Shorts #32: Stochastic Tendencies (2014)
Commissioned in honour of Paul Berg, who was my teacher at the Institute of Sonology in Den Haag, when I was there for the course in 2006-7.
Paul Berg is the inventor of the AC Toolbox, which allows composers with Macs to do algorithmic sound generation. The class he taught spends the first several weeks covering a very thurough history fo electronic music, before switching to cover how to use several different tools, including AC Toolbox. Paul has decided to retire, so future students, alas, will not get the benefit of this amazing course, which was definitely a highlight of my time in the Hague.
This piece is made on my MOTM Analogue synthesiser, but applies several ideas I would more normally use in digital synthesis. It has random attack times, generated by using a random signal (filtered noise) triggering a switch with a variable threshold. When the random signal exceeds the threshold, the switch sent a bias as a gate to an envelope generator.
This piece also uses a very rough approximation of tendency masks, using a varying lag time for CV voltages that were increasing or decreasing.
It is mixed in Ardour, with some reverb added to the final mix in Audacity.
Because Paul is retiring this year, one of his former students contacted several of Sonologists and asked us to write short pieces to be put into a device called the ‘AC Juke Box’. The only constraint was that the pieces had to be mono!
Paul Berg’s scepticism about multichannel audio is legendary and also makes a valuable point. A musical gesture does not become interesting because it is moving in space. It’s too easy to use spatialisation as a substitute for generating interesting material. Paul’s tools and teaching all were aimed at generating interesting material. I hope this short piece contains some.
This piece is in mono. It also contains low frequencies that may not be audible though the internal speakers on some laptops, so you may wish to use headphones or external speakers to listen.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:01 — 1.4MB)