Manipulation and Accompaniment of Algorithmically Generated Source Material - Volume 2 : Into the Abyss

by Modern American Village Music

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This album continues to explore and develop the ideas from the Volume 1. As in Volume 1 this album uses an original algorithm created in Pure Data Extended to trigger software instruments of piano and bass in Propellerhead's Reason. Unlike Volume 1 the drums sounds and patterns are generated using Apple's Logic Pro X Drummer algorithms set to follow the bass lines (there is a different algorithm for each variation that follows the same basic song structure instructions). Another new element is the inclusion of percussionist Ray Holmes. Ray plays the same instrument at designated parts in the structure, but the pattern is improvised in the moment reacting to the piano, bass, and drums. Again the result is then further tweaked and original Reason Combinator patches were created (each track variation has its own unique patch(es)) to complement and emphasize the preexisting audio. All 5 variations utilize a slight variation on the same further developed Pure Data Extended algorithm which has built-in randomizers for variation. So again while each variation follows the same basic form and instructions, it will never play the piece exactly the same way twice. One main difference from Volume 1 to highlight is the abandonment of a fixed scale. Instead the next note has 3 different possibilities: 1) Repeat the previous note, 2) Play a new note that is a small leap (under an octave) which is a fixed number of half steps away from the current note (can be lower or higher) 3) Play a new note that is a large leap (an octave or larger) which is a fixed number of half steps away from the current note (again can be lower or higher pitch). The result is atonal with no gravitational pull to a home/center pitch which is great from achieving the theme of this album. Hopefully after time and exposure to the music the listener will start to be able to predict the motion/contour/attitude of the melodies. Each variation has its own unique flavor. The next note leap possibilities for each variation are as follows in half steps: Variation 6: 4 & 16, Variation 7: 1 & 11, Variation 8: 3 & 15, Variation 9: 6 & 13, Variation 10: 7 & 12.

As before these tracks are treated as études (studies). The goal was to create an algorithm that mimics live musicians improvising. My approach was to treat the algorithmic parts as if I was working with a session musician or soloist. I like to think of this style of composing as "behavioral composition". Instead of dictating exact melodies/patterns, I am "stacking the deck" and encouraging certain things/events to happen with greater possibility than others. I am giving the soloist/algorithm the basic instructions and vibe but what comes out is produced in the moment by the soloist/algorithm. "Into the Abyss" is about having the courage to dive into the unknown and then trying to make sense of the new alien environment.


released August 8, 2016

Ray Holmes - percussion, Bobby Kostlan - electronics.



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