Tudoresque (redux)

TudorEsque (redux) (2013) is a piece involving an electronic feedback network with live video processing. It is an homage to David Tudor and his work with feedback circuits in live electronic music. I am interested in indeterminate elements in music, from the points of view as a composer and a performer. A feedback network allows for the exploration of indeterminate elements.

A feedback network can be simple or complex. The basic idea is that one device can feed another device with information. The second device, in turn, feeds that information back to the first device. This is a simple feedback network. Creating a more complex network could involve more devices (linking chains of information) or a device with more chaining options. Devices for audio routing and processing can be complex on their own. An audio mixing console, for example, has a number of inputs as well as outputs and the outputs of a mixer can easily be connected to the inputs to create a feedback loop. When the mixer is activated varying amounts of voltage are sent through the system. The voltage can be translated into sound via a speaker.

The feedback network I created for this piece involves three devices. The network is complex because each device has a variety of inputs and outputs. I worked with this particular setup for a couple months and spent time mapping a variety of connections in order to find a setup that felt comfortable from a performance point of view. Similar to how one rehearses with a traditional instrument in order to better express a musical idea, I rehearsed with my feedback rig to better understand how it responds to a change in parameter and ultimately convey a musical idea. Unfortunately (and fortunately), unlike a traditional instrument, I have no idea what the precise details of this network will sound like from day to day. This indeterminate aspect is what draws me to composing and performing in this manner.

Devices used include: Lexicon Prime Time II, 4-ch mixer from Crown CX822 tape machine, Meteor Clubman Disco DJ mixer, and Fender M-80 guitar amp head.

This recording is from a performance during SUNY Oneonta’s New Music Focus Week, March 12, 2013 . The performance also consisted of video feedback loops. The parameters for the video generation/manipulation were derived from pitch/amplitude info of the audio and controlled in real-time.

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