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