TAGTRAUM was commissioned by Array Music and is for voice, electronics and chamber ensemble.
There is a small bar called Tagtraum in Düsseldorf, Germany, where I frequented during the Wandelweiser festival of 2017. During this time, I began to further my use of voice re-synthesis by composing a new work for voice-controlled sine tones and chamber ensemble.
While voice resynthesis has an inherent digital virtuosity, the tone can sometimes sound metallic. In combination with this digital voice, the warmth of tone that comes from the Echoplex tape delay and looping effect brings an intriguing analogue contrast to this digital technology.
The EchoPlex has a basic parameter of “amount of echo”, which is enabled by the physical length of tape between the record and erase. I developed the form of TAGTRAUM based on this simple parameter: in the first movement, the ensemble attempts to play in unison, the least amount of echo. The second has a medium amount of delay, creating counterpoint. The third movement engages the looping effect. In the fourth, the ensemble performs a composed and orchestrated input and echo which is re-synthesized and time-warped by the computer.
The text is fragments from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies (1923).
The Voice Index (2015-16) is a fixed sound installation with four live voices, which investigates the fine detail and intense listening experience inherent to the spectral manipulations made possible through voice resynthesis.
An experience of increased sensitivity to each partial within the harmonic spectrum is achieved by slowly departing from and returning to the recognition of a human voice. The resynthesized, monophonic voice becomes a polyphonic instrument with dynamic musicality in its micro inflections. This work aims to suggest that human interaction, the act of listening and the imagination constitute the full spectrum of the human voice.
Technical research and the compositional possibilities afforded by independent and algorithmic control of each individual partial within the harmonic spectrum of a single vocal utterance is counterbalanced with critical studies in literature surrounding the meaning of voice from philosophical, psychoanalytical and technological perspectives. The “voice-index” (Alice Lagaay, Free University, Berlin) suggests that a plurality of voices – including those in positive and negative aural space – may account for the variation of psychological and physical voices from others and from within.
This is a project which has been enabled by The Canada Council for the Arts.
EXO//ENDO is a group of composer-performers that draw from diverse histories involving classical, avant-garde, punk, noise, industrial, progressive, krautrock and new music. The members synthesize their disparate backgrounds into something as unrecognizable as it is contemporary. With the assistance of an ever-growing body of composers, performers and collaborators, EXO//ENDO sets out to further break what has already been broken, and to work exclusively with what remains.
EXO/ENDO focuses on the release and absorption of sound – where sound is a furnace and fuel for the expression of internal desire, external rage and temper – internalized and externalized in the progression of vibrations produced from the voice that exit through the machine and into the body of the receiving audience. For the entire performance, the voice is embedded in electronic sound like an organ working within the body, adjusting and adapting to the body of sound emitting from the ensemble. This work seeks to reveal the disturbing qualities of "song" and "voice" through the relationship of voice with technology and the proportion to which song and sound diverge.
Performances presented during Western Canadian tour for Vancouver New Music, Calgary New Works and Open Space New Music during the Fall of 2016.
EXO//ENDO joined forces with renowned saxophone interpreter Ulrich Krieger for the world premiere of his Black Sun Rebirth. Inspired by the first book of the Edda, Black Sun Rebirth tells the story of destruction and rebirth, combining elements of contemporary chamber music with ambient doom metal and microsound aesthetics.
Performance presented by REDCAT in Los Angeles, CA, 2017.
Choeur Électronique is a contemporary classical vocal ensemble dedicated to progressive technologies in voice and digital arts directed by Andrea Young.
The first performance was held during Nuit Blanche 2018 at le gesú, Montréal. Choeur Électronique performed Andrea Young's "The Voice Index" as well as an arrangement of Palestrina's "Sicut Cervus".
The ensemble will perform new works that explore live resynthesis, separating the voice into hundreds of independent oscillators, vocal feature extraction, voice-controlled and ensemble-controlled electronics.
By incorporating these techniques with more traditional concepts of choral composition and vocal processing, the music will range from complex, architectural sound-forms, minimalist and medieval sonorities, abstract song forms and massive noise walls.
The premiere performance of this ensemble will be co-presented in the upcoming season by Le Vivier and Innovations en Concert, Montreal.
