Archive for Audiostrobe

Conversations with Andrzej Slawinski: Creator and Developer of AudioStrobe Technology

Conversations with Andrzej Slawinski:

Creator and Developer of AudioStrobe Technology



(From e-Interview with Michael Landgraf in AVS Journal, Spring 2002)





In the late nineties I came across light and sound technology and even my company sold a simple L/S interface for PC and Atari, which has been used in research projects on ETH in Zurich.

What I was missing all the time was the synchronization of soundtrack and the lights. First experiment to achieve this synchronicity was an adaptation of a 4 track tape player, but the results were not satisfactory enough. After the release of my second CD ‘Living Structures’, implementing fractal structures and Hemi-Sync, I realized that this medium is perfect for hiding extra information for controlling the lights. I called the system AudioStrobe and applied for patent and trademark registration in 1992. Also in this year was released first AudioStrobe CD ‘Fractal Dance’, accomplished together with several other artists and singers, which announced a change in Tamas Lab’s music. Besides the fractal and algorithmic patterns there were ‘classically’ composed and arranged titles. Next CDs ‘Light From the Ancient Dreams’ and ‘Doubling Scenario’ continued this trend and ‘Children of the Universe’ was already completed.

I came back to algorithmic composition for a new project called ‘Polar Lights’. These and my other CDs as well as productions of third parties were already AudioStrobe encoded. Today AudioStrobe is an industry standard for encoding CDs and the AS decoder is implemented in many L/S machines.

In my understanding the development of the AudioStrobe system was a try to come closer to the synesthetic experience, more from within the human mind. Today, AudioStrobe system is for me like a grown up child, who will go his own way. Together with a Czech programmer I am working on a release of a comfortable, PC version of encoding software to the music community. Till today all of the 50 to 60 encoded CDs were encoded by me with custom made software running on NeXT computer. The AudioStrobe technology has developed to be one of my main accomplishments in business. I visited many exhibitions in Austria, Germany and Switzerland presenting the system to the public. I was aware that the light patterns on the CD are static ones. Once recorded to a master, they were not variable anymore. I extended my original patent by an interactive version of the AudioStrobe system having in mind biofeedback technology.

Biofeedback and Multimedia

The biofeedback branch of my company started in 1992 with a Polish electronic engineer and German programmer. We released several machines with EEG /GSR /PULS channels and software.

Today we have just two devices available. I am presently programming new biofeedback modules using multimedia technology. One of the main reasons to go to SAE Multimedia Producer course was my discontentment with the software we had for our biofeedback devices. It was very time consuming to program audio and visual applications using C++ as programming language. My idea was that a kernel, carrying out communication and statistic functions should quickly program C++ codes, but the rest, using one of the authoring multimedia platforms. This strategy paid off, and I was able to present a year later my first multimedia biofeedback modules ‘Mental Games’ for diploma work at SAE. The software is being distributed in USA, UK and some European countries.

Meanwhile I founded another company ‘VERIM’ with a former customer from the University of Konstanz, Dr. Klockner. We are giving workshops for sports and energy management seminars. VERIM biofeedback modules use network technology and some of the solutions are subject to patent pending. As this is my present activity I do not have still much retrospective thoughts at this stage, rather visions and ideas for the future. Some of them will be presented in my final work for BA in multimedia.

Back to the Roots?

The multimedia education and programming were one of my main activities in the last two years. I feel that my music and the audiovisual activities stayed in the background. I was just able to compose few new pieces or create some new graphics. Of course the design of the ‘Mental Games’ and VERIM is creative work. But still I am missing the contemplation of doing creative work. Several weeks ago I spent two days on recovering some ideas of fractal music generation combined with new possibilities of multimedia interactivity. I had to stop working further as I was overwhelmed by the first results and this would not be the right time for continuing intensively. I plan to combine it with already available system of generating quadraphonic sound from video frames. Somehow it reminds me of my dreams in Poland to create visuals to Beethoven’s 9th. Although it is exactly the way around this time I hope this is just only a symmetry which will appear in my future activities, perhaps connected with the term of psycho- interactivity.

