Boodler is rather fun. It generates ambient music based on user-defined or downloaded ‘soundscapes’. If you’ve got a modern (HTML5/Opus-capable) browser, you can hear a streaming demo here: http://repeater.xiph.org:8000/clock.opus. It’s using the FM3 Buddha Machine samples in this demo, but it can run lots more: a tree full of crows, a thunderstorm, dripping water, …
It’s pretty easy to run on a Raspberry Pi running a recent version of Raspbian. The only technical glitch I had was that there’s something deeply confused about ALSA sound handling on the Raspberry Pi. I’m sure it’ll get fixed soon, but for now, you have to use PulseAudio. (If you want to read about my ALSA woes, go here.)
The installation prerequisites are simple:
sudo apt-get install pulseaudio pulseaudio-utils libpulse-dev python-dev
Now download and configure Boodler:
tar xvzf Boodler-2.0.4.tar.gz
python setup.py build
It takes a while to do this, but make sure it does something useful when it’s building the various sound drivers. You don’t want it to say:
skipping 'boodle.cboodle_pulse' extension
If it says that, you haven’t installed Pulseaudio. Go back and check your apt-get line.
Once it’s built, now install it:
sudo python setup.py install
Now test it:
boodler --hardware --output pulse --testsound
Not merely should you get some pleasant tones from your Raspberry Pi’s audio, but you sound get some informative and non-threatening terminal output. Mine looks like:
Boodler: PulseAudio sound driver.
PulseAudio library: 2.0.0.
Sample rate is 44100 fps.
Samples are 16-bit little-endian.
Buffer size is 32768.
21:37:46 (root) Running "Boodler test sound"
If that works, let’s get those crows a-cawin’. Download the soundscapes you need:
boodle-mgr install http://boodler.org/lib/org.boodler.old.crow.1.0.boop
boodle-mgr install http://boodler.org/lib/com.eblong.zarf.crows.1.0.boop
and run it:
boodler --output pulse com.eblong.zarf.crows/ParliamentOfCrows
I really like the Buddha Machine samples. It’s quite big (> 80 MB), so this next set will take a while to download:
boodle-mgr install http://boodler.org/lib/com.azulebanana.buddhamachine.1.5.1.boop
boodle-mgr install http://boodler.org/lib/com.azulebanana.buddhaagent.1.5.1.boop
It’s worth the wait:
boodler --output pulse com.azulebanana.buddhaagent/ChangingLoops
Boodler has tons of options, prebuilt packages, and instructions to build your own: Boodler Documentation.
One thing I’ve tried to get working, but failed, is streaming from Boodler via icecast. Sure, I can install and run it, it’s just that the results are, um, undesirable. If you want to have a play, here’s how to install icecast:
sudo apt-get install icecast2 ices2 libshout3-dev
Icecast will configure itself, and ask for a couple of passwords. You’ll have to rebuild and reinstall Boodler for it to catch the new configuration. You can then try streaming:
boodler --output shout --define shout-password=mypassword --define shout-mount='/boodler-buddha.ogg' com.azulebanana.buddhaagent/ChangingLoops
If you open a web browser at this address http://raspberrypi:8000/ you should see a config page listing your boodler-buddha.ogg stream. Click on the M3U link next to it, and your streaming music player should start making a joyful noise …
… except in my case, something went very wrong, and it started to produce industrial ultra-glitch nightmare noise: boodler-streaming_test-fail. I’m sure it’s fixable with some tweaking, but I’m not there yet.