Electronic Music
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  • Electronic Music  (1984 - 2005)

    A Common Ancestor  (2004)  Electroacoustic  (19:23)

        1. Amazon Forest
        2. Riding the Waves
        3. African Plain
        4. Songs of North America and Europe
        5. Flying Insects
        6. Deep Water
        7. Hopping Insects
        8. Subterranean Shakes
        9. Large Birds in Air
        10. Great Plains of North America

    Siderius Nuncius  (2005)  (4:18)

        for Synthesizers, Electronic Sounds, Signals from Space

    Music for Synthesizers  (1984 - 1994)  (35:41)

        1. Craters of Mercury
        2. Insects Cover the Earth Nos. 1-3
        3. Horesehead Nebula in the Milky Way
        4. Transparent Dreams Nos. 1 and 2
        5. A Living Planet

    (total time   59:30)


    A Common Ancestor

    The music for A Common Ancestor contains an assembly of sampled sounds, including insects, birds, animals, as well as environmental sounds from forest, wetland, desert, ocean. The music is divided into ten contiguous sections. The sampled sounds that comprise each section are modified by signal processing, or trigger various sound generators via MIDI control. The structure of the music is generated from integers derived from the letters of the names of each creature, or environmental sound. The integers determine the duration of sound or silence for each voice. In addition to the processed sound, sampled sounds occur throughout the music in their purely acoustic form, providing secondary voices that form a quiet textural background.

    Sidereus Nuncius

    At the turn of the sixteenth century, Galileo observed never before seen details of the face of the Moon, the Milky Way, and nebulous stars with a powerful new telescope. These dramatic discoveries helped to establish the eventual acceptance of the heliocentricity of the Solar System.

    Galileo also observed for the first time four Moons orbiting the planet Jupiter. In March 1610, he published his findings under the title Sidereus Nuncius, which ultimately caused an international stir. The new twenty-powered 'spyglass' or telescope used to make the observations was the first scientific instrument to amplify the human senses. Galileo was credited with being the first person to point the spyglass upward 'toward the heavens'.

    Signals from space include the sounds of Saturn recorded by NASA, Huygens Satellite radio and carrier signals, radar.


    Craters of Mercury
    for Computer-controlled Synthesizers
    with Viola Obligato  (1984)

    Mercury is the closest planet to our Sun. It is the smallest and least massive of the inner planets, although it is almost as dense as the Earth. The most distinguishing feature on Mercury's surface is its craters, which are arranged in patterns similar to that of the moon. Small craters break into larger ones, rather than large craters imposed on smaller ones. The largest crater has been dubbed Beethoven, while others have been named after a variety of famous composers, painters and novelists. The viola plays a secondary role in the music. The viola music was produced using a first generation Kurzweil synthesizer.

    Insects Cover the Earth Nos. 1-3
    for Computer-controlled Synthesizers  (1987)

    In number of species, insects are by far the largest in the animal kingdom. There are nearly a half million known species of insects, and some zoologists believe that there are perhaps 10 million species in the tropics yet undiscovered . Their persistence and survivability on the planet is equaled only by bacteria.
    We rely on insects for pollination which provides us with most of our fruits and many vegetables. Insects are crucial predators of plant pests and other harmful species, and they are important sources of food for animals and even carnivorous plants. Insects are found in virtually every environment on Earth, including in air, on water, on and under the ground.

    Horsehead Nebula in the Milky Way
    for Computer-controlled Synthesizers
    with Digital Viola and Cello Obligato  (1986)

    A nebula is a region or cloud of interstellar gas which, when illuminated by a nearby star, will produce a brightly colored image. The Horsehead Nebula is located in the southernmost tip of the Orion sky. It appears as a pinkish-purple haze with a prominent dark mass bearing a striking resemblance to the head of a knight in chess. Nebulae typically function as stellar nurseries, providing a birthplace where new stars are formed. Like  Craters of Mercury, the viola and cello play a secondary role in the music. Both instruments were generated on the Kurzweil 2000 synthesizer.

    Transparent Dreams
    for Computer-controlled Synthesizers  (1987)

    * Sleeping is the way in which the brain suspends conscious activity. Dreaming, particularly REM dreaming, is a period of intense cognitive activity, in which the brain relies on internal information to form various states of mind. These dreams are shaped solely by memories, without controlled or conscious thought.

    Except for certain aspects of lucid dreaming, the form and content of dreams do not follow conventional scenarios. Dreams are typically narrative, but do not seem to call on the higher centers of language for structural continuity or meaning. The result is that the language of dreams is fragmented, the plots are confused, natural laws are disobeyed, and obsession, phobia, and paranoia are commonplace. All of these dream characteristics are synonymous with textbook definitions of mental pathologies. And all are centered on internal dialogue, involving little or no interaction with the outside world.

    Contemporary dream research describes the meaning of dreams as transparent and immediate, rather than symbolic or Freudian. It is believed that dreams involve strong emotions, but have no inherent meaning. It is also thought that the bizarre plots and storylines of dreams reflect an attempt by the brain to make sense of the chaos generated from partially random signals.

    We typically cycle though four to six REM (rapid eye movement) dreams each night, lasting from 15 to 30 minutes. Dreaming begins in the brain stem. First an emotion is generated. Only then does the brain assign a plot, characters, or setting.
    Dreams reflect our personal history, including thoughts and worries that involve recent activity. Two-thirds of our dreams are emotionally negative. Fear and anxiety dominate about a third of our dreams, while another 15 percent involve anger. Although it is still controversial about why we sleep and dream, recent theories suggest that sleep is the brain's way of reconfiguring itself, allowing time to convert short-term memories to long-term ones.

    * (see J. Allen Hobson, The Chemistry of Conscious States, Little Brown 1994)

    A Living Planet
    for ‘Live’ Keyboard Synthesizer and Computer-controlled Synthesizers
    with Interactive Music Software  (1992)

    The Earth is a living planet, although it still remains a mystery how life began. Various theories suggest different possibilities for the origin of life, including spontaneous generation, self-organization and complexity, and panspermia, which refers to organisms that have traveled to Earth from an extraterrestrial source, such as a meteorite. It is highly unlikely that the Earth is the only planet containing life in the universe.

    The dynamic ecosphere, the interaction of various environments at the same scale, results in a constant flux of material and energy exchange. This delicate balance between the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere is what identifies the Earth as a living planet.

    In this music, I have employed my own interactive music software MachPerformer. The music is played on a keyboard synthesizer from a score and input into a computer. The computer program 'listens' to the music being played, and generates a musical 'response' which is output to a separate set of synthesizers. The whole process occurs in real time, resulting in an interactivity of 'live' and computer-generated music which is recorded for playback. The musical score used to generate the keyboard input is based on the five kingdoms of life on Earth, which contain all known life-forms.