resound / unsound

resound / unsound is a limited edition 12″ vinyl with original photo intaglio prints by Rhea Nowak on the front cover of each album (available in dark blue, dark purple, or orange ink) and the album information hand stamped on the back cover. Recorded by Andris Balins in the spring of 2017 at Dryhill Recording Studios in Oneonta, NY. The piece was commissioned by Julie Licata with partial funding provided by a Research/Creative Activity and Professional Development Grant from the State University of New York College at Oneonta. As a collaboration the grant enabled them to conceive of, and record/release, a piece of music focused on a feedback network with live interaction.

resound – uses time lag accumulation technique with a xylophone to create sonic landscapes that vary from seas of unidentifiable sound to passages where one may recognize the source material. Time lag accumulation refers to a process that was developed in the San Francisco Tape Music Center in the early 1960s, and was used by Steve Reich. The process involves two tape machines. The first machine records on to the tape; the same tape travels to the second machine and the sound is then sent back to the first machine allowing an infinite amount of delayed repeats of the program material. This method is open to modulation between the two tape machines, allowing for a variety of effects to be achieved in addition to the delays.

unsound – custom made contact microphones connected to the edge of a wind gong and the head of a bass drum. The signals captured from the acoustic instruments are sent into a eurorack modular system. The signals are then routed to multiple filtering modules that output a voltage-controlled bandpass signal. One set of paths is sent to a mixer and the other sent to a ring modulator. The output of the ring modulator is also sent to the mixer. The main output of the mixer is split and sent to two contact speakers that are connected to the wind gong and the bass drum head. The signals that are being sent to the percussion instruments are also fed to a combination of guitar and bass amplifiers as well as being reinforced with a standard sound system. The reason for this is two-fold, to create an additional feedback loop in the system and to make the sounds available to be captured by room microphones. Julie Licata (manipulating and unactuating the gong and bass drum) and Brett Masteller recorded three successive improvised takes to an Otari 8-track tape machine operated and engineered by Andris Balins. Brett performed the mix down at Dryhill Studios using the CalRec console and plate reverb. All aspects of electronic processing, recording, and mixing were accomplished in the analog domain.

Below is a recording of Julie and myself performing a rendition of the piece on the morning of February 29, 2020 at the University of Chicago as part of CHIMEfest 2020: CIRCULATIONS: Symposium on Live Audio Feedback in Art.

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