In the moment of disaster, the old order no longer exists and people improvise rescues, shelters, and communities. Thereafter, a struggle takes place over whether the old order with all its shortcomings and injustices will be reimposed or a new one, perhaps more oppressive or perhaps more just and free, like a disaster utopia, will arise.
- Rebecca Solnit from A Paradise Built in Hell
2020 is a tectonic shift, a rapidly changing reality of intertwined symbiotic cause and effect events. The precarity of life, health and care, ignored for so long by those wielding political power, are catalyzed front and center by the pandemic. As the fascist U.S government rants about antifascists and calls to sacrifice whole communities to “the economy” -- the distinction between those wearing masks and those who refuse echo within all areas of existence.
A phone call and I am outside. Handing over a paper bag with shields to Tom who is wearing a respirator. Tom and I had never met until that very moment. He is one of over 30 people who came together to make and deliver protective face shields to essential workers.
For two months the soundtrack for many of us was the overlapping howling of sirens on the streets. Each siren -- a life, tied to multiple lives trying to save it.
The sound piece presented here is a full cycle of 3D printers printing frames for protective shields. Four 3D printers printed shield frames for two months 24/7 to meet the immediate need for personal protective equipment in New York; and as time progressed, other states and countries. The continuous chorus of 3D printing frames for protective shields became a song I would hum as I lived with the never ending cycle of rapid prototyping for a rapidly spreading emergency. It became a second layer for the ambulance soundtrack during my time in lockdown. The full cycle lasts just over 5 hours and results in frames for shields donated to essential workers during the height (at the time of writing this on June 14, 2020) of the Covid-19 pandemic.
An invisible transmission of vibrations from matter to matter is present in my installations. Permeating objects, vibrations are amplified and modulate the sound differently depending on the object's materiality; as does the virus --- transmitting through proximity, amplifying, growing and affecting each body differently, depending on their materiality, on their history and prior interaction with the world.
The intangible mutates… altering tangible objects, creating presence, effecting change with an invisible force.
There are always images
if there are not we imagine them
if they are not outside we seek for them inside
if they are outside we adapt them
There are always images
words are images
sounds become an image
the wind becomes an image
happiness is an image
We wait for them
Do we need them?
They come out on their own
The images that we already have
the ones we recognize
the ones we create from the ones we already have
those that accumulate
those which prevail in history
The world reveals itself through images
images create the world
the image of the world. A spherical blue and green shape floating on a black background
When and how did I get to know that image? Who showed it to me the first time I saw it?
How did the world think before having it?
Does the world exist without it?
and now that I have it, could I forget it?
The world without image
the world without what is thinkable
is the world of the possible
of the contingency
lots of worlds, other orders?
The image of the other
The image of threat?
The images themselves
Perhaps I should leave the question aside
It seems like it's taking us to a familiar place
I invited 9 people to listen to the Hole - a hole more than 8 meters deep located in the courtyard of the industrial building where I live. In order to access it you have to go down a set of emergency stairs.
The hole is a dark cavity
a tunnel towards something that we cannot reach
we don't fit in it
but we want to fit.
The hole is a container
of our own answers
a container of desire
and a place to wait for that desire
We listen to the hole
if it answers our questions
The hole lacks something
that we always want to fill
We look at each other
in a black circle
of 10 cm diameter
The Hole, halfway between action and sound installation, is a recording which documents a collective listening session of a hole. The session was held in May 2020 and it tries to explore states of contingency where the self is continually negotiated with the other, experiencing how listening can be determined by expectations, longings, fears and everything that comes from the participants' (and listeners) reading code.
The hole is presented here as the favorable scenario in which one could put into practice a term I’ve dubbed contingent objects, which also gathers some of my latest work where I try to investigate the concept of Alterity from a socio-semiotic perspective. Contingent objects refers to situations which as a practice experiment with how The Self appears in collision with The Other, acting as a force that in advance tends to cancel the possibility of thinking that which does not pass through the conceptual network of representation. Thus, symbolic structures appear as mediating and modeling figures of things in context and above all as legitimizing mechanisms of hegemonic realities and ideologies.
These systems of representation encode the knowledge of the "external" and contemplate in a massive and general way the difference that limits them to a possible and dominant reality. The same image makes the Other become both interior and strange; it also reduces the limit experience of the exterior to contours, lights, shadows, lines, points. In this way, to seek meaning is to impose similarities so that the Other is configured as an instrument in which you seek so that the unknown can be thinkable. The Own provides a mentality, a genealogy, an atmosphere and most importantly allows it to be treated as a phenomenon with regular characteristics, limiting itself to a process of closure or domestication.
The Other, as a synonym for the unknown, the outside, the strange, the Uncertain or the invisible, threatens to destabilize ideological dogmas,whose only possible defense is to project and infer recognizable schemes consistent with the belief system that perceives it. However, the external is revealed as a non-place from which to reflect on the limits of the thinkable, disobedience and the renewal of the Self.
My research, which began in Mexico in 2015, has given rise in my last works to study the hole as a contingency stage, as a pre-sign space in which significance has not yet been imposed,in which to be able to experience the Outside, the non-representable freed from the image or the postulates or on the contrary to dive into the logic of meaning and recognition of the Self.
On the other hand, my work also explores from a more political perspective the excavation as a disturbance, cracking, an anomaly that reveals the impenetrability of institutional structures.
Siempre hay imágenes
si no hay, las imaginamos
si no están fuera, las buscamos dentro
si están fuera, las adaptamos
Siempre hay imágenes
las palabras son imágenes
los sonidos se vuelven imagen
el viento se vuelve imagen
la felicidad es una imagen
Las imágenes que ya tenemos
las que reconocemos
las que creamos a partir de las que ya tenemos
las que se acumulan
las que prevalecen en la Historia
El mundo se nos revela a través de imágenes
Las imágenes crean el mundo
La imagen del mundo. Una forma esférica azul y verde flotando en un fondo negro.
¿Cuándo y cómo conocí esa imagen? ¿Quién me la enseñó por primera vez?
¿cómo pensaba el mundo antes de tenerla?
¿Existe ese mundo sin ella?
y ahora que la tengo ¿Podría olvidarla?
El mundo sin imagen
el mundo sin lo pensable
es el mundo de los posibles
de la contingencia
muchos mundos ¿Otros órdenes?
Lo imagen de lo Otro
¿La imagen de la amenaza?
Las propias imágenes
Tal vez debería dejar a un lado la pregunta
Parece que nos lleva hacia un lugar conocido
Invité a 9 personas a escuchar el Hoyo, un agujero de más de 8 metros de profundidad que se encuentra en el patio al que conduce las escaleras de emergencia traseras del edificio industrial en el que vivo.
El hoyo es una cavidad oscura
Un túnel hacia algo que no podemos alcanzar
pero queremos caber.
El hoyo es un contenedor
de nuestras propias respuestas
un contenedor de deseos
un lugar donde esperarlos
Al hoyo lo escuchamos
si responde a nuestras preguntas
Algo le falta al hoyo
que siempre queremos rellenar
en un círculo negro
de 10 cm de diámetro
El Hoyo, a medio camino entre la acción y la instalación sonora, es una grabación que documenta una sesión de escucha colectiva de un agujero. La sesión se realizó en Mayo de 2020 y trata de explorar estados de contingencia en dónde lo propio es continuamente negociado con lo otro, experimentando cómo la escucha puede estar determinada por las expectativas, los anhelos, los miedos y todo aquello que proviene de los códigos de lectura de los participantes oyentes.
