Different Tools for Making Different Musics
Jace Clayton (DJ Rupture) asked me to design the user interface for his SUFI plug-ins project and I happily agreed. SUFI is (presently) a suite of plug-ins for ableton live. They reimagine the role of a plug-in (what if your plug-in lowered your audio during call to prayer? what if the plug-in responded to your geographic location? what if the plug-in limited the rhythm and the range of notes you were able to play?) and as a result point to the ways that existing music technology streamlines certain forms of making.
The challenge of the interface was to create something that invited exploratory play, didn't overly prescribe a user's experience, but gave appropriate hinting to allow a dedicated user to understand the parameters they were controlling.
The interface is labelled in the Berber script Tifinagh (to the extent that we were able to translate terms like "grain delay", "sine wave oscillator", or even "envelope"). The existing examples Tifinagh look surprisingly similar to the vocabulary of the interfaces of the music software ableton live. I tried to design an interface the way I imagined a Tifinagh reader who was familiar with standard synthesis techniques would want it.