iPod Chance Music

iPod shuffle colors

howsthatsound has posted an interesting experimental track that explores using the iPod’s shuffle function to create chance music:


Here’s the background on the track:

This track was assembled in real-time, or as I implied, improvised by my ipod. I selected three sound files to use as material and chopped them up into individual sound events.  I also gave a similar treatment to about four minutes of absolute silence. I took the sounds and the silence and made a playlist on my ipod containing all of those fragments. I then set my ipod to play the playlist at random, and began recording. I did this twice, hence the stereo version above.

The sound sources were:

  • The ambience and chatter preceding a musical performance I recently recorded.
  • The sounds of my dogs wrestling, which i fed through noise removal software
  • The sounds of an overtone sax thing i made 

I’m pretty impressed by the results, and I think I may be working in this way more in the future. I’m always intrigued when I hear sound events happening without the burden of the human perception of time. There can never be any real “groove” or “vibe” or “flow” to random sound, so you never get into a scenario of sound events being predictable, and i like this element of surprise.

While this track explores using this idea within an avant garde/experimental context, it’s easy to imagine this same approach being used in creating ambient music and other types of music. 

Leave a Reply