El hoyo, se presenta aquí como el escenario propicio para poner en práctica un término al que ha llamado "contingent objects" y que agrupa a algunos de mis últimos trabajos que tratan, desde una perspectiva socio-semiótica, investigar el concepto de Alteridad. "Contingent objects" hace referencia a situaciones que ponen en práctica cómo Lo propio aparece en la colisión con lo Otro actuando como una fuerza que tiende por anticipado a cancelar la posibilidad de pensar aquello que no pasa por la red conceptual de la representación. Así, aparecen las estructuras simbólicas como figuras mediadoras y modelizantes de las cosas en el contexto y sobre todo como mecanismos legitimadores de las
realidades e ideologías hegemónicas. Estos sistemas de representación codifican el conocimiento de lo “externo” y plantean de forma masiva y general la diferencia que los acota en una realidad posible y dominante. La misma imagen hace que lo Otro se vuelve a la vez interior y extraño, que la experiencia límite de lo de afuera quede reducida a unos contornos, luces, sombras, trazos, puntos. De esta manera, buscar el sentido es imponer semejanzas para que lo Otro se configure como un instrumento al que se acude para que aquello desconocido pueda ser pensable. Lo Propio proporciona una mentalidad, una genealogía, una atmósfera y, lo más importante, permite tratarlo como un fenómeno con unas características regulares, limitándose a un proceso de clausura o de domesticación.
Lo Otro, en tanto sinónimo de lo desconocido, del afuera, lo extraño, lo Incierto o lo invisible amenaza con desestabilizar los dogmas ideológicos y cuya única defensa posible es proyectar e infererir unos esquemas reconocibles coherentes con el sistema de creencias que lo percibe. Sin embargo, lo externo se revela como un no lugar desde donde reflexionar acerca de los límites de lo pensable, la desobediencia y la renovación de lo Propio.
Todo esta investigación, que empezó en México en el año 2015, a dado lugar en mis últimos trabajos a estudiar el hoyo como un estadio de contingencia, como un espacio del pre-signo en el que todavía no se ha impuesto la significación y en el cual poder vivir el Afuera, lo no representable liberado de la imagen o los postulados o por el contrario sumergirse en las lógicas de sentido y reconocimiento de lo Propio.
Por otro lado, mi trabajo también explora desde una perspectiva más política la excavación como perturbación, resquebrajamiento, anomalía que pone de manifiesto el hermetismo de las estructuras institucionales.
But sounds have been heard in the sky. They have been heard, and it is not possible to destroy the records of them. They have been heard. In their repetitions and regularities of series and intervals, we shall recognize perhaps interpretable language. Columns of clouds, different- colored by sunset, have vibrated to the artillery of other worlds like the strings of a cosmic harp, and I conceive of no buzzing of insects that can forever divert attention from such dramatic reverberations. Language has shone upon the dark parts of the moon: luminous exclamations that have fluttered in the lunar crater Copernicus; the eloquence of the starlike light in Aristarchus; hymns that have been chanted in lights and shades upon Linné; the wilder, luminous music in Plato-
- Charles Fort “New Lands”
For the past 7 years, under the project Lxv I have attempted to instigate occurrences of apophenia, the “unmotivated seeing of connections accompanied by a specific feeling of abnormal meaningfulness” (K. Conrad); by obscuring language and sounds and taking prerecorded samples and field recordings and processing them in a way to create time distortions and auditory contraptions. If we understand “modern media technology- ever since the invention of film and gramophones- as fundamentally arranged to undermine sensory perception” (F. Kittler) then, if successful, I was just cascading upon a preexisting illusion. I am interested in the idea of pattern recognition in music, and an often thin leash to which a listener may follow deviations from an expected path; presented by such elements as tempo, beat, genre and other given parameters. It is said that rhythm is the one indispensable element of all music. I have a horrible sense of rhythm, maybe its because my ears are crooked on my head, but where exactly is the rhythmic line? Plato's observation is that rhythm is simply “an order of movement”. The sounds presented in this mix represent my own tendencies to seek out, or to recognize patterns, maybe where they are not; in white noise, clicks, interference, in random sound occurrences. The sounds are mostly gathered from my own amateur experiments in the field with VLF and shortwave radios, from electronic interference in my faulty consumer electronics, from exchanging image file data as sound, and from static.
Order of sounds:
Number Station (FDR Park, Philadelphia, tuned by Kira, 4/19/20)
Radio Low Pass (year unknown)
Thunderstorm received by “Tesla” style open tuned crystal radio (Girard Ave. Philadelphia, 9/18/18)
Dual Oscillators Pure data (year unknown)
Realistic Synth (3/20)
Field Recording (Frazeysburg, Ohio, 5/17)
Shit Charger (Year Unknown)
VLF Radio (The Serpent Mound, Ohio, 5/17)
Roland SP808EX (Year Unknown)
VLF Pitched (Year Unknown)
Shortwave, Thunderstorm (4/20)
Shortwave, Bit reduced (3/20)
Unknown JPEG (Year unknown)
Radio Arrangement (3/20)
A Reader Response Exercise for 10 Participants & GRM Sample Pack
“With some conceptual tools, we will be able to find one or several desirable directions for music without having to obey to the dictatorship of technology. For example, the possibilites [sic] of AI in music is in the air nowadays. Lots of people are talking about it but it’s striking how little we think about what music actually is or should be. How can we have a valid opinion on the new possibility computer sciences offer to us as composers if we don’t think harder about the purpose of music itself? That’s one fascinating topic we are really willing to explore at GRM, in order to find the most relevant path in our R&D and software development, but also as composers and music lovers. Experimenting now is not trying every possible technological tool in order to build new sounds and new music. That was the childhood of experimental music, much needed and exciting, but still a childhood. Experimenting now is trying to find what music still can be in a world where almost everything is reduced to signals and information.” (www.ableton.com)
This recording is an excerpt from a long-duration complex polyrhythm, which consists of the beats of 100 different tempos. Each click on the track corresponds to a beat in one of the rhythmic layers. The number of beats for each voice in a complete cycle (at which point all the voices would sound exactly together) are listed below.
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a confused apparatus of sequencers with variable degrees of randomization functioning in some variation of tandem -::each alleatorically progressing through respective possible steps, a range of values sometimes plucked, chance driven from a pool of possibilities, some drunkenly staggered through miscellaneous orderings of predetermined values, sometimes running a prescripted line in proper order
& some degree of connectivity between each channel of data being output::- i.e. amplitude restrictions and allowances envelopes generated based on the data produced by one sequencer draped onto another but frequently swapped vice versa or onto some third or forth etc. element and back implying some correlative relation without definitive chain of causation
conceptual choices for samples or synthesizer sound profiles are vague the impetus for this recent body of work has been to provide some form of self guided abstracted meditation for the listener and dip into school of ‘ambience’ articulated in some infinitely non repetitious scene-passing-window of slowly moving nightcar allowing a tap into and out of with ease;;-
generally lately of the form of some thoroughly carved acapella vocalist processed into affected theatrics joined with some number of processed and relatively clean virtual synthesizers some found sounds some anachronistic digital instrument protocol equivalent to midi, soundfont, arguably more operable in max coming together hopefully cohesively into what intends to be a fragile mosaic of sound, tension between nearrhythms asymptotically dialoguing each other from as close a distance without convergence possible, some amorphous theoretical sculpture on the verge of collapse
From a conversation I had with Eric Laska over the phone, we discussed ideas and challenges of a work-in-progress I had been developing under my moniker Ex Continent titled Sistemes Dintre de Sistemes Dintre de Sistemes. The piece was originally presented at FASE Art Center in L’Hospitalet, Spain but later commissioned by Sonic Acts to be shown at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. During its development some doubts arose about how to properly re-introduce the piece and what my personal expectations would be from presenting it in public.
