As a composer, I am always on the lookout for new interesting sounds, whether that means newly synthesized sounds or old sounds approached with new perspectives. Below, you will find some of my experiments in creating and incorporating various sound materials for musical inspiration. (Stereo headphones are highly recommended for the intended listening experience.)
BBQ is an onomatopoeic exploration of (mostly nonsensical) words. Sometimes you just feel so SPKCHYA, or RAHWUMPOWCC, you know. As words fail, we'll let the music speak and the letters sing.
"The sounds as they appear to you are not only different from those that are really present, but they sometimes behave so strangely, as to seem quite impossible." These are the words from psychologist Diana Deutsch's famous demonstration, which repeats the phrase, "sometimes behave so strangely," over and over again until it indeed starts to behave strangely. After hearing it a few times in isolation, this speech phrase magically becomes a musical melody, and one can never again hear it the same way. In fact, if you look closely, all utterances in our daily lives possess such prosodic qualities, characterized by unique intonations, rhythms, timbres, and moods.
Silhouettes is an exploration of speech prosody as potential musical inspiration. The first piece closely follows a recitation of a Romanian poem with melodies that approximate the prosody, accompanied by jazzy improvisation underneath. The second piece does a similar mimic of prosody, but this time for several shorter snippets. The resulting melodies are then developed and woven together into interesting improvisational materials.
Electro is an exploration of timbre and randomness, generated through ChucK. It consists of three FM tones that each travel up and down distinct timbral spectra, defined by such factors as modulation frequency and index, and at the same time churning out variations in musical parameters such as pitch and rhythm based on carefully curated "randomness." The result is a precarious musical balance, straddling the line between chance and intention.
The Water Bowl version adds a bit more story and interactiveness, as it responds to the tilt of the laptop that control various aspects of the music. The image is that of someone holding a bowl of water filled to the brim, where the slightest tilt could spill bits of water to the ground. As the laptop "bowl" tilts more and more, the corresponding changes in volume, timbre, panning, reverb, playback speed, and pitch of the various sounds amount to the sensation of "pouring music" out of the laptop. Since physical motions are an essential part of fully experiencing the piece, feel free to download the files here and try it out yourself (make sure you have ChucK).
Found (and Borrowed) Objects
The following pieces were constructed using various sound samples I've collected. The two Stringy Shenanigans tracks exclusively use sounds made by a violin, whereas Spun and Leaves are electronic compositions that incorporate sounds of several objects and develop them to varying extents.