University of Colorado ATLAS Black Box Theater, 7:30pm Monday May 20.
University of Colorado Grusin Concert Hall, 7:30pm Tuesday May 21.
University of Colorado ATLAS Black Box Theater, 7:30pm Wednesday May 22.
Gravity Brewing, 7:00pm Thursday May 23.
Bånsull (Lullaby) is a piece for Viola and Live Electronics, written in 2012 and premiered at NOTAM (Norwegian Centre for Technology in Music and the Arts) October 24 2012 as a part of the Music Technology Days festival by the Norwegian Viola player Einar Kyvik Bauge. With this piece I wanted to explore using fairly simple motifs and phrases simultaneously both as foreground musical material and to create the environment around the solo voice. In the original concert version all the sound is processed live, and I found it very interesting how the Viola becomes both soloist and ensemble at the same time. Cues and processes are triggered by a foot switch, and the piece is controlled, synchronized and processed in SuperCollider, with some external processing in GRM Tools. Bånsull is presented at the SuperCollider symposium in a fixed media version.
Written in the audio software languages of SuperCollider and Paul Koonce’s PVC, La Langue Maternelle is an exercise in semantic discourse between the notions of ‘translation’ and ‘transformation.’ A self-designed algorithm, akin to the sestina form, generated a fixed syllabic/vocal score based on a common English expression and its French translation. Onset detection, impulse response convolution, and various signal-processing procedures were then utilized to interrupt or reposition a recorded realization. The stream of aligning syllables reflects an erratic fluctuation between translations, as well as an obstruction of textual meaning. La Langue Maternelleis dedicated to Justin, Muriel, and Albert.
Densité was written in the audio software languages of SuperCollider and Paul Koonce's PVC. Densité documents the interactions between the density of samples being selected and the dimensions of the space in which they are realized. Depending on particular sets of heuristics, different exponential models and soundscape audio files determine percussion sample playback parameters which are, in turn, recorded. These audio segments are then convolved with varying types of impulses responses, resulting in different sonic spaces. Densité focuses on subverting the inherent sonic qualities of percussion instruments as a result of temporal sequence and their individual placement within particular spaces.
Æther (originally for string quartet and) amplified difference tones. This is a drone piece in Just Intonation. The instruments are processed by the computer to amplify their difference tones: pitches naturally produced which are the difference between the frequencies of any two pitches. This version is for solo performer using Un:Limit, a custom multitouch interface modeled after the iPad app Geo Synthesizer, designed to visually aid in tuning pure intervals.
From the Far Away, Nearby shares a title with Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting of a desert landscape with an animal skull suspended over it. O’Keeffe’s image explores the relationship between figure and landscape.
“I have picked flowers where I found them – have picked up sea shells and rocks and pieces of wood where there were sea shells and rocks and pieces of wood that I liked… When I found the beautiful white bones on the desert I picked them up and took them home too… I have used these things to say what is to me the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it.” – Georgia O’Keefe
Georgia O’Keefe’s wonderful painting From the Faraway, Nearby depicts a deer skull with magnificent, even surreal, antlers superimposed over a beautiful and barren desert landscape. Perspective is ignored and the vastness of the dessert seems to be dwarfed by the skull. There is no sense of scale and what should be far away and what should be nearby occupy the same space. There is also inevitability to this painting, with the dead skull and the dead landscape, reminding us of our own pending oblivion. – Program note by John Drumheller
Dirty South Gamelan is written for laptop orchestra. The composition investigates synchronization between members of the orchestra through the heavy emphasis upon metered rhythm.
As a musical work, Dirty South Gamelan draws freely from the unlikely pair of Indonesian Gamelan and Southern Rap (aka Dirty South). The result is not at all true to either source, however combines the musical impressions of both into a single amalgamation.
Alloy explores the sonic possibilities inherent to the natural horn as a physical object. The piece eschews the hegemony of temperament and cultural expectations that are imposed on the horn and instead imagines a sound space derived from the physical properties of the instrument itself. The horn is treated objectively as a piece of extraordinarily resonant metal, and electronics built with SuperCollider expand the phenomena of the sound space.