During February 2020 I took several trips to the UK and Japan where I had the chance to perform as Ex Continent and test some of these ideas. While traveling, my encounter with the other, the unknown influenced the creative process and my relationship with the piece.
The conversation, which starts centered on the nature of the piece eventually becomes self-reflective around the argument that the cognitive processing of everyday life information might possibly affect perception and creative decisions more than we would expect. During the conversation I became uncomfortable with the idea of obsession as a source element for creation. The discussion brought me back to the subject of human perception and my belief that neurological stimulation which happens in the subconscious can sneak into our decision making processes, reinforcing the idea of the artist as a channel for information rather than the source.
As both this project and conversation reflect a work-in-progress, further reflections on this subject are on-going.
The following people were crucial through this process and for that reason I would like to especially thank them:
Violeta Mayoral, Rafa Romero, my mom and brother Pep, Eric Laska, Patricio Rivera and FASE, Dali de Saint Paul, Miguel Prado, Kazumichi Komatsu, Hideki Umezawa, Kazunori Toganoki, Fuyumi Murata and Mumei, Marzia Matarese, the organization folks at Sonic Acts, Stedelijk Museum and all the many technicians and workers at the festival who helped me put the piece together.
Arnau Sala Saez, Barcelona February 2020.
—Fushimi Inari Shrine Ritual (interrupted), Kyoto
—Ex Continent Live Bristol - Excerpt
—Tokyo Central ambiance
—Unknown Performance - Setsubun at Sensō-ji Temple
—Tokyo Central ambiance
—Taito Station, Asakusa
—Ex Continent Live Tokyo - Excerpt
—Pachinko in Asakusa, Tokyo
—Ambiance from Kazumichi Komatsu’s Live set, Tokyo
—Ex Continent Live Tokyo - Excerpt
—Tokyo Subway, Chuo Line
—Ex Continent Live Bristol - Excerpt
—Tokyo Subway, Chuo Line
—Tokyo Mall, Asakusa
—Ex Continent - Sound from installation at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
*Note: I used some of Rafa Romero’s source saxophone improvisations and heavily processed them for a lot of my live recordings used in these performances.
More info — https://arnausalasaez.com/
When creating this sound piece, I wanted to incorporate modalities that have helped me and fascinated me throughout the years.
Time is an illusion. Our Subconscious Minds cannot gauge what time it is or what reality we are living in. The Subconscious mind is operating on past patterns. All you need to do is install new patterns in your supercomputer (your mind) for a new reality.
Recording of a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Timeline Therapy session
Excerpts read from Personality Profile Through Handwriting Analysis by D. John Antony, O.F.M.Cap.
Field recordings (handwriting – lead pencil on paper)
If you can influence your brain to change before you experience
a desired future event, you will create the appropriate neural
circuits that will enable you to behave in alignment with your
intention before it becomes a reality in your life. Through your
own repeated mental rehearsal of a better way to think, act, or be,
you will “install” the neural hardware needed to physiologically
prepare you for the new event...
So can you believe in a future you cannot yet see or experience
with your senses but have thought about enough times in your
mind that your brain is actually changed to look like the experience
has already happened ahead of the physical event in your
external environment? If so, then your brain is no longer a record
of the past, but has become a map to the future. (Dispenza, 2012, p. 52)
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself - How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One by Dr. Joe Dispenza
- EP 2/6/2020
STS (2019) is an 8-channel installation work comprised of recordings made over a 15-year period on differing Serge Modular systems recorded at the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity, the Columbia Computer Music Center, Elektron Musik Studion, the Groupe de Recherches Musicales, Harvard University Studio for Electro-Acoustic Composition, and Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio convolved with fragments of speech, recitation, and extra-textual verbal communication.
Partly an homage to formative speech-transformation works such as Herbert Eimert’s “Epitaph für Aikichi Kuboyama (1960-1962)”, the mapping of the frequency spectra of time-aligned formants to a catalog of full-range synthesizer signals yields a warm, attenuated field of sustained sound that ebbs through each space at a modest volume, inviting the listener to dwell on individual timbres, phrases, and conversations while assessing the overall sound-field. Utilizing a sliding, modular structure to diffuse linked stereo pairs of convolutions into 4 discrete chambers, the individual parts become groups of voices heard distinctly, overheard from the next room, or made subliminally aware of via bleed-through from each adjoining space.
This stereo track was presented as part of the debut staging of the full 8-channel piece at Remote Viewing in Philadelphia on April 28th, 2019.
I noticed a long strand of VHS tape entwined around a power line running adjacent to a bridge that crosses over a freight train yard. I walked across the bridge everyday, each time the strand shifted from the wind, its movement held in a new form of continuous fluctuation and radiating motion in fluid contortions. At night I would walk across the bridge or just stand there to listen to the long sustained tones of railway flanges weaving around one another forming a shrill, gossamer bloom or emanating solitarily in the distance. The anti-vacuum tubes of the train engines would string together short bursts of steam as constellations of repetition in a spatial and temporal field. For the brief point of time that the strand was there I would reflect on the presence of the audible form from the trains and inaudible form of the billowing tape, the closeness of both forms existing in the same place, bearing witness only as long as the tape remained connected to the power line and only as long as the sounds from the trains remained uncovered in the quiet night.
When walking out onto a frozen lake, I experienced the late winter sun setting in a cloudless sky, shining directly flush golden into my eyes; the light reflected off the vast surface of snow I was walking on, a blinding light from below me as well as above, extending to the horizon. The wind's visceral spectrum filled my ears with sound and enveloped my body. In this moment there was a closeness in total light and total sound which subsumed my senses, revealing in their absence (my gazing down, the wind lessening) the faintest wash of tiny ice crystals' accumulated collisions on the surface of the lake.
I stood in a greenhouse. Enclosing the structure were two layers of netting, above were cumulus clouds. The wind would blow the netting and the layers would separate from one another, then come together again. Both layers of mesh were of equal dimension and material, in their curving interstice a continuously transforming grid was superimposed on the passing clouds. Standing inside this structure and gazing up formed a manifold plane of variance in the motion of the netting and intersecting lines with the shapes and movement of the clouds.
I have always enjoyed floating in a body of water with my ears below the surface and eyes above.
Words sit on the page differently if they first existed as sound versus writing; they crystallize differently. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently in relation to scores, feeling a little suspicious of writing things down, and wanting to take a step back to review what happens when sound is transduced into image. I’ve gotten interested in orality studies because the relationship of literacy and orality seems to have a lot in common with the relationship of notated music and aurally-composed music.
