Backscatter DVD – Robin Fox


Backscatter. DVD 2004. Robin Fox.

Syn012 2004.

Robin Fox


All visual material contained on this DVD was generated by sending audio data as electrical current into a Cathode Ray Oscilloscope (CRO). The images and audio were captured simultaneously in real time to preserve the one to one relationship between the two signals. The only post production work involved was the 5.1 audio mix/master and colour correction of the video to regain the luminosity of the actual CRO image.

Many of the images could only be generated by overloading the digital sampling system using frequencies above the Nyquist cut off. Therefore, all glitches, foldovers and quantisation distortions are intentional.

Video Capture, Post Production, DVD Authoring: Tim Webster.
Mix and Master: Franc Tetaz.
Cover design: Shehab Tariq, Mark Harwood.
Sound Recording: James Wilkinson.
Thanks to: all of the above a million times + Anthony Pateras, Jim Sosnin, Swerve (dualplover) & Sharpy.
All audio and visual material composed and produced by Robin Fox 2004.

Track Listing
1. Photosynthesis (AOR) 10:40
2. Mandala 1 7:20
3. Green Multiple Rondo (for S. Dunstan) 10:23
4. Entropy (2nd Law) 4:31
5. phase one 5:08
6. phase two 3:38
7. sub band code 6:40
8. Nyquist Variations 10:52
9. Mandala II 4:44
10. helix 12:17

Total Length

Copyright All Rights Reserved Australia 2004

Multi Zone DVD
Audio: Surround and Stereo.



Due to a bug on early Apple DVD Authoring Software, this DVD will not play back in Apple’s DVD Player software. We recommend Apple users download the free VideoLanClient.


Digital Only $12 AUD

Digital culture is obsessed with synaesthesia, especially sound/image convergence. From club ‘visuals’ to automatic ‘visualiser’ plugins for mp3 applications, there’s an ideal of sensory fusion at work which draws on cyber/psychedelic rave culture, and utopian new media discourse.

Ideals aside, digital media forms do create new potential for varieties of ‘machine’ synaesthesia–automatic mappings between sound and image. Visualiser plugins offer specific and more-or-less arbitrary mappings of image to sound. While they can’t (promise to) induce a synaesthetic experience, they do offer a machine synaesthesia that might challenge, reorder, or at least reflect on, our own audiovisual perception. Yet most synaesthesia machines are little more than bolted-on nozzles that turn all your favourite tunes into generic visual sludge.

By contrast Robin Fox’s Backscatter disc presents a highly specific and refined synaesthesia machine. He has assembled a simple audiovisual synthesizer using simple digitally synthesised audio and an old analog oscilloscope. The oscilloscope is in ‘polar’ mode, so instead of scanning left to right, displaying the conventional ‘trace’ of the waveform, the trace orbits the screen. Waveforms create woven circles, loops, twisting spirals, filigreed knots.

Response is instantaneous, so the screen jumps and twitches in sync with Fox’s audio signature skitters and blips. The sound-vision mapping is supple, the images beautiful and sometimes surprising. The pieces feel quite controlled, even composed, the way they seem to literally reveal new twists and tricks. Overall, the results are staggering.
Mitchell Whitelaw Earbash

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