Ever since that time, in 2012, that I was captivated by the Ciat-Lonbarde Cocoquantus oscillator cluster, which Peter Blasser called the Quantussy, a Nabra or analog brain, I have sought more clarity on its attraction for me. I have expended considerable effort in try to make sound generation happen that produces interesting, and unexpected patterns. Why am I so riveted by this?
I related some of it to the idea of removing myself as a performer, along the lines of John Cage’s abdication of the ego. But the act of creating and arranging the hardware to make the sounds seems to me an act of composition that involves me and my interest very strongly.
The words to describe what I’m trying to do are hard to find. It’s not really generative, in Brian Eno’s sense. It is not automatic, which sounds too mechanical. I seem to be seeking an organic result, to be teased out of the behaviors of silicon chips, energized by electricity.
The structures I use start out as simple elements: oscillators, sample and holds. The combination of these in quantities, with feedback loops, as epitomized brilliantly by the Cocoquantus design, produces results that approach what seem in my judgment to achieve a sort of organic effect, as if natural, not artificial.
What’s it about?
Immediacy. Ephemeral experience. Hearing without thinking. Non-referential.
The music is produced by a programmed machine. But the program is not explicitly deterministic. Nor is it explicitly random; it does not employ random events. It may sound as if composed. Or it may not.
I want to step back and become a part of the audience. I want to be amazed and surprised. I want it to have a character with some, but not too much repetition.
Ultimately it seems I am trying to produce an experience of sound that can become totally absorbing. One in which all else is absent from the mind, but the immediacy of hearing. And the location of the sound no longer matters. One’s self does not ‘merge’ with it, but disappears.