In the 1930s, Milman Parry upended long-held assumptions about the past by demonstrating that the Homeric epics were not great works of literature, but rather great works of oral performance. It was a combination of the poetry’s prosody and pneumonics that caused the language to crystallize differently. In this kind of oral performance there is a distinctive kind of repetition, a repetition of stock names or phrases that assist both the listener and the performer. But in writing these kinds of repetitions are tedious, which is why many translators of the Iliad and Odyssey do away with them and alter the language to be more graceful in written form.
Homeric epic in the original Greek is rhythmic, set in the meter of dactylic hexameter: each line having six beats of long-short-short or long-long. The poets were probably very good at improvising this rhythmic speech three-thousand years ago; Herodotus wrote that when the Oracle at Delphi delivered her prophesies, she spoke in perfect dactylic hexameter. We know that poets and prophets back then could develop this skill, because these practices have persisted in various languages and meters through the millennia. In order to gain insight about ancient bardic practices, Milman Parry traveled to then-Yugoslavia in the 1930s with an early tape recorder to record bards who perform Serbo-Croatian epic poetry and accompany themselves with the gusle, a 1-string bowed instrument.
Shortly thereafter, Milman Parry shot himself in a hotel room in Los Angeles, quite possibly by accident. His student Albert Lord carried on the work, continuing to record Serbian bards into the 1950s, and in 1960 published The Singer of Tales in which he analyzed the performance practice of the oral poets. What Parry and Lord wanted to understand was how the form of the oral poetry was shaped by the absence of reading and writing because, while the bards could belong to any economic class, they all had one thing in common: they were illiterate. Yet, without knowing what a syllable is, they would still put the same number of syllables in every line of poetry just by knowing what feels right.
Avdo Mededović was considered to be one of the great bards of his generation, not for any exceptional vocal or instrumental abilities, but rather for his storytelling. A bard’s personal style, their unique way of providing the details of an archetypal story, is the measure of their skill. The same story can be told in 2000 lines or 6000 lines. The difference is in the poet’s embellishments, with each section of a poem being expandable or contractible, based on the needs of the circumstances and the whims of the performer. Here is a short video of Mededović performing with the gusle. There are also a handful of recordings by Mededović and others available on Harvard’s Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature. It is a hypnotic sound, hovering between music and language.
There are two recent pieces that I would like to share that were somehow inspired by the performance practice of epic poetry. The first one, Three studies for viola da gamba, led to the second, Four studies for viola d’amore. A few years back, prior to learning about Milman Parry and reading Albert Lord’s book, I had begun a practice of improvising repetitive sounds on the gamba for long periods of time, so long that I would lose my mind and stop really paying attention to what I was actually playing. Reaching that mental state felt like a point of arrival, a place where I could finally let my body establish its own patterns and start building up ideas based on those tendencies.
About 6 months later I came to learn about these bards and started to have a framework to understand the difference between sounds produced through memory recall vs. spontaneous formation. Over the years, bards develop their craft by gradually adding more and more material to their repertoire, repeating lines and learning to embellish them until the language is written into their bodies. While this bears some similarity to rote memorization, in terms of embodiment is a very different practice and sensation.
Similarly, both of these pieces for solo string instruments emerged gradually through a repetitive practice and, as much as is possible, without writing anything down. They sound generally the same from one performance to the next, even though much of the specific rhythmic, harmonic, melodic and timbral material is quite variable. I have been developing and performing Three studies for viola da gamba since October 2018. The first study is inspired by the early recordings of the bards captured on imperfect tape recorders, quiet and staticky and warped. The second study is also very quiet, hissy and tenuous. The third study repeats noisy 7 chords and then there is a coda.
Four studies for viola d’amore, developed in collaboration with Marco Fusi from November 2018 to March 2019, grew directly out of Three studies for viola da gamba as a first attempt to create a piece for another person that would, in a similar way, harness their own mindless inclinations and internal rhythms. Fusi was a perfect person to work with, being someone who researches collaborative relationships between composer and performer, and also just so happens to play a 7-string bowed instrument even more obscure than my own. The studies explore unique features of the viola d’amore, such as the sympathetic strings (which can also be plucked) or the shallowness of the bridge (which allows for the easy production of triple-stops and even quadruple or quintuple in the right situation).
There is no score for the gamba studies, but for the viola d’amore studies some things still needed to be written down due to the long-distance nature of the collaboration: a couple sketches along the way, and also a text score that was made after the fact. Even though these works weren’t created that differently from others, having a focused awareness of the process and a deliberate suspicion of notation feels like something new. I’ll keep at it for a while, writing nothing down or at least as little as possible, while still working to create mannered little pieces that feel very composed. It’s not that I don’t love writing and notation and paper, but things can be written down in the body as well, and sometimes the act of putting something on the page works in contrary, inadvertently taking the music out of the body more than intended.
It's an energy, it's the light, it's a fever. It could be a sound that's heard in our ears. Now that the boundary of sound has expanded beyond what it was in my childhood, the distinction between good and bad sounds is no longer important. It just exists on its own and is valued by someone to be meaningful. Wherever you are, whatever you do, you can hear the sound, and you can record the moment when you're listening. It's an element of sound that I define. Of course, that's not important or it might be important depending.
I don't know what I've been after. I chose an irreversible path but I think I'm back on track although I don't know exactly. It's circling but no one knows where it's going. We may be trapped in a fiction created by someone. If so, I'm sure I'll escape the room.
This song is a collection of parts that document the process of my escape. I'm still stuck in a lot of different things, and a lot of people have told me how to get out, but I'm struggling not to run away and leave this orbit in my own way.
I just want to say, I love my wife and two sons. Other words may not have been needed in the first place.
The audio comprises two realizations of These are They, locally by Bhob Rainey and externally by Eric Laska. Rainey's realization includes material contributions from Chris Cooper, Ernst Karel, Leila Bordreuil, James Ilgenfritz, Kate Czajkowski, Matt Mitchell, Andie Springer, Carrie Frey, Vasko Dukovski, MinKyung Ji, Gibi ASMR, GentleWhispering, Creative Calm, and Unintentional ASMR. Both realizations were produced autonomously by the software.
EL: You describe "These are They" as an algorithmic "machine." Did you conceive the project as a way for other artists to re-arrange and manipulate their original audio?
BR: First, I should mention “machine”. The README file where that description appears isn’t exactly a paragon of precise terminology, but I was somewhat deliberate in choosing “machine”, for two main reasons:
1.It is metaphorically sound to the point of being on-the-nose. The piece is structured around different sources of “energy” that are gathered by a few loosely coupled “storage centers” that eventually release a transformed version of that energy when certain thresholds are exceeded. It’s an amateur steam engine or maybe a slightly dangerous circuit.
2.There is currently a rush to label any software that does minorly complex things quickly and without assistance as AI. Aside from this being an annoying tic of contemporary society, it is also completely false regarding this piece, which – intentionally – is not “intelligent” and does not “learn”. So, just “machine”, no “learning”.
I’m fascinated by many aspects of machine learning (the algorithms and math involved are often strikingly elegant), but it is still largely a practice of statistical imitation. If you want it to produce an unforeseeable aesthetic outcome (without being too fast and loose with the meaning of “aesthetic”), you have to either deliberately introduce some kind of noise or design your experiment badly (and get really lucky). People who are doing the hard work in this area will justifiably have a bone to pick with my terse critique, but, ultimately, it still requires a lot of data and a lot of real, heat-releasing energy to get any kind of aesthetically surprising output from machine learning at this time. As someone who is primarily interested in the aesthetic process and not in furthering the field of artificial intelligence, I consider this energy wasted.
