When I arrived at Eastman in 1996, I had just about given up. I was convinced there was no way to coax music worth hearing from a computer. That is, until I learned from Allan Schindler’s example.
Allan passed away suddenly in October 2018. This work is a small tribute to his inspiration and ever-lasting influence in my life.
October 2018 | Fixed Media, Stereo
The material for this work comes from a single extended recording of a quiet (early-morning) street intersection in New York City.
Very few vehicles pass close by, but the distant sound of car horns, people walking, people speaking, and even high-pitched break squeals combine with the din of the city to produce a naturally breathing sonic tapestry that’s rich in harmonic content.
Sounds of life echo in the distance and the listener is forced to experience them alone — as an outsider.
At its core, After October is a simple duet between an oboe and bass clarinet. The peaceful counterpoint is gently coaxed from slow-moving monophonic partial layers found in the source recording.
Soft synthesized leads shadow and support each solo instrument while a wonderful emulation of an Oberheim SEM (processed by the amazing Trax Phase Vocoder from IRCAM) keeps the track honest by providing moments of unpredictable motion.
Ultimately, the rendered performance is meant to evoke the feeling of an acoustic ensemble.
It was important to create a sonic atmosphere where acoustic and electronic sounds coexist without competition. Where does the bass clarinet end and the electronic lead begin?
My greatest challenge in production was to define a clear sense of space and separation between naturally thick and heavy sounds. To do this, each sound was isolated and carefully sculpted to avoid encroaching on the others. The result is a single, unified expression that subtly morphs between varying identities.
Light spatialization was added to create the impression of a liquid-filled, slow-motion environment — as if the listener’s inner world has slowed down while the rest of the world passes by at its normal pace.
An early version of this work was created on March 23rd, 2017. It was originally rendered as a duet between an alto flute and bass clarinet.
March 2017 | Fixed Media, Stereo