Visual Space Music

Concepts being explored in VSM

VSM enables anybody to experience music in a very unique way, almost as if they are somehow inside the music, or at least inside a surreal sequencing synthesizer world.

Audio and Visual Aesthetic / Sound Object Identities

Early Graphics Example
An Early Version's Graphical Environment (360 degree panorama)

VSM has a very retro aesthetic due in large part to its wireframe graphics and on board bit-crusher sound effects. After completing an early sound-only version, I happened to be watching Tron (yes, the movie Tron) and some brainstorming came after... just as the protagonist in Tron is transported into a living world of the computer, I thought a user could be transported into the world of a synthesizer. Where in Tron the programs have identities, in VSM we can interact with a synthesis object. Some further inspiration for the graphical engine came from games of a similar era as Tron the film, such as the original "Stellar 7" or "Elite".

The retro feel also helps take VSM very firmly into the digital domain, emphasising the synthesis of the sound and the surreal nature of the experience. VSM is not a simulator; it is an entirely new virtual experience, exploring a fictitous living world of the electronic.

Spatial Arrangement

One of the original ideas behind VSM was to create a new way to explore music; VSM takes this quite literally, using what I call "spatial arrangement" -- by having instrument objects in a virtual space and a listener/user navigating around exploring and manipulating them, creating music as you go.

Traditional electronic arrangement and sequencing is time based: we arrange melodies and rhythms, loops and patterns using time. (e.g. play pattern 1, in so many beats and phrases, play pattern 2)

In VSM, space is used to create an arrangement; we set objects to play certain sounds or melodies and move between them in a virtual space, we take different paths to hear different arrangements of sonic and visual material. The arrangement is made intuitively--it is how we normally listen, by moving through an environment in real-time.

Surround Spatial Mixing

While adding to the realism/surrealism of VSM's virtual space, the spatial mixing system is also an area worth exploring independantly.

Music in our time is almost always presented to us in a 2D form; instruments and sources of sound are mixed only through 2 points. Even surround sound in cinemas is often very limited with extra channels being used simply for special effects, offering no real spatialisation.

VSM experiments with true spatialisation, automatically mixed in real-time using the ambisonics technology. Objects fade in from the direction you move in and the entire track can spin around the speakers whilst still holding each object's relative position, adding a unique and very overlooked dimension to audio production and reproduction. All controlled simply and one-handed via the joystick.