So, lately, rather than making programs that are intelligent, I’ve been focusing on programs that are “mysterious”, “inscrutable”, “other”. While these programs, once executed, usually operate without assistance, they still require some form of human interaction to achieve resonance, the intention being that there is a productive encounter between the person(s) and the “other”.
Which brings me to your actual question – did I conceive this as a way for other artists to manipulate, etc., their original audio? Ultimately, no. I conceived this as an encounter that produces questions and problems analogous to the interpretation of traditional scores but in a contemporary technical environment that draws on different skill sets. It is ultimately a distinct piece that will always have a particular, if aleatoric, form, where a person can have dramatic effects on its outcome by developing intuitions regarding how the piece’s rigid and flexible components interact. It is a piece that can be learned and interpreted.
Typically, when an audio program isn’t a fixed or entirely self-generating piece, it is either a compositional tool (lloop, UPIC, Abelton, etc.), an instrument (virtual or augmented), or an electronic partner / accompanist (Voyager, ImproteK). While these all introduce “opinions” that affect the outcome of the music produced with them, they largely function more like “environments” than compositions requiring unique realization. I greatly appreciate that the best of these environments offer a well-tuned set of options and limitations, but I also long for the more specific challenges of interpreting and executing compositions. So, how might a piece of software idiomatically raise those challenges without merely generating something that is, more or less, a score? Here, I’ve tried tapping a relatively common contemporary skill set – “production”, or, more generally, creating and organizing sound files to mesh with and enhance a given context – and placing it in an ornery and sometimes adversarial situation. It becomes a bit of a puzzle, and to fully realize this piece, you have to get a feel for its transformation over time, and to get that feel, you have to feed the algorithm sounds that “work”, and to do that, you need a combination of intuition, analytical insight, and luck, as well as a feel for the transformation over time, etc. To me, this looks a lot like old-school music learning, and it’s kinda funny that the medium usually used to make things easier is deployed here to keep them difficult in a slightly altered way.
EL: The SuperCollider program includes 5 subfolders for audio that represent different dynamic components of the playback. Though there are quite a few variables to consider - length of the audio files, number of audio files, type of audio material etc. - the resulting material is structured in a particular way. What was your process regarding the structure of the program?
BR: The core components for me were the “talkers” and the synthetic events that interrupt them. I was riffing on the attention strain of 24/7 information and how existing and aspiring autocrats use it to their advantage. While I sympathize with the person who combats the exhaustion of staring at a screen that indiscriminately shifts from spreadsheets to social media stats to news of tragedy and outrage to friendly if ill-timed messages to “stand up and breathe deeply” notifications that pop up while the arctic melts by listening to a Spotify “Chill Out” playlist, I thought that I’d take more of a “ride the wave” approach to not being decimated by the assault of undifferentiated garbage that rather suddenly became the norm for our first world waking hours. This was not an effort to have Art show us Reality as it Really Is, but to find some kind of awareness or even joy that encompasses the mess without minimizing it.
These sorts of ideas are always on the verge of becoming painfully trite. So, I listened to the “talkers” and their rude synthetic complements to see if they had any wise “requests”. I think that this is a pretty standard way of making music, even if talking about it usually gets sloppy – someone lays down a groove and then wonders, What next? To find out, theyessentially ask the groove. Anyway, the material here wanted to be blurred in some places, sharpened in others, and it didn’t want to be confined to my laptop-smartphone anxieties. It also didn’t want to get boring after two minutes. My own intentions, which were to make this a type of algorithmic composition like I just described, complicated things. So, if I felt that I needed a blurry contrast, I had to think about it in a general way that could be expressed as a process and maybe, at most, a category of sound. And I had to think about how another person could navigate through all of this to make their own realization of the piece. I wanted their experience to be challenging but doable.
Five (folders, classes of sounds, types of transformations) emerged as a reliable number for both fun / horrific / perplexing musical outcomes, and for keeping someone engaged in the process of realizing the piece. Each class engenders a different kind of focus, so, when you’ve tweaked “chips” so many times that you don’t know right from wrong, you can switch to “ludes” or “sonks” and refresh your approach.
EL: "These are They" is a work in progress. Aside from minor tweaks to the SC code, what do you envision may change?
BR: Compositionally, the main change I want to make is allowing files within the audio folders to be organized into subsets, so that the piece proceeds from subset to subset after each “lude”. This would allow an individual to plan for a longer compositional arc, and it would also allow for multiple realizations to be organized into a kind of generative compilation.
The code itself is relatively well-organized, but I would like to give it a once-over for clarity and a second once-over for poetry, because, why not let the code itself be part of the expressive universe of the piece?
Installation and usage could be more user-friendly. There are plenty of people who could do amazing work on this piece but who freeze up when confronted with Github and plugin installation and folder structure and a “piece” that looks like an inert slab of characters with no “On” button. I could at least make it so that changes to the audio folder and subsequent re-execution of code is a more simple-looking process. At the same time, none of these things are particularly hard. Most of it comes down to careful reading of easily-accessible instructions, and I’m a little dismayed at how quickly the majority of people who use computers and software every day are reduced to utter helplessness when something is not a two-click process.
That said, I do need to make the notes for the score (largely, the role each folder plays) more score-like. Currently, I’m talking directly with whoever is using the program (to my knowledge). I’m very happy to do that, and it helps me understand better what information gets lost or botched in communication. Eventually, though, I should find language that is both precise yet open enough for people to proceed with a pleasurable ambiguity.
The material point of departure for the accompanying track  is a new implementation of pulsar synthesis seamlessly integrated with the Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emission (DPOAE) and sieve algorithm . The context of this implementation is my ongoing research project focused on historical techniques of pulsar synthesis – first introduced by Curtis Roads in his book Microsound – its conceptual and programming extensions and using it for composition. The nature and aims of the project are twofold. The first one is technical – an analysis of the original Pulsar Generator program, its source code, underlying programming paradigm and user interface which concludes in the design and development of the New Pulsar Generator program . This technical aim entails a reflection on a wider context of issues related to the process of digital instrument design, musical data representation and human computer interaction. The second aim is artistic creation – a systematic instrumental and compositional practice with the New Pulsar Generator, reflecting on particular formal issues afforded through this process. Intertwined here are retrospective analysis and prospective development, which are mutually dependent .
The following text serves as a brief historical and conceptual background to the track ‘(pulsar | head – rhythm) <> sieve’. The bidirectional arrow (< >) in the title indicates the process of osmosis of material (pulsar synthesis) and abstract (analysis descriptors and sieve), phenomenal (auditory) and symbolic (formalised), local (micro-temporal) and global (macro-temporal), and the emergence of timbre and musical form as a pendular movement between them. An investigation of the complex mediation between formalism of abstract procedure acting across and between multiple temporal scales constitutes a pertinent problem in my compositional practice.
I will start with a short introduction of the New Pulsar Generator program, its genealogy within wider sound synthesis categories and its operationalisation of the process of rhythm. The emphasis on the process of rhythm in the conceptualisation of pulsar synthesis allows me to introduce one of many extensions of the program – the analysis of a pulsar train and its re-synthesis with induced DPOAE signal. The rhythm of a pulsar train becomes an instrumentalisation of the very physiological conditions of audition – a head-rhythm. As a conclusion, I would like to introduce the concept of sieve. With its non-temporal nature sieve acts as an organising principle within accompanying work, a pre-existing structural scaffolding modelling the musical form across multiple temporal levels.
