The voice of the machine / How our devices party when we’re away: Listen to the wide variety of timbres, rhythm, and textures that come out of a simple feedback loop and ONLY a 1 second delay—no other processing besides acoustic effects of the room and moving bodies around the speakers.

Developed while in residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, at I-Park, and at the Atlantic Center for the Arts again. Premiered in four channels at the Sound and Music Computing conference (SMC) in Greater Helsinki, Finland.

Here’s a demo of the four-channel version:

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New on Weblogmusic: Live Sampling Mix

Do you do live sampling in your improvisations? Join us in the Live Sampling mix on Weblogmusic! Just video yourself playing along with the first track (below), using it as your ONLY SOUND SOURCE, post it on YouTube, and send it to us. Details are at http://weblogmusic.org . To keep the mix pure, even the first track is built by using itself as a sound source: simple acoustic feedback.

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This performance was created by the composer improvising with custom software and by tapping on a microphone.

It uses a generative performance environment I named after Einstein’s paper introducing the special theory of relativity Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper (On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies). Normally, the software performs with an acoustic performer by capturing and transforming sounds from the soloist.

In contrast, in Tappatappatappa, I feed the audio output to its own input. In a sense, the sound emerges from no source, as if from nothing. The audio output, you see, is never perfectly silent: ambient noise in the room, small irregularities, or electrical interference  introduced by the analog electronics create the material from which rich and varied material can bloom, like a pearl forms around a grain of sand. In this way, the feedback performance, which I call Tappatappatappa (its musical result is a distinct work deserving a different name), erodes the human element in performance and allows the technology to find its own voice, which I only coax in one direction or another by tapping, scraping, or moving the microphone within the performance space. In performances of Tappatappatappa, certain resonances emerge that are unique to the room and the moment, some physical positions in space produce certain sonic responses so reliably that the space is almost tangibly marked by its sonic response to my moving the microphone through the space.


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Bellingham Electronic Arts Festival

UntitledTappatappatappa is an improvised performance using custom software created by the artist and a cone microphone to amplify small sounds and room resonances. This performance was on the opening gala concert of the Bellingham Electronic Arts Festival at the American Museum of Radio and Electricity, November 2006.

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