Sometimes, when I observe the sky full of stars I ask myself, how much was I able to realize of my dreams. I often must admit that it is already beyond my expectations. Really? Two days ago before finalizing the draft for our patent attorney I accidentally opened a file containing a scan of my poem written as I was 16 or 17, called ‘Thoughts’.

Here is the part I looked at…


-Interpersonal feedback,

-Vibrations seen in sound,

-In colors and feelings,

-Senses wrapped, connected,

-Threads in a spider web

Separated mind being one’”


Thank you for reading my story.

Andrzej Slawinski



Copyright: AVS Journal, Michael Landgraf, Publisher (2012) CA.



Conversations with Andrzej Slawinski: Creator and Developer of AudioStrobe Technology

Conversations with Andrzej Slawinski:

Creator and Developer of AudioStrobe Technology


(From e-Interview with Michael Landgraf in AVS Journal, Spring 2002)



The Way to Self-Recognition

But gradually, after one has freed oneself from all expectations as to human-made music, a kind of intuition unfolds itself, a premonition as to how certain structures are going to behave. Here the meaning of the word ‘Tamas’ which has been derived from Sanskrit comes into play: The recognition of things in its own inherent dynamics and the turning back of the mind which has been searching in the outer world on its own consciousness.

New Dimensions

The Tamas Laboratory tapes and CDs which are available at the present time can be used for meditation, trance dance, deep relaxation, body and breath work, changed states of consciousness; the music can carry us along over a long period of time, the mind not being distracted by emotionally charged structures.

The music encourages us to accept and to trust the psychic processes taking place within ourselves. Thus we can enter into very new and unknown dimensions of the self. Probably this is only the beginning of this kind of music which tries to build up a bridge between art and science…

At this time my interests shifted very much from theater to therapy forms and meditation. I studied breath therapy and group leading for two years. One of the key events was again my visit to the United States, where I attended a week long seminar in Hemi-Sync at Monroe’s Institute of Applied Sciences. Hemi-Sync is acoustic method of entraining the brain to specific states of consciousness. After another visit to the Institute I applied for a Professional Member status and was using this technology in my compositions. I released several tapes for concentration, relaxation, meditation and so on. I was spending most of my work time on creation of new formulas and arranging their output to new musical structures. It was fascinating work and the results were above my expectations.

I was a researcher and an artist at the same time. Soon I found enough audience for this kind of music and I could enlarge my studio with new equipment and employ two people to keep the label working. Still fascinated of Castaneda’s stories and encouraged by a German therapist I attended several workshops where very extreme methods were used. This gave me in the first run new insights to my artistic work. I met Dr. Richard Yensen who was doing formal research in Baltimore. Out of his experience he worked out drug free methods for achievement of psychedelic experiences by audio visual stimulation and breath techniques. I was very much impressed by his slide shows using dissolve techniques with up to eight slide projectors. Inspired by his work I extended my studio with up to six projectors and my electronic engineer designed a control unit for controlling them directly from computer. This way I was able to synchronize the show with the music. One of the first ‘multi-media’, as it was called at this time, was ‘Living Structures’; a collage of slides from all over the world, dealing with the beauty of nature, religions, urbane poverty and man’s destruction. I firmly believe that art can change the world.

This was time of radio and TV interviews. Without any of my own effort I was signed to an artist contract to IC/Digit Music, a CD label working together with DA Music. In 1990 my first CD ‘Brain-Machine’ was released. At the same time my label was selling thousands of copies of the tapes. From time to time I was doing joint projects with other musicians. As a Hemi-Sync specialist in Europe I received many invitations to perform seminars. I built a small biofeedback lab in my studio with EEG devices and mind machines.

But the experiences with the ‘extreme forms’ of self experience became disastrous. I believe now that it was a blind alley, spaced out, far away from the ground. It culminated in the fact that my wife went away with her therapist, who was my teacher at the same time. It took me years to recover from that shock. Here I want to thank Richard Yensen and his wife Donna for their support in these hard times.