The New Pulsar Generator. The New Pulsar Generator (nuPg)  produces a form of synthesis called pulsar synthesis. Pulsar synthesis is a powerful technique of digital sound synthesis named after a highly magnetised rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation at a frequency between 0.25 and 642 Hz. The technique operationalises this range as it generates a hybrid of sounds between discrete pulses and continuous tones which cross the perceptual period from infrasonic pulsations to audio frequencies .
Pulsar synthesis melds established principles within a new paradigm. Its conceptual origins can be traced back to historical analogue synthesis techniques. In its purest form, PS generates a stream of electronic pulses and pitched tones akin to those produced by analogue instruments designed around the principle of filtered pulse trains (e.g. Ondioline, Hohner Elektronium ). However, as a purely digital technique, pulsar synthesis attains the power of precise programmable control and extensibility.
Genealogically, pulsar synthesis belongs to the micro-sound and particle based category of audio synthesis techniques. Aesthetically and conceptually these techniques can be classified as belonging to a wider category of non-standard sound synthesis techniques. The term non-standard has been coined by Stephen R. Holtzman to describe sound synthesis methods that are not based on an acoustical, physical, or psychoacoustic model, but instead utilise abstract concepts of compositional organisation of sound. The non-standard approach, given a set of instructions, relates them to one another in terms of a system which makes no reference to some established model and which relationships themselves are the description of the sound . Within the non-standard paradigm "the computer acts as a sound generating instrument sui generis, not imitating mechanical instruments or theoretical acoustic models" . The emergence of nonstandard sound synthesis systems signified an important conceptual and aesthetic shift brought by the computer and digital domain. The sound production becomes a compositional activity allowing for "the composition of timbre, instead of with timbre". It allows composition to think beyond a practice concerned with a permutational combinatorics within a closed homogeneous system describable essentially by four properties of pitch, duration, dynamic marking, and instrumental timbre. The emergence of nonstandard sound synthesis systems proposed composition with sound-objects – a heterogeneous endless universe of "liberated sounds" . Horacio Vaggione highlighted this shift in an interview with Osvaldo Budón :
The former common paradigm of instrumental music (of which the "total chromatic" serial approach was one of the last manifestations) required a kind of "neutrality of the material", an imperative for a compositional practice that was based on the autonomy of symbolic manipulations. To realize a pure permutational combinatorics, it was necessary to play with notes as "atoms", or primitive building blocks. Here, electroacoustic music caused a real paradigm shift, introducing the sound-object and the idea of morphological multiplicity.
Rather than simply radicalising such dichotomy, the paradigm shift caused by the emergence of electronic music and nonstandard synthesis systems opened a possibility of composition articulating the functionalities particular to each category ("notes", "sound-objects", and beyond) and allowed their integration within a new organisational model. This integrative approach – coalescing the symbolic and iconic representation of musical data  – constitutes a pertinent issue in the compositional practice with pulsar synthesis and the development of its digital instrument incarnations – both the historical Pulsar Generator  and New Pulsar Generator.
Pulsar Synthesis and Process of Rhythm. Pulsar Synthesis operationalises the notion of rhythm with its multi-temporal affordances as a system of interconnected patterns evolving on multiple timescales. The technique generates a complex hybrid of sounds across the perceptual time spans between infrasonic pulsations and audio frequencies, giving rise to a broad family of musical structures: singular impulses, sequences, continuous tones, time-varying phrases, and beating textures. Through its inherently multiscale character pulsar synthesis proposes a unique view on rhythm moving beyond a linear sequence of points and intervals tied to a time grid, and proposes a notion of rhythm as a "continuously flowing temporal substrate" . The extended view of rhythm has been proposed by Edgar Varèse , who wrote that:
Rhythm is too often confused with metrics. Cadence or the regular succession of beats has little to do with rhythm of a composition. Rhythm is the element in music that gives life to a work and holds it together. It is the element of stability, the generator of form.
We can think rhythm generally as any structure or pattern evolving in time. In some cases and specific perceptual limits this pattern can be quantified; we can distinguish the meter and count its basic elements. The scope of rhythm however goes beyond this simple conjunction of onset time and duration. The rhythm "subsumes the undulations internal to a sound, such as accents, swells, vibrato, and tremolo, which can be generalized to fluctuations in any parameter." Ontologically, rather than as a separate entity, the rhythm appears as a construct, a result of the actions –oscillations, modulations and changes of density – in pitch, amplitude, timbre and space . Rhythm’s blurred identity in relation to meter has been highlighted by Eugene Narmour  and cognitive studies have shown that listeners are able to construe the rhythmic organisation solely from melodic structure . This composite nature is reflected in rhythm’s unfolding on multiple timescales. As Cooper and Mayer Cooper observed :
As a piece of music unfolds, its rhythmic structure is perceived not as a series of discrete independent units strung together, but as an organic process in which smaller rhythmic motives, while possessing shape and structure all their own, also function as integral parts of a larger rhythmic organisation.
The recognition of the continuum between multiple timescales is fundamental to the modern concept of rhythm and lies at the core of practice with pulsar synthesis. Such conceptualisation of rhythm can be viewed as a special case of a rhythm-tone continuum. Henry Cowell described how sped-up discrete rhythms become a continuous tone in 1930 :
Rhythm and tone, which been thought to be entirely separate musical fundamentals, are definitely related through overtone ratios. Assume that we have two melodies in parallel to each other, the first written in whole notes and the second in half-notes. If the time for each note were to be indicated by the tapping of a stick, the taps for second melody would recur with double the rapidity of those of the first. If now the taps were to be increased greatly in rapidity without changing the relative speed, it will be seen that when taps for the first melody reach sixteen to the second, those for the second melody will be thirty-two to the second. In other words, the vibrations from the taps of one melody will give the musical tone C, while those of the other will give the tone C one octave higher. Time has translated, as it were, into musical tone.
Karlheinz Stockhausen formulated complementary theory of the continuum between rhythm and pitch in the context of serial music :
If the rate of beats is gradually increased beyond the time constant of the filter and the limits beyond which the ear can no longer differentiate, what started as a rhythmically repeated note becomes continuous. We see a continuous transition between what might be called durational intervals characterised as pitch levels.
In the essay “... how time passes...” he extrapolated a unified view of the relationship between the various time scales of musical structure. Stockhausen begins by noting the generality of the concept of period, an interval between two cycles. Period appears in both rhythm (from 6 sec to 1/16th of a sec) and pitch (from about 1/16th sec to about 1/3200th sec). The key here is that pitch and rhythm can be considered as one and the same phenomenon, differing only in their respective time scales. Taking this argument deeper into the micro-temporal domain, the tone colour or steady-state spectrum of a note can also be seen as a manifestation of micro-rhythm over a fundamental frequency. This point of view can also be applied in the macro-temporal domain. Thus, an entire composition can be viewed as one time spectrum of a fundamental duration. Stockhausen proposed the idea of an absolute uniformity of temporality, irrespective of apparent differences between rhythmic and timbral qualities. A lesson from Stockhausen’s essay “... how time passes...” was to show how difficult it is to apply a proportional series developed for a parameter operating on one timescale (e.g., pitch periods) to another operating on different one (e.g., note durations) . In “The Concept of Unity in Electronic Music” Stockhausen expanded this view by looking at the acoustical frequency continuum as a collection of units broken into different phenomena by human perception :
In working with impulse generator], one must proceed from a basic concept of a single unified musical time; and the different perceptual categories such as colour, harmony and melody, meter and rhythm, dynamics, and form must be regarded as corresponding to the different components of this unified time.
