Absence and Fondness
installation for two- or eight-channel live electronics // duration: continuous
excerpt, duration: 9'20"
When is music? When do just sounds become the easy pieces of a desired yet difficult whole? To investigate this "When" question, Absence and Fondness confronts listeners with a generative audio stream in which the regularity of sound serves as a litmus test for musicality. The installation continually shifts in sonic appearance. The determinacy governing the specification of synthesis parameters waxes and wanes in continuous cycles, which yields both direct repetition and bounded randomness at various points. If you listen long enough, you may end up distinguishing music from not-music, and in the identification of one re-consider the other. In fact, the piece takes the dismissive statement often levied against experimentalists, "But that's not Music!," seriously by not dismissing this statement outright. Music is not guaranteed, but decided upon; this acknowledgment is the piece's founding gesture of liberal experimentation rather than a conservative line in the sand. The mere possibility of music is a point of departure for considering those fleeting moments in which a pattern appears or is disrupted for no reason at all, and in its wake we feel nothing but hopeful-- that some emotional, expressive content still lingers just beyond, and might yet arrive. And in that musical projection, you may become aware of having not had such hope just a moment before.