Riff Loop

Overlapping tightly-packed red and blue lines leave the center of the page with seemingly random lengths. A white circle is cropped from the center
Using audio analysis to create visualisations of looping riffs
Print Date

Using music data as a source to create prints can produce something with a very personal feel. Different audio samples can create unique designs depending on the tempo, complexity and rhythms. For this line of experimentation, a circular layout visualises a loop-able audio sample — a single riff, or a complete section of a song.

Once a section of audio is selected, each of the two stereo channels are divided into 720 evenly-sized chunks. The samples within each chunk are analysed, averaged and normalised using the JavaScript Web Audio API. The output is an array of numbers between 0 and 1 which are then used as length multipliers when laying out the individual lines.

Each of the 720 lines are rotated by 0.5 of a degree from the previous, with a total of up to 1440 lines per design for the two channels combined.

A closer view of a section of the previous piece, showing how the different colours and lengths of lines overlap and interact

This piece visualises a riff from the song “White Walls” by Between the Buried and Me, starting at 11 minutes and 22 seconds. The loop lasts about 5 seconds. The sound is of a full band playing quite technical music, which results in a chaotic but interesting output.

Pens used

  • Stabilo Point 88 Fineliner

    0.4mm
    Ultramarine, 88/32
  • Stabilo Point 88 Fineliner

    0.4mm
    Red, 88/40
A timelapse of the second channel

The choice of audio can produce very different results. This next plot represents the opening guitar riff from the classic rock legend “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple.

In contrast to the previous example, you can air-guitar to this riff as you read clockwise from the top.

A purple and navy iteration with more distinction between sections of lines, representing separate guitar strums

Pens used

  • Stabilo Point 88 Fineliner

    0.4mm
    Night Blue, 88/22
  • Stabilo Point 88 Fineliner

    0.4mm
    Violet, 88/55

Further Exploration

A metallic green ang gold plot in the same style
A final example – a close-up view showing detail of a red and yellow version