The recordings on this release are the result of a series of custom software instruments that blur the line between improvisation and composition. Instead of attempting to be an “all-purpose” improvisational tool, each piece has a different set of constraints that encourage a specific performance style and give each instrument a distinct musical character from performance to performance. The recordings are all single takes, with editing limited to trimming silences. Almost all of the sounds are synthesized in real-time, the only samples heard are the percussion sounds in Cytoarchitecture and the pre-recorded material in Gates (No. 3).
The Gates pieces all apply gating and processing to complex source material. Gates (No. 1) uses a digital feedback network as source material to provide a dynamic source for various types of rhythmic gating and modulation. Gates (No. 2) takes a similar concept, but instead uses microphonic feedback from an 8-channel surround system and passes it through filters and phase-shifts to create the pulsing textures heard. Gates (No. 3) replaces the feedback with recordings of found sounds and unfinished electronic works. The recordings are gated and pass through a complex processing network and swirl around the listener in 3D Ambisonic space.
Cytoarchitecture derives from a project involving networked laptop improvisation, and seeks to create a digital improvising ensemble. The six unique sound modules exchange information about the pitches, rhythms, and gestures they produce – creating a sense of “listening”. This information is used differently by each module to inform its performance. The performer controls relationships within the ensemble, as well as the specific roles each module plays at a given time.
Morphologies takes the information-passing idea and extends it into the realm of motive, while also creating a slightly more tranquil sound-world. The piece is constructed from networks of cellular automata-like nodes, which receive, change, sonify, and output musical motives. Sonic density, synthesis algorithms, and post-processing are all under the control of the performer.
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