Koan

SSEYO Koan

Brian Eno used it. Where is it now?

SSEYO Koan Pro and Generative Music 1

With us, Tim and Pete, at our new company Intermorphic!

Having co-founded the company SSEYO in 1990 we then started building the SSEYO Koan Music Engine (SKME) and SSEYO Koan branded apps that wrapped it. We sent out the first SSEYO Koan app Betas in 1992 - over 24 years ago, and way before the genre was ever called "Generative Music" (in fact, before that we used to call it "Koan Music")!

We published Koan Plus in 1994 and, at about the time in 1995 as we were readying Koan Pro V1.0 for release, we were lucky enough to bring it to the attention of Brian Eno. In autumn 1995 Eno started working with Koan Pro (now superceded by Noatikl) culminating in the 1996 release of Generative Music 1 with SSEYO Koan Software.

Following that SSEYO published the Koan X "Drag 'n' Mix" Generative Music mixer and a couple of Koan content titles, Niskala by Jamuud (composed/recorded in 96) and Float by Timothy Didymus (composed/recorded in 1995/96), and then the cool Koan Essentials Morphing Drum and Bass with SF2 and WAV samples licenced from Zero-G.

A number of internet and mobile developments ensued for Koan between 1997 and 2002, a crucial one being that we added to the SKME an integral sound engine called the SSEYO Koan Sound Engine (SKSE).

In 2002 SSEYO was then acquired by Tao Group, at which point SSEYO Koan sadly passed away (it's gone, meaning it's not been developed or supported since 2002). As SSEYO Koan's developers, though, we (Intermorphic) got back all the SSEYO IP in 2008 and have now retired it.

SKME > NME

The SSEYO Koan Engines keep evolving

Generative music apps are all about the music engine and sound engine that underpins them.

The SSEYO Koan Music Engine (SKME) and SSEYO Koan Sound Engine (SKSE) were built by us and have now gone, as are the various SSEYO Koan apps that used them.

Noatikl Music Engine (NME) and Partikl Sound Engine (PSE)

The good news is that at Intermorphic we develop (and are continuing to develop) engines that are more powerful than the SKME and SKSE. We started with the Noatikl Music Engine (NME) and Partikl Sound Engine (PSE) that are at the heart of Noatikl 3, Mixtikl 7, Wotja 3 and Tiklbox 1. The NME was a clean room build engine that leveraged the 15+ man years of experience we gained from developing the SKME, and the PSE leveraged our experience developing the SKSE and also the mobile audio work we did at Tao. Note that the Noatikl Music Engine is NOT the SSEYO Koan Music Engine, but it's very like it and can open Koan files created with any version of Koan Pro (i.e. right back to 1992) or Koan X - which means you haven't lost your old work. See the FAQ below.

What's New?

Compared to SSEYO Koan

Lots of stuff is new, including an all new music engine under the hood!
  • Ongoing development
  • The NME 3 is at the core of the following apps:
  • Universal versions for iPad / iPhone / iPod touch with AudioBus and Inter-App Audio support
  • Desktop Standalone versions for both macOS & Windows
  • Desktop Audio Unit (AUi) Plugin for macOS and Desktop VSTi Plugin for Windows (Noatikl and Mixtikl)
  • The Partikl Sound Engine 3 (PSE 3), a powerful modular / DLS / SF2 MIDI Synth with Live FX
  • Powerful Lua scripting in the NME 3
  • Up-to-date 64bit Mac and PC versions
  • iCloud support
  • Much tighter timings
  • An active user base
  • ... and lots more, see Wotja

Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ Noatikl review by Music Radar (Computer Music Mag) (+ we have loads of Noatikl user quotes):

  • "Noatikl picks up where Captain Eno's beloved Koan left off"
  • "the sky is really the limit"
  • "those with an open mind may find Noatikl to be their ideal collaboration partner"

FAQ - Koan Files

  1. SSEYO Koan .skd/.skt file
    • Just open it with Noatikl, and start using it!
    • Synth definitions aren't copied across, old AWE/XG parameters aren't copied either. If you want to know about these, e.g. to re-create with our soft synth, look under your <Noatikl data folder>/"Koan SKD Import Logs" folder for a text file that gives a full text dump of what was in the .skd file you imported.
    • Piece root parameter lists are turned into parameters like "A B C#" containing all permutations; one of those values is selected randomly at piece start, a per usual.
    • All other Parameter lists are turned into start Scripts automatically; Voice parameters are put in the Voice start script, all other objects are put in the Piece start script;
    • You can fiddle with those scripts if you want to change the probabilities at all.
  2. SSEYO Koan .skm file
    • Open with Noatikl...
    • ... if you open one of these, you get a dialog asking you if you want to export:
      if you want to export the files to the <Noatikl data folder/"Koan SKM File Imports" folder;
      if you agree, the .skd/.mid/.mp3/.dls files are all extracted and saved to that folder.
      You can then do what you want with those file (e.g. open the .skd file with Noatikl etc.)
  3. Tao Group SKM file with the Tao-era soft synth
    • Should just work!
  4. Tao Group SKM file (e.g. with embedded .skd file and embedded DLS/Ogg)
    • Should just work!
    • You might have to change some of the patches to match the wavetable definitions; e.g. in change patch from 1.1 to (say) 1 or 1.0 (assuming the Ogg wavetable bank is zero); this is due to a bug in the old Koan software.
  5. Tao Group SKM file (e.g. with embedded .mid file)
    • You get a dialog telling you to try again, but with a specifically named .skd file in a specific folder.
    • Put the original .skd file in that folder, and rename as requested
    • Re-open the skm file
    • Should just work!
    • As before, might have to change some of the patches to match the wavetable definitions; e.g. in change patch from 1.1 to 1 (assuming the Ogg wavetable bank is zero); this is due to a bug in the old Koan software.

Sorry, we do not import .skp files; you'll need to look for your master .skd files instead.

While we can open old skd files and use most of the parameters as originally intended, we're unable to import old Koan synth network definitions. The reason for this is that the old format is very substantially different to the new format used by Partikl Sound Engine (PSE). You're recommended to look at the SKD Import Log file for the Synth parameter settings, and re-assemble corresponding Synth/FX Networks with PSE.

That is relatively easy.

  1. Open the .sbk/.sf2 with a tool such as Polyphone (http://www.polyphone.fr) or AWave Studio (http://www.fmjsoft.com/awavestudio.html), and re-save as SF2 (SoundFont 2) file (.sf2).
  2. Open your .skd file into Noatikl
  3. Open the newly saved .sf2 file into Noatikl (see PSE Wavetable Unit)
  4. Change the Noatikl Patch settings to fix the patch/bank settings to suit (typically, you'll need to fix the bank value; e.g. change 5.1 to 5...)
  5. Play and save!

That is not necessary. If you don't have any Koan files of your own, then this whole section is irrelevant to you!