Live Sampling with Jazz Saxophone

facrecitalimageAt this year’s TAMU Music Faculty Recital, I performed a live sampling improvisation with tenor saxophonist Jayson Beaster-Jones using the Motet and Elektrodynamik environments.

Play the performance at TAMU Faculty Recital 9/25/2012

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Afterimages for bass flute and electronics

Afterimages is a solo work composed for bass flutist Mariana Gariazzo with live electronics. All sounds played by the computer are captured form the soloist live during the performance. It’s a study in counterpoint through live sampling.

Purchase the score and hear a recording here

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Live sampling improvisation trio

Improvised trio with Eric km Clark on violin, Andy McWain on keyboards, and Jeff Morris doing live sampling of the other two using Gamepad Sampler.

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Folding: Imitative Counterpoint in Improvisation through Live Sampling

Picture 1Folding is a study in using live sampling as an extension of the classic technique of imitative counterpoint. The title refers to the molecular folding of proteins and other molecules: atoms link together at angles and fold over themselves as they form the molecule, and the resulting shape affects the function of the chemical. Similarly, the voice of an improvising soloist is folded onto itself live to build a musical form.

The work is a hybrid between composition and instrument. The software is equipped to make decisions at a small level on its own, in order to maintain interest without requiring constant intervention by the performer, but it relies on the performer to initiate changes from one state to another. The software uses delay lines and pitch shifters to turn the soloist into a quintet.

The six states of the software’s behavior dictate the approximate delay settings for each voice:

  1. Now (acting as a harmonizer, or in homophony),
  2. Near (within the last few seconds, an echo or stretto ),
  3. Then (recalling a previous timepoint specified during the performance),
  4. Same (recalling a randomly-chosen timepoint from earlier in the performance),
  5. Different (each of the four delay lines go to different points in the delay line, exploring and recombining moments from the past, which may be used as a developmental or transitional section), and
  6. Early (recalling the first material played in the performance, or a recapitulation).

The solo instrumental performer is able to choose the behavior of the software (as one of these states) and how to play in relation to them, for example he or she may play the same material, so all recapitulate the opening material or may play a new countermelody to it. In some performances, performers have enjoyed having me or another computer attendant direct the software as they respond to their past selves, recontextualized in performance through the software.

Performance with Jayson Beaster-Jones, tenor saxophone (MP3)

Performance with Eric km Clark, violin

This work also has a distinct voice when used in a feedback system, when it hears only its own output. Compare this with “Tappatappatappa.” “Folding” with feedback:

To run the software:

  1. Download and install the free Max runtime for your operating system (Mac OS or Windows): click here
  2. Download the performance software (ZIP), unzip it, and open it with the Max runtime.

For solo performance, I can adapt the controls to your MIDI or USB controller. Contact me to let me know what device you’d like to use in performance!



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Embracing a Mediat[is]ed Modernity: An Approach to Exploring Humanity in Posthuman Music

Performance Paradigm, vol. 4. In the nineteenth century, the reputation of Beethoven’s music persisted long after his death, causing younger composers to feel as if they were competing against the “flood” of Beethoven’s influence. Many composers like Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler reconciled themselves in this situation by referring to or adapting materials of Beethoven’s but using them in their own ways. The advent of recording technology extended this effect to every composer that could be recorded, without relying solely on history to recognise Continue reading

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This is Not a Guitar, for electric guitar and live electronics

ThisIsNotaGuitarImageThis is Not a Guitar is a performance-oriented composition that exploits the electric guitar as an instrument that is necessarily mediated by amplifiers, numerous processors that remain mysterious “black boxes” to the audience, and physically displaced speakers. Audiences have come to overlook the disembodiment of the resulting sound from the physical actions that create it. As this disembodiment spreads to other parts of musical experience, e.g., YouTube, Second Life, iPods, etc., audiences continue to become desensitized to the effects of mediation on live performance. Instead of assuming equality between live and mediated forms, this work highlights “liveness” and mediation as a new dimension in which musical structure, tension/release, and meaning can be built. All sounds heard come from the live guitarist during performance, but in many moments, the live act of playing is sliced away from the resulting sound and recombined with the sight of other live acts, establishing a counterpoint in this new dimension of musical expression.

This is Not a Guitar (PDF score)

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