Datamoshing audio files

There is good visual stuff in the Glitch art thread. I would like to try datamoshing by messing with WAV audio files and maybe other formats first with a text/hex editor and then standard Unix tools like sed(1), and play them primarily on norns.

Any experiences or pointers? WAV files are pretty straightforward so I wonder can serious glitching occur? How corrupt files will Softcut and SuperCollider tolerate? Has datamoshing audio files yielded something interesting for you or others?


This guy has some nice tips…


I remember being curious but not particularly brave about editing compression codecs… like opening the MP3 codec used by VLC in a text editor and messing with variables, moving things around, and attempting to encode audio with that.
Also, I believe that the particular effect of datamoshing has to do with manipulating hidden frames that are interleaved within the video file that reference relative change. I wonder if there’s a way to do this but with the compression methods in say, MP3, which exploits psychoacoustics. I’ve always been curious to hear what would happen if you turned the MP3 algorithm to 11…


:+1: “Keep embracing a punk mindset” (9:50) plus occultist Pd diagrams :+1:


That’s great, this evening will be dedicated to the topic on norns.


I have advice now

  • do not do it with headphones
  • M-xhexl-find-fileRET in Emacs, enter a hex value with C-M-x
  • snatch a valid WAV RIFF header with dd bs=44 count=1 if=a_normal_sample.wav of=header.wav and then cat header.wav any_other_file.png > any_other_file.png.wav
  • :headphones::stop_sign:

sox does everything in one go:

sox -t raw -r 44100 -c 2 -b 16 -e signed anyfile.any_ext output.wav

I wrote a command line tool for turning arbitrary files on your computer into audio. It is designed for batch processing as I wanted to process gigabytes of data.

Compiles for win, mac, linux :slight_smile:

Let me know if I could help by either providing a binary for your platform or guiding the compile process.

I also wrote some music with the outputs:


Ooh rock on @jamesbradbury93 that’s cool.

Edit oi WTH that’s some interesting music, thanks!!

Edit even more that’s amazing :heart_eyes:

Edit more more more what a cool thesis, i need a PhD project right now let me tell you. Inspiring!


Thank you for the kind feedback :slight_smile: I hoped the web-based PhD might put it out into the open more so its great to see people coming across it. Let me know if you have any questions