Lucent Voids is an 8-channel acousmatic work exploring the temporality of sonic space and the visual, imaginal manifestations of sound experiences. A topological journey of the uncertain is created, perhaps as a metaphor for how the fragility of human cognition feeds imagination and creativity. Much of the discourse of the work is centred on the gradual formation of ‘places’ in an evolving textural topography, a process in which time acquires a spatial dimension and our conception of the ‘present’ is entirely elastic: we feel the future approaching, or ourselves projecting towards it; and the past accumulating in a complex landscape. We are transported through a reality within which we cannot rely on the permanence and linearity of space as we normally perceive it – rather, the terrain keeps warping as we journey through it, seemingly distorting our own physical presence to negotiate unlikely combinations of the microscopic and the macroscopic, interiority and exteriority, the temporal and the non-temporal. A multifocal counterpoint of textures outline peripheries, contrasts, foci, and voids, in the coloration of an alien world in which the listener is the human protagonist, navigating a topology strange environments, guided by the light of speculative imagination.
Lucent Voids was composed entirely in SuperCollider with textural synthesis processes designed to offer high potentials for spatial deformation and transformation. This is manifest in micro- and macro- temporal and spectral shaping, and in the creation of both transitory and more permanent architectural relationships among spectral sound structures across different perspectival regions of space.
Branches (2001) is for piano solo and computer interacting with MIDI output from the piano keyboard (requiring an instrument like the Yamaha Disklavier, or an attachment like the Moog PianoBar). The pianist plays in sync with the computer that generates rhythmic ostinati in three different meters, only one of which matches the meter of the piano part. Each of these three rhythmic streams is independently interactive with the piano's MIDI output, evolving towards a rhythm between the pianist’s and the computer’s current performance. Each computer rhythm is also influenced by a pre-composed core-rhythm, or clave, and the sequence of 73 presets of these triple claves defines the piece. Whenever the pianist plays, the computer responds in rhythm and usually also in pitch. The pianist uses the written part to synchronize clearly with the computer, but also as a springboard for improvisation using the pitch-classes in each cell, which form an evolving mode threading through the piece. The goal is for the pianist is to "groove" with the computer as it evolves ostinati in three different meters at once, generating new variations in response to the pianist.
My Inventions series (started in 1997) are studies in polyrhythm for computers interacting with musicians playing acoustic instruments. The computer always interacts with what the musicians play, so the music is different every time, not frozen. In Branches (Invention #7), I chose the metaphor of the tree to structure the way that rhythmic subdivisions extend outward from a central pulse. Originally written as a trio for piano, percussion, and turntablist, the interaction of the piano’s MIDI output with all three independent computer rhythms creates different branches, each in a different cycle but all using a common pulse, derived from same trunk, as the relationships evolve from simple to complex and back again, swinging from branch to branch. There are also stylistic branchings – logdrum and marimba music from Central Africa recorded by ethnomusicologist Simha Arom provided samples for the computer in the first half of the piece. In the middle, the voices are primarily synthetic, evolving in the second half to samples from DJ Eddie Def’s Hamster Breaks LPs, which were made for turntable scratching. And there are technological branchings – the computer runs genetic algorithms that “grow” new rhythmic leaves from the rhythms and notes of the piano. As I hear the computer’s responses, I respond to it in my playing, creating a feedback loop (food). I crave more of the polyrhythmic pulse in electronic music: a complexity made of simple parts in densely interwoven relationships, with a place for everyone to listen, but without the possibility for anyone to hear, play, or contain the whole. Both improvisation and composition are essential here. Polyrhythm implies syncretic culture – one with many centers that accepts, absorbs, borrows, samples, transforms, and evolves in many directions at once.
I wrote the software for the piece, which is an interactive polyrhythmic sequencer called Ritmos, in SuperCollider. A TouchOSC program on the iPad facilitates control and monitoring of the software from the piano.
The Mashup Machine is a still-improving SC performance interface and environment for synchronizing and remixing audio loops in real-time, inspired by the growing popularity of mash-ups, cut-ups, and other pop remix styles (Girl Talk, Super Mash Bros, The Hood Internet, The Kleptones, and dozens more).