Tuesday 2 December 2014

I’m working on a new piece of music, made from live digital electronic synthesis. The concept is quite simple.


Lots of software patches, connected together into interconnecting circuits. None of the patches are designed to make sound, only to process it; but when you connect them into circuits they produce audible feedback. When you feed the circuits into each other they modify each other’s feedback. This can have a cascading effect, with unexpected consequences.


I work on it: the piece starts to behave in the way I expected it to. It’s a bit rough around the edges, so I work on it some more: it sounds terrible. Next day I tweak a couple of points: suddenly it’s magnificent. All it needs is a little polishing: when it’s done the piece is unlistenable.

At each stage, it feels as though to make progress it is necessary to in fact step backwards and undo the most recent work. Listening back to previous stages, it is apparent that this is not the case. This creative process reveals itself more as a continual retracing of steps, rediscovering what was there all along. With sufficient patience, you could in theory approach asymptotically an idealised conception of the work.

In the meantime, here are two short test recordings. Each is the same, only the chance-determined weightings for each patch’s controls are different.