As a producer of experimental, arguably dance-oriented electronic music, I am always looking for and thinking about new ways to present my artistic ideas to a crowd on a dance floor. This project was inspired by my experiences at Envelop at the Midway, a new ambisonic venue inside of a pre-existing San Francisco club that gives musicians full spatial control of their sound in 28.4 channel surround.My original intention was to craft an hour long hybrid DJ/live set to perform at an event at Envelop, and to present part of this piece at the CCRMA showcase. However, due to logistical issues (too little time to organize the event) and technical difficulties (incompatibility of Envelop software for presentation at CCRMA), my chance to play has been moved from May to September, when I will be performing in a showcase with my music collective. I made the decision to work more in depth on a shorter piece that may later be incorporated into a longer set.
The piece, Dipole, uses the Spat spatialization engine with a custom Max for Live plugins that allows for composition and playback in Ableton. The plugins can be automated with spatial controls; this signal and the audio signal are sent to Spat in Max for processing and rendering (I have been composing binaurally prior to testing and presenting in an ambisonic space).
Dipole was inspired by Natasha Barrett's work on the Oslo Sound Space Transport System. This installation allows users to take an auditory journey through the city of Oslo, alternatively moving through accurate and interactive ambisonic recordings of different locations and in-between areas where the user hears Natasha Barrett's interpretation of these spaces: abstract yet somehow familiar compositions utilizing the sounds of the environments and expressing the emotions she experienced there. My piece utilizes a field recording of a children’s playground and a set of samples of the Mysterious Ringing Rocks in Montana, captured by Richard Devine and distributed through his Soundcloud. These two elements become part of the texture and rhythmic structure of the piece. The rest of the sounds are recordings of my hardware synthesizer (Korg MS-20) and drums created with Ableton’s Operator. The listener is taken on a nostalgic yet synthetic journey located somewhere on the border between sleep and waking, reality and abstraction.