In the composition Kontakte (1960) realized with assistance from Gottfried Michael Koenig  Stockhausen had used an impulse generator to create pulse trains to which he had applied a narrow band-pass filter, which gave each pulse a variable resonance. At narrow band the pulses resonated at a specific pitch. If the pulse train was irregular, the infrasonic impulses generated non-metrical rhythms. By transposing these rhythms – via tape speed manipulations – up into the audible frequency range, Stockhausen was able to build noises from aperiodic impulse trains. The technique of recirculating tape feedback loops was developed in 1951 by Werner Meyer-Eppler, Stockhausen’s teacher . The section between 16:56 and 18:26 of Kontakte features the now iconic transition from rhythm to tone and back to rhythm.
Pulsar synthesis encapsulates this process and renders audible the transfer between rhythmic discrete units and the spectrum of a continuous tone. Perceptually, what on discrete polarity appears as a distinct rhythmic pattern becomes a spectral template on a continuous pole. This continuity – paradigmatic for pulsar synthesis – allows for a flexible modelling of the Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emission that relays perceptual tonal character on rhythmic properties of its beat frequency.
Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emission (DPOAE): Head-Rhythm. In 1856, Hermann von Helmholtz was the first to identify sum and difference tones as products of the auditory distortion . Helmholtz used two prolonged tones with a harmonic interval of less than an octave played at high volume. When two tones – a lower and a higher – sounded together, a third (combination) tone appeared. The observed tone had the frequency equal to a difference between the two primary tones – e.g. the combination of 100 and 250 Hz played at a strong intensity created a tone of 150 Hz. The combination tone is not being emitted externally, but it is clearly, objectively perceived by the listener . An initial explanation for these phenomena was that high-intensity levels forced the linear mechanics of the physical auditory system into a nonlinear region. The nonlinearity thus was thought to be located in the middle ear or in the basilar membrane . A shift in paradigm were findings of Thomas Gold and David T. Kemp which proved that the ear, rather than being passive, should be considered as an active system, and that parts of the inner ear – specifically, the outer hair cells of the basilar membrane – act as a dynamic amplification system . Nowadays, the phenomenon of auditory distortion forms an area of research on otoacoustic emissions, where the “distortion” is defined as a positive feedback mechanism within the cochlea called the cochlear amplifier – a sort of "a tiny loudspeaker in the ear" . In the field of medical practice, the otoacoustic emission phenomena have been used, among other purposes, to test hearing in infants . Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions challenge the sound as a solely externally constructed entity and place the listener as both a recipient and an agent of the auditory process. Listening ceases to be indexically oriented towards an external sound source and re-orientates itself towards the very physiological conditions of audition.
Maryanne Amacher contributed significantly to research on auditory distortion and its creative application into sound art. Her compositions such as “Head Rhythm 1” and "Playing Thing 2" utilised the Triadex Muse – a digital sequencer instrument designed and built by Edward Fredkin and Marvin Minsky at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) . By generating fast-paced interlocking patterns of short sine tones at very high volumes, Amacher achieved a presence of distinct separate musical streams from the audible distortion. In the liner notes to “Sound Characters (Making of the Third Ear)” a CD released by Tzadik, Amacher describes the experience of these tones:
When played at the right sound level, which is quite high and exciting, the tones in this music will cause your ears to act as neurophonic instruments that emit sounds that will seem to be issuing directly from your head ... [my audiences] discover they are producing a tonal dimension of the music which interacts melodically, rhythmically, and spatially with the tones in the room. Tones “dance” in the immediate space of their body, around them like a sonic wrap, cascade inside ears, and out to space in front of their eyes ... Do not be alarmed! Your ears are not behaving strange or being damaged! ... These virtual tones are a natural and very real physical aspect of auditory perception, similar to the fusing of two images resulting in a third three dimensional image in binocular perception ... I want to release this music which is produced by the listener. 
Amacher had laid the foundation for systematic exploration of DPOAEs and engagement with their novel musical properties. Jonathan Kirk and Christopher Haworth provided an extensive list of examples from 20th-century music where the auditory distortion product had been explored as an intentional material strategy . Recent examples of creative investigation of phenomena include Christopher Haworth's “Correlation Number One” (2010), Marcus Schmickler's “Fortuna Ribbon” (2015), Thomas Ankersmit “Otolith” (2015) , and Florian Hecker's “FAVN” (2017).
The application of DPOAE within accompanying track has been based on the Quadratic ( f2 – f1) and Cubic (2 f1 – f2) Difference algorithms proposed by Kendall, Haworth and Cádiz . The authors have provided a set of synthesis techniques by which the DPOAE's can be used in a determined and creative way with control over dynamic parameters of tone such as vibrato, tremolo, spectra and spatial location. A Dynamic Sinusoidal Synthesis (DDS) model has been used to generate material for the work. In DSS the amplitude and pitch of the QDT spectrum is a result of the analysis process performed on a complex and dynamically changing in time model signal . The working of sound material and form completes at the site of a unique psychology and physiology of the listener; here the ear is conceived as an actual instrument .
Listening to the Sieve. Hugo Reimann coined a term Beziehendes Denken - which tentatively can be understood as relational hearing - and defined as setting parts of the whole in relation to each other . A relational hearing defined as such is close to the notion of active listening - a strategy for reconstructing the logical flow of composition by conjoining musical patterns. Fundamental in this conceptualisation is the distinction between horizontal and vertical structures. When structural hearing relates to parts in linear order the process focuses on horizontal relations between adjacent or non-adjacent sections. The vertical structures, on the other hand, refer to parts in hierarchical order, whose relations are super- and subordinate to each other. The aim of structural hearing is to extract relationships horizontally and vertically at each hierarchical level - from the most reductive, the Ursatz or deep structure, to the surface structure, the most elaborate level Vordergrund. These two axes delineate an idealised space for the emergence of musical form. It is on these two axes where the formal procedure of sieve has been used extensively within accompanying work. At the micro-temporal level operations on sieves allowed construction of pulsar generator parameters, such as the pulsaret waveform and the pulsaret envelope. At the meso-time level sieve has the sieve procedure had been applied to generate a pattern of pulsar masking effect. At the macro-timesacle level I have used sieves to generate durations of consecutive sections, shaping the larger scale development of the work. The sieve (cribles) is a formal tool developed by composer Iannis Xenakis for construction of integer-sequence generators that can be applied to generation of various numerical patterns to represent any set of parameters of sound - or well- ordered sound structures - such as pitch series, time-points, loudness, density, degrees of order or local timbres . In mathematics, the term ‘sieve’ is a metaphor for a process of abstraction, a set-theoretical filtering-out that generates series of integers, particularly by means of a modulo operation, that exhibit intervallic repetition . Xenakis used sieves to generate multiple subdivisions of a given span applying different moduli. He then employed logical operators such as intersection or union to construct series that select different elements from the various subdivisions. The power of sieve formula proposed by Xenakis is that it is independent of time. The material generated through this procedure belongs to outside-of-time domain - which means that the way this material will unfold in time is not yet specified. The outside- of-time refers to any aspect of a work of music that can be formalised independently of time. Any other aspect, particularly if dependent on the time flow, belongs to the in- time domain. A 12-ton row, considered in its precompositional, theoretical state, is outside-of-time, while a particular realisation of this series in a score happens in-time. Xenakis used sieves in many of his instrumental compositions, the best documented being Herma for piano solo .The process of composition with pulsars and their DPOAE re-synthesis in conjunction with sieves mobilises a dynamic extension to a hierarchical stratification of auditory processing proposed by Reimann. The relational hearing becomes mediated through various abstractions of musical processes - as a direct experimentation with the micro-temporal emergent sonorities of the synthetic material, as its analysis and re-synthesis and as an outside-time formula.