Nevertheless, the bad experience had its positive aspects. I had to leave the whole ‘therapeutic’ and new age community not bearing any more their blind and idealistic beliefs. I have withdrawn into seclusion and was not able and not willing to give any workshops. But even in the time of personal crisis I was continuing my artistic work. As an expression of this time I realized a project called ‘Requiem’. My father brought me a floppy disk with data containing a measurement of light emitted by a culture of dying yeast cells. After some mathematical processing I sent the midi data to my synthesizers and recorded the whole session. Weeks later I hired an academic choir from Poland and in one week of improvisations I recorded enough material for a mix-down. It was one of my dark and profound compositions.

Combined with a visual composition of 6 slide projectors and quadraphonic technology it was performed many times. The highlights of this performance was an invitation to Audio Art International Festival in Krakow and to a ‘Genetic Forum’ organized by German State Radio. Living on the bridge between art and science After my withdrawal from the New Age scene, at least I pretended it, although I was mentioned in one of the academic handbooks about experimental New Age music, I discovered that I am in nobody’s land. For ‘academic’ art I was ‘commercial’, for the New Age scene too experimental and scientific. And for the scientific community I was just a greasy artist. Except for some people, who themselves were not willing to accept one life attitude, understanding the world in much complex terms. One of these people was Professor Popp. As my public and my sales diminished I asked him for a job in his lab again and I was glad to hear about a very interesting research project. Some kind of algae was emitting light flashes in intervals.

Two photo- multipliers were registering activity of two algae cultures. The experimental arrangement allowed to switch the sight contact between the cultures on and off. My task was to find by means of mathematical transform (FFT+Correlation) of the data to tunes. It was a pity to terminate the project because of financial problems, after almost one year of the hard programming and experimenting. Once a week I was spending hours with headphones on in the lab, listening to the algae, programming. In the breaks I was talking to scientists from all over the world. Working in this environment recalled my interest for scientific work and love for mathematics.

I refreshed and expanded my knowledge of programming and mathematics by a correspondence degree course in informatics. I changed to SAE in Zurich to learn more about multimedia, now in the interactive meaning of this term. But before that I will return to the beginning of the nineties to catch up with my artistic and commercial projects.


To be continued…

Copyright: AVS Journal, Michael Landgraf, Publisher (2012) CA.

Conversations with Andrzej Slawinski: Creator and Developer of AudioStrobe Technology

Conversations with Andrzej Slawinski:

Creator and Developer of AudioStrobe Technology



(From e-Interview with Michael Landgraf in AVS Journal, Spring 2002)



The following text was written for Multi-Media Presentation about fractal music presented at international conferences and festivals:

Tamas Mandala Music

The newly developed Tamas Mandala Music did not grow out of the inspiration and sentiments of human kind, it is much rather meta- and perhaps transpersonal in its character. The often surprising, sometimes also very strange world of sounds of the Tamas Laboratory is a reflection of natural phenomena whose very structure has amazed mankind since immemorial time. How often as a child or perhaps as a grown- up person, have you observed the rising smoke of a fire, the flowing water of a little brook, or the clouds playing with the rays of the sun?

Just as the unknown plains of the desert with its undulating dunes, the sight of a chain of mountains with its rocks and valleys, or the gently moving surface of the sea, the sounds of the Tamas Mandala evoke emotions of longing for unity with the universe, of endlessly changing forms, and of infinity with its inexhaustible potential. Everything becomes relative. Evaluations have no meaning here, just as no snowflake is more beautiful than another.

Fractal View of the World

We speak of a fractal view of the world which means that forms in different scales of ordering are similar and infinite, that they are recursive (patterns within patterns), that growth processes imply feedback or resonance (are intertwined). An example: A cloud of steam has a form similar to that of clouds and these in turn have forms similar to clouds gathering on a satellite image. These qualities are very well portrayed in pictures of the Mandelbrot Set discovered by Benoit Mandelbrot, who coined the terms ‘fractal’ and ‘fractal geometry’.

The Science of Chaos

The idea on the line of this kind of music has arisen out of a new view of a world which has been developed in recent years by biologists, physicists, astronomers, economists, and mathematicians.

Today this new kind of science which is gaining more and more importance is called chaos theory, because it enables us to find orderly structure underlying chaos. We speak of fractal geometry of nature, dissipative structures, determinist chaos, and strange attractors.

