Mutant is a real time sound application that refers to the persist process of creation, reincarnation and transformation. It appeals to the sonic memories of the participants and let them dive into acoustic stories, like the sound of the sea, the woods, the streets. The interactive play with several players and different acoustic and synthetic instruments led to various situative soundtracks from multiple perspectives.
Various collaborative apps allow users to work online simultaneously on a document, code or track. Beside new tools that create compositions in conjunction with artificial intelligence, established digital interfaces are synchronizing devices and electronic instruments through collaborative data exchange.
The project explores what happens if two or more users create a piece of music together by listening to it at different speeds and in different keys. On this basis, various experiments were carried out to investigate the interaction and behaviour of several collaborating users, as well as searching for solutions and parameters to represent music in a multi-perspective approach.
Mutant's first prototype is a multiplayer application that enables users to create sound and music together. The app focus is the tesseract - a four-dimensional geometric shape, that serves as a metaphor for multiperspectivity. Its eight cells stand for eight different perspectives on the same piece of music, which differ in key and speed. The players can freely switch between these cells via a navigation system. In this way, people can interact in different cells and accordingly from different perspectives.
Navigation inside of the tesseract
Each of the eight Tesseract cells has its own specifications in the way how the instruments sound and in which tonal environment the piece of music takes place. The navigation system allows players to enter other cells by rotating the tesseract. According to defined parameters of the cell, the basic tones and tempo will change and reproduce the same recorded notes and values with different characteristics. The recorded melodies and rhythms can thus be heard and developed from different musical and tonal perspectives.
Instruments and Controllers
The central cube of the tesseract has six surfaces. Each surface comprises one instrument: synthesizer, strings, bass, arpeggiator, drums and percussion. Every instrument include four control layers. These are used to record tones, to change their dynamics, to deform the sound and add diverse effects.
Loop-Recording and Data-synchronization
Similar to musicians who work with loop machines, all touch interactions are recorded and played back via loop recording. The devices, which are connected via a local network, exchange the recorded data as data loops. Each loop has a fixed clock length and resolution and can be written and played back at different speeds. Data exchange via OSC (Open Sound Control) takes place in two separate steps: In the first step, the interaction of the respective participant on the other device is moment only visualized for the time being. In the second step - after completion of the interaction - the recorded data will be transmitted. Afterwards - and only then - the other players can hear the changes. The subdivision of the data exchange into these two steps ensures clock-synchronous playback of the recorded melodies and rhythms at different speeds.
Experimental prototype and interactive music album
Mutant offers individual composition to be experienced from several musical perspectives and in different sound landscapes. The stylistic figure "Tesseract" and the cross-cell instrumentation give the possibility to listen to intuitively recorded loops directly in various keys and speeds. The creative process of Mutant led to different versions of the tesseract, which can be selected by the listener within the application similar to songs on a CD. In this sense, Mutant resembles an interactive music album in which each song has its own instrumentation, mood and dynamics. It becomes audible through inputs and interactions and can be interpreted individually or together.