Back from the grave

Ashes to Ashes

We had a fantastic visit (indeed, five of them) from Gordon Delap, of the National University of Ireland Maynooth during the latter part of 2013. It was a great time, and the first real attempt at using the systems we’re building. And, of course, a learning experience—grueling at times, but ultimately very rewarding. I hope Gordon agrees with this!

Gordon used a variety of different instrument types; the piece consists of three roughly three-minute segments, which were composed consecutively, and which show our (mainly Gordon’s) progress in trying to come to grips with using these instruments, which involves building them as well as playing them.

The first part makes use of very sparse percussive sounds, generated from a modular network (we call it the zero code, as it was our preliminary attempt at a modular network). The second makes use of much richer sonic material, including very large connected plates (running on the GPU), as well as a trombone model (still in Matlab in 2013). The third part makes use of more plates, now accepting some audio input (samples of whispering), more trombones, now processed through our modular plate network, and finally, a 3D model of a bass drum, which is hybridized over GPU and multicore CPU.

The original piece was written in eight channels, so a stereo reduction can hardly do it justice! Still, for an idea of what it sounds like, here it is:

Listen to the piece


2016 – Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique, Paris, France
2015 – 12th Sound and Music Computing Conference, Maynooth, Ireland
2015 – Contemporanea Music Festival, Udine, Italy
2015 – Not a Concert, Edinburgh, UK
2013 – Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University, Stanford, USA