Subtilitas is a composition for voice, viola and cello which uses the anonymous text Puisque je suis fumeux and Fumeux, fume, par fumée. Written for Suna no Onna, this work was first performed at CalArts in 2012 and a revised version during The New Century Players small ensemble concert in 2013. The premiere performance of both movements was during LeHum new music series in Moncton, March 2014. Both movements investigate the use of glissando between voice and strings creating vaporous sound forms which give a rising, twisting and falling harmonic movement–inducing sonic drifting–as if sound were fumes.
Les Fumeurs were a group of people known as “The Society of Smokers” who existed in France during the 14th century. Two poems written about or by les fumeurs were set to music and included in the collection of songs named The Chantilly Codex. One poem, Puisque je suis fumeux, was set by Hasprois and another, Fumeux, fume, par fumée by Solage. The translation of the French word “fumer” has led many people to believe that these poems were about smoking, but there was neither tobacco nor opium in Europe during the 14th century. Speculations as to what they may have been smoking instead is common, and scholar Patricia Unruh (UBC, Canada) suggests in her thesis that this poetry that elaborates on the French word "fumer" is really closer to the english verb “to fume”. In the a 14th century, “fuming” was understood as a psychological state, such as melancholia, and therefore it is more likely that this society of artistic people were fuming with the vapour of wine–but the constant play on the word fumer suggests a certain tongue-in-cheek leaving the exact nature of "fumosity" a mystery.
André Cormier's setting of Hérménegilde Chiasson's 1000-line poem "Conversations" (1999 Governor General's Award, French Language) consists of ten volumes, each an hour in duration and presenting each 100 lines in turn. We have been performing Volume I, III and V at the VanCity Culture Lab, Vancouver (2011), Gallerie Sans Nom, Moncton NB (2012), MorYork Gallery, Los Angeles (2014) and RISD Museum for Community MusicWorks, Rhode Island (2017).
See more about the composer and Ensemble SISYPHE at www.emsis.ca
Recording of Agostino Di Scipio's work for live electronics and mouth performer at the composer's studio in L'Aquila, Italy. The performance of this work requires attention to the involuntary muscular movements inside the mouth and to feedback monitoring. This work was subsequently performed at The Vancity Culture Lab, Vancouver, 2010, at CalArts, Valencia, California, 2011, and published by La Camera Verde on the accompanying CD for the composer's written work: Polveri sonore. Una prospettiva ecosistemica della composizione.
Written for me by the composer in 2004-05, this work requires extreme control within the individual features of the voice. Performances took place in Amsterdam (NL), Vancouver (CA), Venice (IT), Montreal (CA) and Los Angeles (US), and came to influence my current work with live vocal feature extraction and voice-controlled electronics.
ABSTRACT: Considering the human voice as a biological sonification of a person's physical and neuropsychological state, the author discusses the potential applications of perceptualizing voice through further sonification of its acoustic properties into synthesized sound structures. Live data streams are collected as control signals and mapped to signifying parameters within a synthesizer. In the author’s musical research and compositional applications, experimentation between voice and sonification has revealed the potential for future research between sonification and musicality.
This article was published in Leonardo Music Journal December 2014, Vol. 24: 1–2
ABSTRACT: The concept of a voice-index is discussed as a means of creating a live digital voice. Vocal feature extraction employs the voice as a live electronic interface, referenced in the author’s performative work.
This document was written in partial fulfillment of The Institute of Sonology Second Phase (Masters Degree) curriculum. Emsis (Éditions Musique Sisyphe) published this work in 2010.
ABSTRACT: Rhythm is differentiated from its traditional definitions–this paper does not seek to understand beat-based or metered electronic music. The aim of this paper is to generate alternative perspectives of rhythm and begin to formulate a new rhythmic organization particular to computer music. The background is drawn from the context of contemporary concert music and in particular, the rhythmic concerns expressed by Edgar Varèse. His approach to rhythm will be addressed as a point of reference and departure. An inclusive survey of rhythmic inventions found throughout the arts will provide insight into the organization of sound and will examine and facilitate the following views particular to computer music: a) the internal rhythmic structure of sound, micro rhythm in micro sound, and microstructures, b) multiple layers of sound objects as rhythmic structures, symmetrical textures, and possibilities with metric organization, geometric design, and spatialization as an integrated aspect of rhythmic form, c) the redefinition of measures in favour of masses and rhythmic complexity in algorithmic composition, and d) rhythm as force and the generator of form, dynamic systems, proportions, and growth patterns.