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TechnoSonics XIX: Voices Concert 1

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Phonē (1981) John Chowning The Precession of Simulacra Juan Carlos Vasquez Blue Cycle: Noise (2008) Ted Coffey Assessment Postponement Nexus No. 1 Luke Dahl Rotunda Judith Shatin INTERMISSION You Sink Into the Singing Snow Matthew Burtner Lisa Edwards-Burrs, voice Kevin Davis, cello I-Jen Fang, percussion Sk(etch) Leah Reid Maybe Metaphors Are Easier A.D. Carson / Ryan Maguire Warp Study Michele Zaccagnini Voices (2011) John & Maureen Chowning for Soprano and Interactive Computer v.3 Maureen Chowning, soprano Program Notes Phonē (1981) - John Chowning The sounds in Phonē (from the Greek, meaning “sound” or “voice”) were produced using a special configuration of the frequency modulation (FM) synthesis technique that allows the composer to simulate a wide range of timbres including the singing voice and other strongly resonant sounds. The synthesis programs are designed to permit exploration of and control over the ambiguities that can arise in the perception and identification of sound sources. The interpolation between timbres and extension of “real” vocal timbres into registers that could not exist in the real world — such as a basso “profondissimo” — and the micro-structural control of sound that determines the perceptual fusion and segregation of spectral components are important points in this composition. The composer developed this technique of FM synthesis of the singing voice at IRCAM, Paris in 1979 using a DEC PDP-10 and realized the piece at CCRMA in 1980–81, using the “Samson Box,” a real-time digital synthesizer designed by Peter Samson. The work was premiered at IRCAM in Paris in February 1981. The Precession of Simulacra - Juan Carlos Vasquez The Precession of Simulacra, for piano and electronics, applies in music the concept of “hyperreality” coined by the French sociologist Jean Baudrillard, where a simulated reality (in this case, computer sounds) is progressively indistinguishable from the actual reality (acoustic sounds). This piece was composed thanks to the support of Taiteen edistämiskeskus (Arts Promotion Center in Finland). Blue Cycle: Noise (2008) - Ted Coffey Blue Cycle: Noise (2008) belongs to a cycle of electroacoustic text-sound works dedicated to teachers and mentors. My texts address a related set of aesthetic and social topics including noise, production value, coherence, the open work, and transcendence. The project offers an excuse to soak in text-sound classics by Dodge, Lansky, Stockhausen, Westerkamp, and Wishart (to name a few). While FFT-based, wavelet and other “current” techniques of audio analysis and resynthesis are used to generate materials, I also explore the more venerable methods—vocoding, LPC, FOF, VOSIM, &c.—implementing idiosyncratic real-time instruments and improvising with them. The music plays with the wealth of meaning that spills out when [non-] sense, affect, and “quality-of-sound” are parameterized, and more generally develops syntaxes and structures appropriate to the texts. Often with wicked self-referentiality, Noise offers descriptions of randomness and pattern from human perspectives, and imagines how the matter might look differently from a divine one. Assessment Postponement Nexus No. 1 - Luke Dahl This piece utilizes a custom spatialized 8-channel feedback delay network (FDN) which is parameterized to afford morphing between discrete echos and more “washed out” reverberations. In this performance I use an SH-101 analog synthesizer as sound source, and explore various textural and gestural potentialities of this system. Rotunda - Judith Shatin While sitting in her office, facing the Rotunda and Lawn at the University of Virginia, composer Judith Shatin suddenly saw the scene spring to life as if in a movie that combined the majesty of the place with the daily hum of life. Filmmaker Robert Arnold, whose work often focuses on temporal elements, agreed to collaborate on the project. They re-purposed a computer/camera surveillance system, with the camera located for an entire year on the upper story of Old Cabell Hall, and collected over 300,000 images. During that period Shatin also collected a multitude of sounds, both in and around the Rotunda, and conducted unscripted interviews about its meaning to a wide variety of people. She created two sound tracks from these recordings, often using extensive processing. One includes interview extracts (heard this evening), and the other includes only sonic transformations and ambient sounds, such as rain, the stacking of chairs, the sound of lawn mowers and more. They structured the flow as one day unfolding over the course of a year, moving from dawn to dusk as the year moves through the seasons. The film is available on DVD, including both stereo and 5.1 audio of both ver- sions, available at You Sink Into the Singing Snow - Matthew Burtner “You Sink Into the Snow” (2012) is an electroacoustic song from the telemat- ic climate change opera, “Auksalaq,” co-created by Matthew Burtner (music/text) and Scott Deal (visual media) with imaging, video, animation and photography by Miho Aoki, Jordan Munson, Ryota Kadjita and Maya Salganek and data by Hajo Eicken. The song has been extracted from the opera as this independent vocal piece with video and electronics, and as an acapella choral work. The piece features snow as voiced sound and subject. Sk(etch) - Leah Reid Sk(etch) is an acousmatic work that explores sounds, gestures, textures, and timbres associated with the creative process of sketching, drawing, writing, and composing. Maybe Metaphors Are Easier - A.D. Carson / Ryan Maguire When violence is enacted against certain bodies, language breaks down. Perhaps language does not provide enough distance from such subjects to articulate them clearly. Maybe Metaphors Are Easier explores what it means to create distance, by way of metaphor and sound, to make some conversation, any articulation, possible. Voices (2011) - John & Maureen Chowning Voices is a play of imagination evoking the Pythia of Delphi and the mystifying effects of her oracular utterances. A soprano engages a computer- simulated illusory space with her voice, which allows us to project sounds at distances beyond the walls of the actual space in which we listen. Her utterances launch synthesized sounds within this space, sounds that conjure up bronze cauldrons, caverns, and their animate inhabitants, sounds of the world of the Pythia modulated by our fantasy and technology and but rooted in a past even more distant than her own - the Pythia’s voice becomes the voice of Apollo and Mother Earth, Gaea. Selected pitches of the soprano’s voice line are tracked by the computer running a program written by the composer in MaxMSP. The soprano’s voice is transmitted from a microphone to the computer where it is spatialized. At each captured “target pitch” the program synthesizes accompanying sounds using FM synthesis that is mixed with the voice and sent to the sound system in the auditorium. The spectra of the synthesized sounds are inharmonic derived from the Golden Ratio and ‘structured’ to function in the domains of pitch and harmony as well as timbre. The pitch scale is also based on divi- sion of powers of the Golden Ratio rather than powers of 2, as in the common tempered scale, an idea used in Stria (1977) and Phoné (1981).
John Chowning
Juan Carlos Vasquez
Ted Coffey
Luke Dahl
Judith Shatin
Matthew Burtner
Leah Reid
A.D. Carson
Ryan Maguire
Michele Zaccagnini
Maureen Chowning
Peter D'Elia
Lisa Edwards-Burrs
Kevin Davis
Glen Whitehead
I-Jen Fang
University of Virginia Concert Recordings
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