Vanishing Point

posted in: All Music | 0

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soundfile composition

(1989)

Vanishing Point is made of sampled, altered percussion sounds. It stretches the possibilities of what a live percussion ensemble might do rhythmically and sonically.

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Program notes

Vanishing Point 10:29 computer generated (1989) Vanishing Point is made of sampled, altered percussion sounds. It stretches the possibilities of what a live percussion ensemble might do rhythmically and sonically. Three stages went into the work. First, while developing the sounds of a large percussion ensemble, I wanted to preserve a drum machine sound quality. That proved easy. Secondly, a variety of phrases using the sounds were explored algorithmically using a microcomputer. Four types of phrases evolved, distinguished by their rhythmic feel. The “nature type” includes the jangling of wind chimes or scratchy sounds from a room next door. The “expressive type” has a certain drummer-like feel. The other two are engine-like “mechanical” rhythms and dream-like “psychological” rhythms. In the last step, phrases were assembled into a final montage. The guiding notion was to play with persistence of these images, so that in the course of the piece they are being forgotten, remembered, ignored and transformed by each other. The only unique instrument that was sampled is the Stegosaurus, built in 1973 from a buck saw I found in the Berkshires. It has plates of metal mounted along the back of a wooden box which can be bowed or struck. Spectral Modeling Synthesis software by Xavier Serra was used to isolate the bow noise sound of the Stegosaurus. The interactive panning program of Marina Bosi was used to control sound paths.

Four types of phrases evolved, distinguished by their rhythmic feel. The nature type includes the jangling of wind chimes or scratchy sounds from a room next door. The expressive type has a certain drummer-like feel. The other two are engine-like mechanical rhythms and dream-like psychological rhythms. In the last step, phrases were assembled into a final montage.

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