the evolution of Drive (including its title)

For a few years now i’ve had this electronic piece that I’ve wanted to write using an octophonic sound environment, something that’s fairly common in electro-acoustic art music concerts. The original title of the piece was Drive.

The concept was to have the piece be a representation of standing in the middle of the road with whizzing traffic happening on either side of you. All of it would be fast traffic, the stereotypical high-speed-loud-engine-doppler-effect that would start as one iteration of it on one side of you, then a pause, then another iteration on the other side, then a pause, then a gradual increase in iteration frequency that would evolve and build to this cacophony of whizzing doppler effect noises.

Two days ago, i was randomly thinking about the piece again and upped the game on the compositional concept and content in two ways. First, i want to add the sound of walking, a loud sort of clack that moves at a very slow pace. The piece itself will be retitled something like slow pace in a fast place except more artistic, the concept being less about the simple experience of how it would sound to be in the middle of the road of fast whizzing traffic and being more about the value of finding times to move slowly in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Second, after establishing the initial expectation and vocabulary of the piece being the walking sound and the whizzing doppler sound, i eventually want to mutate the whizzing to become chords and then start to add my own sort of music to it. This would be in the style of the third movement of Michael Gordon’s Weather, one of the more powerful pieces of music i’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. I want to capture that sort of idea in my own way.

I still conceive of it being an octophonic piece, something that could then be mixed down to stereo. The problem is that i don’t have access to an octophonic setup – ideally I think the piece would be primarily designed in Max/MSP with a patch that could route any sound through eight different output channels. I know that I could build this in software with minimal effort, but I don’t know how to truly realize the piece without having the desired octophonic setup, or at least a digital mixer that would not be practical for me to buy.

I’ll probably end up having a conversation with the current Tulane Technology guy Richard Snow about it and see what he thinks. The piece itself isn’t something that I think would take a long time to put together, it may be a quickie summer project after i get done with Cascadia but before stuff at Tulane picks up again, maybe something that I could target for entry into SEAMUS and other electronic music competitions in the 2013-14 academic year. We’ll see how it develops.

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  1. Pingback:electronic music (and multimedia art) performance paradigms and its relation to my new piece » mendel lee . com

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