These theories of chaos are being confirmed more and more by different branches of science which have suddenly been reduced to a common denominator. They all enable us to see the evolution of the individual, of mankind, and of the universe in a new light, whereby a mechanistic and static view of a ‘world of things’ is being transformed into a world of ‘growth’. This holds hope of a dynamic world in which everybody is unique and the same time interconnected with everything else ‘by way of chaos’.

The Principle of Conversion

But let us return to the Tomas Mandala Music.

Here are two examples of ‘chaotic’ processes which can be heard by everyone: the dropping of rain and the sound of burning wood in the stove. Both have an effect which is relaxing, soothing, or exciting, because they reflect perpetual change or growth which is inherent in them.

Simple simulations of these processes are represented by wind harps or freely dangling bells which convert the flow of the air into sound. The music of the Tomas Laboratory is also produced according to this principle of conversion, only here as in the case of fractal pictures- the data is computerized.

As today we can more clearly understand chaos, it is possible to convert data into sounds better than any bells can. The sequences of sound are no longer that chaotic and the very complex interrelations can be made audible and visual. And it is also possible to explore an infinite variety of processes, including those that do not stem from this world. Is this the beginning of the ‘Glasperlenspiel’ as described by Hermann Hesse?

The term ‘Tamas’ is derived from the name of the laboratory/theatre where the music originated. Here it was used in experimental theatre and in processes leading to an expansion of consciousness. The music is called Mandala because the sounds can be simultaneously graphically illustrated on a computer screen: Colored fractal mandalas in an infinite variety of forms arise.

Specific mathematical systems on measuring data or physical research results underlay this kind of music. They are used to compute series of figures, these in turn are converted into musical scores and mostly interpreted in a meditative nature.

Out of this arises pieces ranging from ‘The Wheel’ which turns on its own, a voyage into the waves of breath or the ocean, exotic rhythms of the jungle, to an invitation by the universe. The music is quite harmonious at times, but it can also become apocalyptic. The boundaries of chaos are most sensitive and here nothing can be foreseen. The data must be simply computed item by item, and even after the last item has been computed, we do not know how the things are going to continue.

To be continued…


Copyright: AVS Journal, Michael Landgraf, Publisher (2012) CA.



Conversations with Andrzej Slawinski: Creator and Developer of AudioStrobe Technology

Conversations with Andrzej Slawinski:

Creator and Developer of AudioStrobe Technology



(From e-Interview with Michael Landgraf in AVS Journal, Spring 2002)




Tamas’ Theater

In the friendly and international climate of the Heidelberg University I founded a new theater group ‘Tamas Theater’. As starting script was my adaptation of Herman Hesse’s tale ‘A Message From Another Star’. We used black light (UV) and regular spots to change fast from one world to another. In this play dealing with the subject of war and peace we were using recordings of interviews from passers-by on the street and children talking about war. I was using language lab equipment for preparing the tracks.

Outside of Tamas, I rehearsed with a professional Argentinian artist Jorge Aquista. He saw one of my performances and asked me to work with him. His main activity was at this time conducting theater workshops and seminars. We learned much from each other through our meetings in the rehearsal room, where he taught me his techniques and I taught him mine.


We decided to do an audiovisual performance based on Carlos Castaneda’s books, Polish poem writer and visionary Adam Mickiewicz, Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Treaty and others. It was named ‘The Power of the Other Reality’. I played Don Juan, and he, Castaneda and each of one of us was the other’s director. We went on tour to many German cities, living from performances and conducting theater workshops.

My next play was about ‘Birth, Life and Death’, which I performed with my pregnant wife. This time it was a collage of our thoughts about this subject. For the first time I was using a piece of my own composed music, which I performed on a PolySix Korg synthesizer to a 4 Track recorder.

Then, we moved from Heidelberg to a small village, Krumbach, in southern part of Germany. Here I had adapted part of our house to a small theater and workshop room. I continued the ‘Tomas Theater’ doing workshops and seminars. One of our plays was a world premiere by a Russian playwright Vvedensky’s ‘Christmas at Ivanoves’, a very absurd and poetic theater piece.

