The Love Songs of Flying Dinosaurs

for synthesizers and computer processing
2022, 4th order Ambisonics
[►] videos with binaural audio

"The Love Songs of Flying Dinosaurs" is an exploration through concerts and performances of some of the multidimensional worlds of sound generation and transformation that can be crafted by performing on analog and hybrid synthesizers. This includes full one hour long concert performances, and shorter excerpts in the context of other concerts. The Love Songs cycle is part of the broader Dinosaur Songbook, a collection of realtime synthesizer performances.

The oldest of the instruments being used is El Dinosaurio, designed and built more than 40 years ago, and the first step I took on the long road of learning about electronic sound. In 2013 I built a Noise Toaster and had some fun with five CCRMA students also interested in analog sound. I returned to the world of modular synthesizers at the start of the pandemic by putting together an Eurorack format instrument (which was eventually named the Applesauce Modular Mark V), and working hard at creating a "performance practice" with it. Later a clone of the ARP2600 was added, and more recently I designed and built another much smaller but very capable Eurorack modular. I even got a Kastle micro-synth for my birthday! All of them, in different combinations, have been singing for a while... In concert, they are mixed, processed and spatialized in 3d surround by a program written in SuperCollider and running in a small computer (which can also sample and loop them using granular synthesis techniques).

Program Notes

June 9th 2022

What do dinosaurs love? What do they sing love songs to? They certainly love each other, conveying that feeling by exchanging sonic payloads through tiny wires, modifying them, modulating them, always singing to each other in never ending loops. "The Love Songs of Flying Dinosaurs" attempts to be a compilation of some of the songs I have discovered hiding in their silicon souls over the past 2 1/2 years. Many more are still waiting to be discovered.

Of the ones I have found, I could write that they are about:

  • ... love of clicks and glitches
  • ... love of strings (just four)
  • ... love of plucks and klangs
  • ... el pianosaurio
  • ... love of bows, sighs, and resonances
  • ... more klangs, because, why not?
  • ... love of detuned strings (many)
  • ... love of phonemes
  • ... and finally, love of everything (including space)

These may also be the sections of this performance, but perhaps not necessarily in this order, or the only ones...

The songs are performed mainly by two actors, the multifaceted Applesauce Modular Mark V, a sizable modular synthesizer in Eurorack format, and software written in SuperCollider that implements a live 3d (ambisonics) spatialization and mixing engine supplemented by 16 asynchronous granular loopers (SooperLoopy). SooperLoopy remembers, spatializes, layers and distorts songs fed into it by the different dinosaurs. Which also include the simple but fun Noise Toaster, as well as a clone of the ARP2600, which was in its time an inspiration for the design and features of my original El Dinosaurio (also on stage) - a modular I built from scratch and with which I learned electronic sound, and is now 40 years young. Finally, a stage piano also connects to the dinosaurs and gives life to "El PianoSaurio", a monster where different modules in the Applesauce sample, repeat and mangle piano notes, chords and gestures improvised by the composer (who likes to pretend he can still play).

The Applesauce Modular was born of the pandemic, and started its life thanks to generous donations for research from Mark/Joan Applebaum I had been accumulating for many years. It is a vice, and it has been said that if I were to start a twelve step program to beat it, I would immediately transform it into a twelve step sequencer instead.

For CCRMA Spring Concert (excerpts)

Spring is in the air. Dinosaurs start to wake up from hibernation, take to the skies and call their mates with trumpeting love songs. The "Applesauce Modular Mark V" sings about matters of the silicon heart with its electronic voices, small islands of computer processing power in a sea of sound, talking to each other through thin analog patch cords. As if it did not have enough voices, the Applesauce outputs are routed to SooperLoopy (a SuperCollider-based multiple asynchronous granular looper), which creates more sonic mayhem and spatializes their flights through space in full 3d surround. And after careful sequencing of DNA strands and cloning work, another monster from the past is also on stage, a modern recreation of the ARP2600, a classic, which was also the inspiration for the design and construction of the original "El Dinosaurio" (now 40 years young, not part of this show, but coming soon to a concert near you!).


(C)1993-2023 Fernando Lopez-Lezcano.
All Rights Reserved.