Acknowledgment. I would like to thank Eric Laska for giving me the opportunity to presentthis sound work with accompanying text. Florian Hecker and Martin Parker for supervision of my research project and ongoing support of my creative work. Curtis Roads and Alberto de Campo for sharing the historical pulsar synthesis and Pulsar Generator code and commenting on the development of the New Pulsar Generator. Marcus Schmickler for advice on aesthetic and technical extensions of the program.
 The track accompanying this short essay is a variation on and an edit out from a forthcoming full-length CD 'The New Pulsar Generator Recordings' to be released on FANCYYYYY label in early 2019. http://www.fancyyyyy.com/
 The code analysed included early (1997) implementation of pulsar synthesis in SuperCollider 1 programming language developed by Curtis Roads and Steven T. Pope as well as a later one (2001) which eventually became Pulsar Generator program developed together with Alberto de Campo
 More information about the program and its documentation can be viewed here: https://www.marcinpietruszewski.com/the-new-pulsar-generator
 For detailed explanation of the technique see Roads, C. . Composing electronic music: a new aesthetic, Oxford University Press, USA and Roads, C. . Microsound, MIT press.
 Holtzman, S. R. . A description of an automated digital sound synthesis instrument, University of Edinburgh, Department of Artificial Intelligence.
 On a problem of representation of musical data see: Müller, M. . Fundamentals of Music Processing: Audio, Analysis, Algorithms, Applications, Springer and Roads, C. and Wieneke, P. . Grammars as representations for music, Computer Music Journal pp. 48–55.
 The original OS 9 Pulsar Generator can be downloaded from Curtis Roads’ webpage: https://www.curtisroads.net/software/
 Roads, C. . Composing electronic music: a new aesthetic, Oxford University Press, USA.
 Berry, W. . Structural functions in music, Courier Corporation.
 Narmour, E. . Toward an analytical symbology: The melodic, harmonic and durational functions of implication and realization, Musical Grammars and Computer Analysis: Atti del Convegno. Florence: Olschki pp. 83–114.
 In 1748 and 1754 respectively, the organist, Georg Sorge (1703–1778), and the violinist, Giuseppe Tartini (1692–1770) both observed the phenomena of "a third tone". For a history of combination tones before Helmholtz, see:Carlton Maley Jr, V. . The theory of beats and combination tones, 1700- 1863.[harvard dissertations in the history of science. O. Gingerich, editor].
 Jennie Gottschalk asks: "If the sound happens exclusively within the hearing mechanism, is it truly objective?" and suggests the answer - "it could be called physically subjective, yet mentally objective", see: Gottschalk, J. . Experimental Music Since 1970, Bloomsbury Publishing USA.
 Helmholtz, H. . On the sensations of tone, Courier Corporation.
 Gold, T. . Hearing. ii. the physical basis of the action of the cochlea, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 135(881): 492–498.
 Kemp, D. T. . Stimulated acoustic emissions from within the human auditory system, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 64(5): 1386–1391.
 Ashmore, J., Avan, P., Brownell, W., Dallos, P., Dierkes, K., Fettiplace, R., Grosh, K., Hackney, C., Hudspeth, A., Jülicher, F. et al. . The remarkable cochlear amplifier, Hearing research 266(1): 1–17.
 See: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12764789.
 Amacher, M. . Sound characters:(making the third ear), Tzadik. Hear ‘Head Rhythm 1’ here.
and Haworth, C. . Composing with absent sound, ICMC.
 listen to an excerpt here: https://soundcloud.com/weerzin/live-at-ctm-2015-ex...
 Kendall, G. S., Haworth, C. and Cádiz, R. F. . Sound synthesis with auditory distortion products, Computer Music Journal .
 Haworth, C. . Ear as instrument, Leonardo Music Journal 22: 61–62.
 Neuhaus, C., Knösche, T. R. and Friederici, A. D. . Similarity and repetition, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1169(1): 485–489
 Neuhaus, C., Knösche, T. R. and Friederici, A. D. . Similarity and repetition, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1169(1): 485–489
 For an in-depth computer aided analysis of the work and underlying sieve procedure see: Agon, C., Andreatta, M., Assayag, G., & Schaub, S. (2004) Formal Aspects of Iannis Xenakis' "Symbolic Music": A Computer-Aided Exploration of Compositional Processes, Journal of New Music Research, 33:2, 145-159
Commissioned and Performed by The Living Earth Show
In Collaboration with Composers:
Zachary James Watkins
We spend 1/3rd of our lives sleeping and dreaming, yet scientist still don’t know exactly why…
SleepWalks is sound artists Andrea Williams and Lee Sparks Pembleton. We lead soundwalks through dreams by performing improvised soundscapes for an audience sleeping overnight in a venue. These dreamscapes are created using field recordings collected around the world over the course of our lives. The performances last twelve-hours, 9:00 PM to 9:00 AM, gently fading out in the morning as participants journal and share their dreams over breakfast.
The goal of this long-term project is to study the relationship between sound and dreams in order to learn to compose collective soundwalks for dreamers. During SleepWalks we record the sound samples that we use and later, by reading the timestamp, we mark possible correlations between the sounds in the improvisation and writings from the participants' dream journals. Dr. Todd Anderson of Sheep Dog Sciences often collaborates with us, providing wireless EEG to allow cleaner synchronization between individuals’ dream states and the sounds playing.
SleepWalks does not use spoken word as part of our guided dreaming. We do not use hypnosis. We do not use subliminal nor subconscious verbal manipulation of any sort.
SleepWalks began in 02009. We have performed SleepWalks at Issue Project Room, NYC; Soundwave Festival, San Francisco; Diapason Gallery, NYC; Parsons Hall Gallery, MA; Mills College, Oakland, CA; and Flux Factory, NYC, among many other venues. In 02016, we collaborated with Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company (ESDC) and Dr. Todd Anderson to create SleepWalks: The Body of Dreams, a multimedia dance performance. Choreography, sets, costumes, and video projections were drawn from journaled dreams where the participants saw each other, and the music for the final piece was taken from the soundscapes that the dancers and audience dreamt through previously. In 2018, SleepWalks: The Body of Dreams had a residency and multi-media performance at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center.
SleepWalks invites you to listen to the 45-minute SleepWalks: The Body of Dreams soundtrack as you sleep. You can journal your dreams and send the documentation along to Andrea Williams at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Our goal with this online manifestation of SleepWalks is to continue our research into how sound elicits dreams, and to look for similarities in the dreams of participants that might be related to the sounds we are all hearing as we sleep.