For Loud Speakers

[For Loud Speakers schematic / 2MB]

[mp3 .zip archive / 9.5MB]

On Self-Playing Patch process:

A ‘patch’ is traditionally the term used for the collection of connections between various audio or control elements within a music synthesizer system (or computer facsimile) that determine the properties of a sound(s), and may also include the organization of sounds (as a composition) through time. By extension, the numerous processing coefficients and initial values are included here within when describing the Self-Playing Patch process. The Self-Playing Patch is any patch in which the intent is most specifically to exhibit or demonstrate unique behaviors or characteristics of a system without additional patching or performative interaction throughout the experienced duration, whether ‘live’ or recorded.

Although a Self-Playing Patch may have a relatively simple architecture, and may be sustained for example by a sequencer, or even periodic deviation of pitch/timbre/dynamics (such as a ‘drone’), it is my proposal that the successful Self-Playing Patch consists of a system comprised of processes and functions of considerable complexity which are to some degree interrelated. It is also of consideration that a system capable of supporting a Self-Playing Patch be sufficiently analog and feature wide range control inputs and offset controls in order to effectively ‘balance’ the interactions between elements.

To provide an analog for the sort of behavior a Self-Playing Patch might attempt to communicate, one may consider a branch that is moving in a light wind. Upon this branch are situated other branches that rotate on axes related to that of the larger branch and the weight of the smaller branches and their movement in turn effect the movement of the large branch. Such is to say that there may be a hierarchy of behavior, with associated levels of responsiveness and/or feedback, and that the overall goal be an experience on the part of the listener that is synaesthetic in nature. To (re)create such illusions or analogs does not require a large collection of functions, but rather the limited use of few wide-ranging functions is often the most effective approach for creating a dense riddle of sound which may be difficult to define in terms associated with forms of music and/or art. One can infer from this, that any Self-Playing Patch that demonstrates some characteristic associated with conventional audio synthesis (e.g. a free running LFO manipulating overall pitch) undermines or altogether destroys the illusion requisite for a compelling listen. The experienced Self-Playing Patch should operate as bringing into focus or perception complex audio characteristics and/or concepts which have less to do with proficiency in recreating specific sounds or exhibiting mastery over compositional or musical parameters than in devising a system which operates in the realm of perceptual minutiae. Put plainly: An audio landscape of considerable detail in multiple dimensions that may occupy the listener’s attention on multiple levels.

The Self-Playing Patch exhibits many interesting dualities, such as it may be considered a static device that may exist as concept (the patch) or even as imagined object(s) of prescribed properties, values, and relationships that may be set into motion and experienced through some duration as auditory experience. Although the patch is prescribed as a fixed architecture, it may be devised as such that it deviates in several dimensions, includes random values, or encompasses broad changes in perceived structure or resulting sound, and these dynamic elements or operators are included as part of the patch planning.

Lastly, self-editing should be noted as a consideration of the Self-Playing Patch process. Although the composer’s performative obligations are effectively disposed of, considerations of the duration of exposure to a given Self-Playing Patch (or recorded duration), the material presented with the patch – visual, textual, or otherwise descriptive data intended to augment an audience’s understanding of the process or structure – all become considerations to fill the vacuum left by dispensing with the display of manual dexterity (i.e. performance). The permutations of only a few analog functions may be vast, especially when interrelatedness among those functions is a factor, and so the territory some systems may allow the exploration of is effectively limitless.