across an ocean, across the land… (2011-2012)

across an ocean, across the land… (2011-2012)
For solo performer or laptop ensemble

Score and electronics available by request

– Live performance with video by Jacek Kolasinski by Jacob David Sudol, Federico Bonacossa, Kyle Motl, and Daniel Yellin (laptops) at the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami Beach (April 5, 2013)

– Live performance by Jacob David Sudol and Kyle Motl (laptops) at the Harold Golen Gallery in Wynwood, Florida (February 2013)

Studio Recording (m4a lossless)

– Ensemble version with the composer playing every one of the parts (N.B. a binaural mix of the original quadraphonic piece)


Program Note:

across an ocean, across the land… for laptop ensemble was composed in the fall and winter of 2011 for the Florida International University Laptop and Electronic Arts (FLEA) Ensemble that I direct.  The composition uses a collection of 30 short recordings of a big Tibetan singing bowl, a small Tibetan singing bowl, one pair of tingsha (Tibetan prayer cymbals), and the giant Mikrophonie tam-tam as well as multiple simple transformations of these sounds to generate a large variety of consistently non-gestural material.

The compositionis based on slow changes in the properties of many different instantiations of one mildly complex stochastic algorithmic process that selects the transpositions, dynamics, and rhythms of the samples’ playback.  Three other surface algorithmic processes effect how the sounds are virtually positioned in the surround sound quadraphonic speaker setup. The general principle that guides the timing of each of these changes is that the changes should be almost so slow that they can only be noticed after they have happened.  The goal of this approach is to explore and potentially define a region where the meanings of a teleological and static perception of time and form are obscured.  Aesthetically, I also view this approach as a means to create a new sort of ritualistic listening where both serendipity and each individual listener create unique personal engagements with the music and the material.

The results of the stochastic algorithm in across an ocean, across the land… are determined by the interaction of a collection both deterministic and probabilistic variables.  During the performance, the laptop performers use a performance patch to alter some or all of these variables to create the resulting sonic texture.

I have developed similar algorithmic techniques in multiple compositions for instruments and live electronics since “…wash yourself of yourself” (2009-2010).  However, unlike these previous which use either a live instrument or samples from a pitched instrument, the live electronics in across an ocean, across the land… makes extensive use of pre-recorded inharmonic sounds as well as some more extended recordings of textural material.

The composition is diffused through a four-speaker/quadraphonic set up that surrounds the audience.  Four laptop performers control the electronic sounds through a Max/MSP patch that I created explicitly for this composition.  A graphic score outlines the general progression of the composition; however, as has been the case with most of my more freely structured compositions since until we remain suspended…, the duration and general progression of the structure are slightly flexible and scalable.

The title and form of the work, like virtual wind chimes, reflect on the challenges and emotions I faced spending most of the summer, fall, and winter across the Pacific Ocean and/or the United States from my wife.