Baby Reindeer

This generative EP plays continuous music that drifts within a mood without repetition, making it an ideal companion for reading, work, relaxation, and those times when you want to listen to something that dissolves into the environment and yet is always there. The sound is ambient, electronic, and minimal through a mix of sampled micro-textures, melodies, and atmospheric washes. No interaction required—just launch and listen. Headphones or a quiet amplification system are recommended.

The real baby reindeer is actually a toy—the Fisher-Price “Ocean Wonders Soothe and Glow Seahorse.” It was a gift to my son, who cuddled with it at night and enjoyed the mix of classical melodies and ocean sounds. When my daughter saw it for the first time she squealed with delight, saying, “Oh look! It’s a baby reindeer!” It was soft. It lit up when you squeezed its belly. Everyone was fond of the “baby reindeer.” I was fascinated with the way that, as its batteries ran down, the melodies and ocean sounds would detune and garble. Short, micro-recordings of these sounds comprise many of the parts heard in this music.


Max and Max for Live were essential to developing this music in the early stages of the project. With these tools I was able to digitally process, and then test different sounds, mix parameters, and generative behaviors before porting to ActionScript 3 and publishing for iOS with Flash CS5.5 via Adobe AIR.
With Max I created several different generative instruments. These assign a sound or bank of sounds to a particular behavior such as random no repeats, random sequence, x-fade sequence, and so forth. The behavior of each instrument can be changed in real time to help work out intervals and densities for the final piece.
Max for Live hosted many of the DSP effects that were used. In particular, Robert Henke's Granulator, Grain Freeze, and LFO modulators were essential to creating many of the textural elements that were used.

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