx 650k: aiff format)
  • Jesse, when you dowload your audio stuff can you mail me with the url?
  • Hey you, viewer, if you get into this kind of thing, send me some e-mail telling me what and where.

  • After I finished this little opus I was so impressed that I phoned dave to show off. He responded by paying for me to fly up to Brisbane so he could have a better listen to it, but that's another story.

     When some insane benefactor decides that the world would be far worse off without me then I will attempt building longer fractal compositions by exploiting the inherant chaos within the sounds of traffic and water using 48khz, 16bit samples (DAT quality)


    dave sag

    You may like to pop over to these sites for some other chaos and audio related action. Then again you may not.

    1. OMNi World Wide Distribution Centre A good set of techno related links and stuff based in Russia.
    2. Michael Breen's music page is a very well documented set of music links.
    3. A short article on moshing and sometimes it's just out of context.
    4. Contours of the mind, an exhibition of Sonic and Visual Art at the Australian National University Drill Hall Gallery. Lotsa good info here.
    5. The Radiation Zone, is a place where mutants get together to fiddle about with digital audio and stuff in general.
    6. You might also like to have a peek at the OTIS/Panic(Picnic) first birthday celebrations. - A call to interaction.
    7. While youre at it you may like to pop over to the World Music and Dance festival page - That's Womadelaide to be specific.