NRQZ — generative patch from my August 8th livestream

NRQZ, on the other hand, came together fast and sort of exactly as I envisioned it. It uses four sine wave voices. Each voice is controlled by a randomized sine wave for amplitude. The voices are spread out into the stereo field, then pass through a ping-pong/granular delay (delay lines feed into a granular module, the output of which cross-feeds into the opposite side’s delay line; granular module pitched an octave up and a slowly modulated position to add some eccentricies to the process). That goes into some filters, high- and low-pass, before reaching a reverb.

NRQZ stands for National Radio Quiet Zone — an area in eastern West Virginia and western Virginia where radio transmissions are restricted. This is done to preserve the fidelity of the Green Bank Observatory’s radio telescopes (and a few other, smaller telescopes in the area). The Green Bank Observatory provides inspiration for the other element of this patch — each oscillator’s frequency is modulated by a sine wave LFO, tuned to the rotation periods of pulsars discovered by the GBO. The vibrato provided by these spinning neutron stars’ frequencies fades in and out, to mimick the observing windows coming and going (but also aesthetic reasons).

The result is something that I hope evokes the night.

Besides being an awesome name — National Radio Quiet Zone — and awesome set of initials, the NRQZ also only exists in West Virginia because the area it encompasses is rugged and mountainous, which has led to it remaining rural and underdeveloped. There were a lot of radio signals emanating from the area when the designation was made, in other words. And so, it is this complicated marker of Appalachia’s historic underdevelopment, along with the opportunities that development makes possible — not all riches are found beneath the earth, some are spread amongst the stars.

My albums of generative patches:

Also, I restarted my Patreon, since people have asked a lot about that, if you want to support the stuff I do (overly long livestreams, videos of trees, etc.):

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