Daily Archives: 24 April 2007

Shorts: #21 Anarchy and Rapture

[play]Shorts: #21 Anarchy and Rapture (2007)

Commissioned and titled by Polly Moller in memory of Leigh Ann Hussey, who died tragically in a motorcycle accident on May 16, 2006.

I didn’t ever meet Leigh Ann, but I typed her name into google and found a memorial. It was clear right away that I would have liked her. Polly said, “she was like a pillar of fire,” the god of Moses. I’ve been reading a deconstruction of the Left Behind books from an evangelical who is as appalled by them as I am. The series is essentially about death, which comes for us all. A mystery we fear and around which we grope for meaning. In How We Die, Sherwin B. Nuland argues that death is what gives life meaning. We feel urgency to act and to create because we know it’s not forever.

But despite the meaning that death gives our lives, despite the necessity of entropy in the creation of life and it’s inherent implication of destruction, despite the beautiful simplicity, it still feels like a theft. I never knew Leigh Ann, but I’ve known many who have passed. Every time, I ask the same question. I know the answer, but I don’t feel it.

To create this piece, I recorded myself screaming and then convolved it with some impulses generated by SuperCollider. (The code is below.) I used Audacity to pitch shift some of the versions of this file and mixed them with sounds from my synthesizer.

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Shorts: #20 Poodleface Birthday

[play]Shorts: #20 Poodleface Birthday (2007)

Commissioned by Graham Coleman in honor of Rob’s birthday. Happy Birthday Rob!

I made this piece in BEA 5 in Sonology in the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. I was hung over (after playing tuba the night before) and up at an extremely early hour because my dog had an early dress rehearsal for a concert that evening. I walked by BEA 5 and it was empty! I had one of those rare moments of clarity where a patch is entirely clear. I knew exactly how to tune the oscillators and where to route them. I love chaos patches, but their over-use can be cheesy. But Rob just recorded an album with a casio keyboard. So no worries there. I used all 16 oscillators, cascading them into chaos and then sent the output of them to the control inputs of the VOSIM. I sent the output of that to the third octave filter, which I used to damp the highs and also because it adds a nice character to everything it touches. It was too early to be awake, I’d slept too few hours and I was hung over, so despite my clarity, I misplugged a bunch of wires, accidentally sending the sine output and the square output of the same oscillator to two different inputs of the VOSIM, when I’d meant to take sine outputs of two different oscillators. It didn’t matter. It sounded great. Maybe better. I recorded everything in less than half an hour and then came home and mixed it quickly, like a romantic poet inspired by a tree.