Modulate me, please?

2014, 2 x TX816 synthesizer (or, in other words, 16 x DX7)

Program Notes

"I have been oscillating for decades, but lately I have missed the fun. I have contributed to measured, decent, subsonic vibrato. When sawtoothing I have scanned boring wavetables. Sometimes I have been filtered. I have even been part of choirs of like-minded brothers and sisters (we add up to something nice, they say). But I have my needs. I have been unmodulated for far too long. I want to scream, distort, limit, I want to be inharmonically excited, I want to loudly alias all over the spectrum. No shame in that. I don't care about Nyquist, I just need a good, honest, hard working, high index modulator. So please, modulate me hard, like you used to."

- A Lonesome Carrier

Two TX816's in parallel. 16 DX7s singing together with stock patches. Nothing fancy. Some algorithms and fractals to tell them what to do.

About the piece

This piece exists in two versions, the first is 30 seconds long and was part of the "Miniatures Mix", in homage to John Chowning/CCRMA (a 10 minute composite piece made of individual 30 second Miniatures). The second version is a 3 minute long piece that was played in the Monday October 27 2014 concert at the CCRMA Stage.

In both versions the same SuperCollider code running in a computer controls through MIDI two TX816 FM synthesizers (the TX816 was released in 1984). Each TX816 houses 8 TF1 modules, each one a 6 operator FM synthesizer with the same capabilities as the famous DX7. The sonic pallette for this piece is 16 DX7's. For simplicity's sake, and as a hommage to its legacy, I choose to use a subset of the stock patches that came with both the DX7 and the TX816. No fancy FM programming in this piece, just stock sounds.

In both the Bing Concert Hall and Stage Concerts we had 16 individual speakers available in a full surround configuration, so in this piece I simply connected the individual outputs of all 16 DX7's to individual speakers. In the Bing Concert Hall mix, the 30 second piece was played through a 16 channel soundfile that was part of the mix, in the Stage concert the two TX816's were driven in realtime by my laptop.


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