Hidden Music – Technologies

The use of technology beyond DAW programming is becoming increasingly critical to the project, and allows the rapid generation of works with an accuracy and expediency that would be impractical if not impossible to achieve otherwise. Many of the earlier works involved a crude but secure manual translation, when programming a suitable device would take longer than the task itself – if achievable at all. This is a process that I still use and enjoy, but considering for example that Pendulum Music and Another Day involved staring at trigger points frame by frame on multiple passes, there is a limit to what can be achieved. This section presents several devices in Max/MSP (and Max 4 Live) that I have designed (in most cases in collaboration with programmer and electronic musician Phelan Kane) not only to automate the process but to do so with acuity and objective realisation beyond human capabilities. Above all, technology affords the realisation of real-time translations such as the trigger points used in Web Strings (2016), allowing small movements in the spider web to be tracked by the system and relay instructions immediately.

“Trigger point’ programming in MAX/MSP for Web Strings (2016)

Many such patches have been set up quickly for various projects, discarded, resused in whole or part in other projects. However, I have started building a suite of translators which due to their immediacy allow the live remapping of a translation system, effecting a fluid collaboration between composer and data. In the case of Kandinsky in particular, it has become an intuitive instrument, played by the data but curated, filtered and interacted by its human collaborator. Kandinsky Sketches shows some unedited behind-the-scenes use of Kandinsky using images sent in by my digital community.

Data Loop is a suite of Max4Live freely accessible to a wide community of electronic musicians on Metafunction, allowing climate data (as used in Four Warnings for Piano), text, and real time Asteroid and Weather Data to be translated into music, directly in Ableton Live. This lowers the ‘Max/MSP’ barrier of entry which few musicians previously pass through (or emerge from).

Kandinsky (2019 -)
Asteroid Report (2019)
Crypto (2019)
Climate Report (2019)

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