‘Tomas Laboratorim’

My passions in Krumbach were music and photography (slide shows). First I adapted my PolySix’s appregiator and my Amiga Commodore 64 so that I was able to ‘program’ single music sequences and synchronize it to my 4 track DBX recorder. Using ping-pong techniques I was able to get as many as 10 different tracks. I made my first tape for theater and meditation: ‘Waves of Coincidence’. My next step was to control the single keys of the PolySix by computer. Then, the MIDI system became available.

I bought one of the first MIDI sequencers for Commodore 64 (C Lab?) And a MIDI interface. I sold my good old PolySix with all its extra cables and bought DX7 and Korg synthesizer. The sequencer was very primitive but enough to arrange a piece of Prokofiev. When I received my new copy of the Scientific American, just looking at the fractals pictured inside, I had my first synesthetic experience which changed my life. Here’s a quote from an article I wrote in 1993 for ‘Chaos Magazine’ out of Technical University Munich: ‘My hand moved, attracted to the red, bursting flames, coming from the two connected circles. It was called Mandelbrot set, and I thought, what does it really mean, the ‘almond-bread’, and this strange picture. I opened the magazine and my eyes were pulled into a spiral, a tunnel, where you can fly further and further. My imagination was flooded with ideas for stage design, patterns of colors and sounds. For a short moment I was flying over a landscape, filled with moving, cycling but ever changing color lights and pulsing sounds.

I tried to understand how the pictures were made, and soon I knew, they had been generated by a computer: The Fascinating World of Fractals. The link was there, but no hardware to run it. Just several days ago I had soldiered a small interface to the Commodore 64 computer to run the appregiator of my Korg PolySix synthesizer. I asked our friend, disturbing his talk about the Spanish wine, for the copy of the magazine. Still excited with the proceeding experience, I tried to transform it into musical patterns. The first composition, which included chaos and order in its structure, was done on 10 analogue tracks and I called it ‘The Waves of Coincidence’. I have used it many times in my theater workshops for body relaxation exercises.

Some months later, again inspired by an article on iterative graphics in Scientific American, I began setting up my electronic sound studio. I bought some of the first MIDI synthesizers, a sampler, an 8 track recorder, a studio mixer, effect devices and two Atari ST computers.

The first computer was used to generate a sequence of midi events on the basis of fractal algorithms, to represent the events as a fractal graphic and finally to send it through the midi out to the second computer. There, the midi events were recorded by a sequencer program, edited, scaled to a chosen key, represented as a musical score, transposed, copied to different tracks, reversed, etc. It was possible to assign several different musical instruments to the same part and then store the whole setup on a disk. At this time there was a hardware limitation to 16 MIDI channels, and most of the current synthesizers had no MIDI-mode; they could play only one instrument at the same time. The problem was solved by using the multi-track recording system.

Some of the parts of the musical score were recorded one after another to the multi-track recorder, synchronized to the MIDI clock prerecorded on one of the tracks. The recorded tracks were remixed, using electronic sound effect devices like reverb, delay, chorus, etc. to a master recorder. At this time I used the PCM video system, which was afterwards replaced by DAT recorder.’ As I was getting more and more into experimenting with fractal music, I have discovered that it was more than just fun and strange ideas.

To be continued…


Copyright: AVS Journal, Michael Landgraf, Publisher (2012) CA.


Conversations with Andrzej Slawinski: Creator and Developer of AudioStrobe Technology


Conversations with Andrzej Slawinski:

Creator and Developer of AudioStrobe Technology


(From e-Interview with Michael Landgraf in AVS Journal, Spring 2002)


So, how did AudioStrobe technology begin?

“Well actually, it really is about the story of my life.At the age of 14 I had the chance to visit the Soviet Union and after two weeks recovery back inPoland, to leave for the USA. I think it must be a kind of a culture shock for me visiting so differentsystems in such short period of time. (Apparently Poland was not so much ‘communistic’as it was supposed to be!)

Having the great luck of getting financial support for attending a private high school (Gilman)in Baltimore. There, I was computer spoiled for the first time in my life. Almost every afternoon after the study hall, before gym, I disappeared in the computer room. And what a computer they did have! It must be one of the first solid state HPs with 64 K RAM and large as a wardrobe itself.

