Selected New Electronic Works


TSU Art Gallery (located in Ophelia Parrish). Through 10/8.
Eleven new works curated by Dr. Robert Martin installed in the Truman State University Art Gallery along with new visual art by Aaron Fine.

Program Notes

  1. Lucas Marshall Smith – Talos – 5:12

In Greek mythology Talos was a giant, bronze automaton forged by Hephaistos and sent by Zeus to protect Europa on the island of Krete. Talos patrolled the island daily, driving pirates and invaders from the shore with volleys of rocks or a fiery death-embrace. According to the Argonautica, Talos attempted to prevent Jason and the Argonauts from landing on Krete with the newly acquired Golden Fleece. Unable to land, Jason called on the enchantress Medea, who summoned spirits of death to torment Talos. In a confused state, Talos was finally defeated when he scraped his ankle on a sharp rock, allowing his life-giving icor to drain from his veins. Weakened, Talos fell with a tremendous crash and died. Talos (2014) was inspired by this general program.

Talos relates to the theme “Dialogues in Color” in that it deals heavily with sonic colors or timbres. Everyday objects are recorded and broken down into their component parts or most basic colors and then recombined and assembled to create fantastic coloristic combinations not possible in everyday life—bridging the gap between the mundane and the spectacular.

  1. Charles Norman Mason – Murmurs – 6:54

I composed and realized Murmurs in 2006 while at the American Academy in Rome as a Samuel Barber Rome Prize recipient. Murmurs for the Cortile is one of three layers of a piece called Murmurs done in collaboration with artists Richard Barnes and Alex Schrader. The sound source for all three pieces was the song of a starling. The premiere of this piece took place in Rome. Since the premiere, the work has appeared at Yerba Buena in San Francisco and The Howard House in Seattle.

  1. William Price – Triptych: Three Studies in Gesture and Noise – 9:16

Inspired by the abstract paintings of Gerhard Richter and Francis Bacon, Triptych: Three Studies in Gesture and Noise is a two-channel electroacoustic composition that explores and develops artifacts found in the space between recorded sounds. It is a three-part, cyclical assemblage based primarily on noise, musical remnants, and studio debris.

Each part focuses on two to three main gestures: Part I uses as its source material sounds usually associated with the pre-concert ritual (warming-up, tuning, moving stands, and the scrape of a piano bench sliding across a stage floor); Part II unfolds slowly and juxtaposes long, high pitched granular threads with low pitched glissandi, all of which were extracted from the previous bench scrape; and Part III focuses on sculpted noise, sweeping gestures, and extreme changes in timbre and texture.

  1. Matthew Greenbaum – 23 Skiddoo – 3:00

23 Skiddoo is a brief electronic work that forms the sound portion of a video animation of the same title, also by the composer. There, sound, color, and shape contribute to a shared narrative. The video can be seen at:

  1. Kyong Mee Choi – In the midst of – 3:00

 In the midst of portrays a moment of being in nature with what might go through someone’s mind at that time. The piece represents the composer’s interpretation of “Sonic Haikus”, the theme of the SEAMUS Electroacoustic Miniatures Series in 2015.

  1. Arthur Gottschalk – Borborygmus – 6:58

Borborygmus noun: bor·bo·ryg·mus; a rumbling or gurgling noise made by the movement of fluid and gas in the intestines.

In 1989 I acquired a very small hydrophone, shaped more or less like a pill, which gave me an idea. I swallowed the hydrophone, and recorded the results. In my enthusiasm, I had neglected to consider the effects associated with removing the hydrophone from my stomach, and the next hour was painful, for myself and for my unfortunate lab assistant. Nonetheless, I was successful; I labeled the results “Stomach Music” and filed them for future use. I then promptly lost them.

Last year, while reviewing the contents of a number of boxes of material to be considered for my archives in the Woodson Research Library at Rice University, I came across an old reel of Ampex tape. It turned out to be my missing stomach music. I had my engineer of many years, Andrew Bradley, apply his patented method of “baking” old magnetic tape, in order to restore the media long enough for one last playback and subsequent digital recording. I took that digital file with me this summer to the American Academy in Rome, where I was a Visiting Artist. Envisioning a piece that not only captured sounds of the body’s internal processes, but also imagined hearing external sounds filtered through skin, muscle, and digestive fluid, I recorded sounds from outside my window, high upon Rome’s famed Janiculum Hill. Taking my cue from the 1966 science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, I created a piece that allows us to “hear” an imaginary trip through one’s innards – Borborygmus.

  1. Joseph Bohigian – Marimba Extraction – 3:40

Marimba Extraction begins with a block of sound, from which elements are gradually taken away, exposing the inner parts that made up the whole. This process shows the different colors one can get out of the marimba, both by acoustic and electronic means.

  1. Kyong Mee Choi – Tranquility – 7:01

This piece is inspired by the image of a tranquil pond at dawn. It starts with mystic and hazy scenery of the pond represented by a relatively wet sound. Gradually, dry and more transparent sonic material is introduced. While the essence of the piece, tranquility, is presented, subtle tension is still achieved through dynamics and articulations of sonic gestures. The majority of sound samples are processed by CLM (Common Lisp Music); utilizing instruments such as expandn, grani, expsrc, ring-modulate, vkey, fullmix, and nrev.lisp.

  1. Anna Terzaroli – Polyphonic N – 5:34

The sonic material is continually transformed in this acousmatic piece through articulation and gestures. Moreover, great emphasis is placed on the polyphony among the source materials of the piece. These environmental sounds are approached in a meta-narrative way in order to produce a sense of faraway reality. Acousmatic music hides the source of sound, creating better opportunities for concentration on the sound itself. Thus, it is possible to appreciate those characteristics and peculiarities of sound that often remains unheard.

There is a match and a close relationship between the polyphony of sounds from the soundscape and the polyphony of colors from the landscape related to the soundscape. The correlation between sound and color has its roots in the works of artists such as Klee and Kandinsky who strived to match the sounds of music to the world of fine arts, at the second half of the 19th century.

  1. Traix Heiden – Epiphany, or Culture Shock – 5:17

Epiphany and culture shock are normally seen as distinct terms; however, they share a particular meaning. That is, one’s perspective widens and encompasses a new idea, system of ideas, or even something as vague as a notion. Both may be quiet and slow in realization, or as jarring as someone dumping ice water on you, waking you from a dream.

Before studying in Tokyo, I had preconceived notions about how the experience would be. I had a way of living life. Then I went there. First living in a megalopolis. Attempting to reform my (new?) identity in the wake of great change. Being in a place grounded in history and tradition, yet steeped in technology and adaptations to Western culture. Identity and culture grate against themselves and each other. Thankfully, realization and peace can be found in locations such as coffee shops and churches.

  1. Kala Pierson – Borroso – 4:00

I made Borroso (“blurred” in Spanish) for a concert in the Zeppelin 2012 festival at the Barcelona Centre for Contemporary Culture. For this concert, composers were asked to use source sounds recorded in Barcelona. Borroso is based on a brief recording by Dutch composer Hans Timmermans, of a woman “presenting her love letter to Barcelona” – in relaxed, slurred speech after a night of drinking – which he kindly shared in a processed version for other composers to modify and use. I further processed his already-resonant version of her voice, creating more and more ‘blurred’ and abstract versions, finally layering elements from those versions into a piece based on slow shifting colors and mystery.