iMonkeypants

iMonkeypants is an album of algorithmically generated, listener-interactive electronica in the form of an iPhone app. The music responds in real time to the position of the device, giving the listener control over certain aspects of the sound while it plays. iMonkeypants is now available for download from the App Store.

For questions, comments, and support, email: iMonkeypants (at) ryancarter (dot) org

Watch the iMonkeypants video:

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More Information

How does it work?

iMonkeypants is "algorithmically generated," meaning that it involves no pre-produced or pre-recorded sound files. Instead, all of the sounds are synthesized in real time from code written in a programming language called RTcmix. This allows me to incorporate data from the accelerometer of the device into the code, allowing the listener to control aspects of the sound as it is generated. Tipping the device from one position to another may, for example, raise the pitch of one musical layer while changing the volume of another and transforming the "color" of a third.

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Why isn't background audio supported?

Because control over the sound depends on the position of the device and because any unique position will result in a unique sound, the screen may often be pointed away from the listener. (This is the same reason the app doesn't involve interactive graphics.) The music is not really a background texture, but more of an immersive experience.

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Why is there no option for pausing, rewinding, or fast forwarding?

Because of how RTcmix works, the rate at which the music unfolds is determined immediately after the play button is pressed, so the music can't be accelerated or rewound. If there's enough demand, I may add the option to skip to the next section or loop the current section of a track. (Each track is actually split into several source files, and it would be possible to skip from one to another.)

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Why are headphones recommended?

One of the primary forms of interactivity is spatial (i.e., whether sounds are in the right ear, left ear, or somewhere between). Rotating the device can create the sense of sounds moving around the listener's head, but this effect is lost when listening to the music through the internal speakers of the device. The last track on the album, in particular, doesn't work well without headphones or external speakers.

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What's the deal with the app icon?

The icon is a stylized "fermata" (a musical indication to hold a note). Because you're literally "holding" the music.

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Headless Monkey Attack

Headless Monkey Attack is a live electronic performance project using the same programming language as iMonkeypants in conjunction with a video game controller.

Recordings, source code, and additional information can be found on the official Headless Monkey Attack site.