The source data for the chart and music comes from daily emails (like this one) sent by the US Treasury summarizing the cash spending and borrowing of the Federal government. (Incredibly, this data is not available in any structured format ready for analysis.) The CSV Soundsystem team then used R data processing (plyr, reshape2), sonification (tuneR) and visualization (aplpack) packages to produce the chart, animation and music.
We used principal component analysis to rotate the 52 line-items and plotted the 15 highest-loaded components as Chernoff faces. We plotted interest rate and federal account balance with line-width as standard deviation of all the line-items.We represented similar data in audio. Chords were selected based on the derivative of account balance, and a melody was composed based on the federal interest rate. We also included a contrapuntal riff driven by the distance between accumulated federal debt and the legal debt ceiling.