But anyway, at Gilman in the music class I heard for the first time in my life Tomita’s electronic interpretation of Musorsky’s ‘Picture at an Exhibition’ and then ‘Switched on Bach’. I was very fascinated by the possibilities of the electronic music and I made my first attempts with the school’s HP. I did not bring it to sing like the HAL computer but still the tape puncher made several different rhythms. Also I used my parents hi-fi set for making recordings of sounds of falling books, clapping chairs and feedback tones between the speakers and the microphone. I played this piece to an American colleague of my Father and he just asked ‘How did you generate this?’ I believe he was disappointed to hear it was so simple.

In one of the mail order catalogs I found simple devices for relaxation using biofeedback techniques. I would love to order one but they were just beyond my financial fantasies. One day I read an article in one of the American magazines about synesthesia. I was fascinated by the descriptions of people who could see sound or smell visuals. Although the description was rather popular description of pathological state I felt that there must be much more about this ‘symptom’ in the art creation process. I did not imagine then that this phenomenon of synesthesia will be one of my main ideas in the role as a producer and director in my life.

After one year of stay in the USA I had to go back to Poland. There was a further electronic music fascination in me especially after watching in Kubrick’s and Clarke’s film ‘2001′ the ‘Tunnel Flight’ scene. In order to heal my depressions from the grey reality of the ‘socialistic’ society and the rigid school system I built a color organ and ‘danced’ with my hands throwing shadows on the wall to the rhythm of the hard rock music of the ‘70′s.

Having just passed my 16 I read an article in an official ‘Poland’ magazine about a Polish artist, Stanislav Ostoja-Kotkowski, living in Australia, who was doing experiments with music and visuals generated through modulation of laser light by the original audio signal. I have seen some of the photographs from his performances and I was very impressed. The editorial staff of ‘Poland’ magazine was kind enough to pass my letter to the artist and some weeks later I received a letter from him. I wrote him back and received an answer again. He was so kind to describe some of his next plans for his project and they dealt with controlling the laser lights with biofeedback in order to create visuals. This brought me back my interest on EEG and other biofeedback systems from the USA. I checked some of the electronic catalogs for operational amplifiers but they were not sensitive enough and not yet available in Poland. I moved to another city with my parents and then I lost contact to Mr. Ostoja-Kotkowski. Today through an internet search I learned that he has passed away. Some of his works are stored in the database of the Melbourne University.

I was able to try out one of the first ‘moogs’ on an international fair in Poznan. The keyboard was a kind of a touch panel. My girlfriend waited patiently for me but I was lost in the world of sounds, starting and stopping the simple sequencer, and playing with the effect patches. Some time later, maybe hours later I just heard a voice ‘We have to close now. Man, you have to stop playing otherwise you will become crazy!’

Together with two of my high school friends we took apart a transistor-built Russian ‘Minsk’ computer, which was ‘donated’ to our school by the local university as they had to make place for a new integrated circuit model. Using these parts and others we were building from optical pickups for guitars up to a simple polymoog system including a ring generator and some audio effects. With these equipment I did my first compositions.

This was time of many changes, in myself, as well as in the political climate in Poland. My inner outlets was reading modern literature, writing poems and play scripts, short stories, experimenting with sound and I also started to paint again.

This time I had a project in my mind where music and visuals would be united in a synesthetic experience. I planned to use air-brush technique and frame by frame recording film camera. The music was to be the first part of Beethoven’s 9th. In high school I began to study physics but soon noticed my artistic part taking over. I joined one of the experimental theater groups, ‘Maya’, first as doing lights for the running play, but soon I had the chance to receive professional training as actor. This was fascinating time working on plays, improvisation techniques, changing and growing. I visited many Polish and international theater festivals, workshops and other cultural events. These 3 years were so intensive for my personal growth process, intensive in the social changes culminating with the ‘Solidarity’, and in the interaction with the artists in the community that it is more proper to spare all this memories for a separate story.

 To be continued…

Copyright: AVS Journal, Michael Landgraf, Publisher (2012) CA.