Coding dub techno in Ruby using Sonic Pi

Dub techno lends itself to code thanks to its formulaic nature. Indeed, A Bullshitter's Guide to Dub Techno says:

“Sadly, a lot of dub techno out there is unbelievably dull — greyscale, unadventurous, utterly and literally generic. It must seem easy to make because after all, all you need is the a submerged kickdrum, a few clanking chords stretched pointlessly out into arching waves of unmoving, unfeeling nothingness, and maybe the odd snatch of tired melodica, snaking around like a cobra that desperately needs to be put out of its misery.”

I decided to try to code dub techno in Ruby using Sonic Pi. Sonic Pi is an app for live coding sound. It started as a tool for teaching computer science using Raspberry Pi but it works damn well for making a lot of noise. Here's my attempt at coding dub techno in Sonic Pi:

The source code is available here.

My attempt exploits some of the dub techno stereotypes, such as the excessive repetition progressing as I slowly build the sound. As Joanna Demers writes on dub techno and related genres in Listening through the Noise: “Static music goes nowhere, achieves no goals, does no work, and sounds the same three hours into the work as it did when the work began.” In case of dub techno, it is an intentionally bare and stripped-down version of techno. It often focuses on the timbre of sound, using modulating synthesizers heavily drenched in reverb and echoes. Demers writes: “Static music is not only music that avoids conventional harmonic or melodic goals but also music that takes specific steps to obscure any sense of the passage of time.” Dub techno keeps melodic or harmonic progressions to a minimum, usually employing single minor chords oscillating through entire tracks. In my code, I use solely the D minor chord, which varies only in chord inversions and octave shifts.

I think that Sonic Pi offers a fluent live coding experience. For example, the nested with_* functions (such as with_fx) accepting Ruby blocks as arguments provide an intuitive way of representing bottom-up sound processing pipelines. Furthermore, live coding provides a fast feedback loop. Your ears are the tests of your code and you can hear the results of your code immediately.

Overall, I really enjoyed this attempt at dub techno. I would like to thank to Sam Aaron and co. for creating Sonic Pi and I would encourage you to give Sonic Pi a shot.


  1. Absolutely amazing work. Thanks so much for sharing. Please keep on creating more stuff with Sonic Pi - I have so much to learn from you...

    1. Thanks, Sam! I still have a lot to learn (for example, correct syncing), so I'll be definitely spending some free time with Sonic Pi.

  2. I know this is one of the most meaningful information for me. And I'm animated reading your article. But should remark on some general things, the website style is perfect; the articles are great. Thanks for the ton of tangible and attainable help. Technobix

  3. I will give you 80 NICHE Relevant Blog Comments safe and effective for your site to Rank on Google and other Search Engine. You get 80 HIgh Quality NICHE Relevent links in a 3 days for only in 5$. 80 Niche Relevant Blog Comments

  4. here is my great offer i will provide you 80 niche relevant hight quality blog comments with high authorize sites good for your website rank your site on google, bing, yahoo etc. All comments are manually No software use. 80 niche relevant blogcomment

  5. To do Not Pressure OR Anything, But Have Ever This considered post there is statement PT Lampung Service this is a
    Service HP Bandar Lampung whose looking to do day
    Service iPhone Lampung to this looking then to out standing that is
    Jasa Kursus Service HP I will try it.
    Jasa Kursus Service HP They have jumping places and so that the device other kid's activity.Youtuber Lampung , Thanks ! Visit Back.

  6. Excitement woke up and you do not know how to tire him? Come on BGAOC and try your hand. gambling day .Win here and now.

  7. Dumps collection is the website that deals in preparation material for the exam for many years. According to my exposure and research, this is the right platform where you can get exact exam dumps. 700-265 exam questions