Are streaming services ready for dynamic random-order concept albums?
Random Playback is a music album that explores using dynamically looped playback to generate a unique listening experience for your own device (and which never ends). The album leverages streaming technology to randomly playback material endlessly and aims to simultaneously test the boundaries of streaming services’ “gapless playback“ feature. Just hit shuffle, repeat, and play.*
*phone apps for Amazon Music and Apple services are the most seamless for shuffle playback.
UPDATE 9/21/21: While Spotify is seamless on chronological, non-shuffle playback, Spotify seems to falter if randomizing playback (confirmed by other users). Amazon Music Unlimited, however, seems to handle randomization playback well, nearly seamless (from the phone app). Apple Music also has seamless shuffle playback from the phone app. That said, any browser playback has terrible audio drops between songs on shuffle mode for all services.
The source material was generated and recorded with permission from playing an iOS clicker game, Rhythmcremental, created by Batta (Simon Hutchinson and Paul Turowski). Huge shout out to Simon and Paul. And do check out their game. It’s addictive.
Sunken Shoreline (2016, released 2021) captures a 2014 performance of climate-related tweets from around the world in realtime (#climatechange, #tarsands, #environment,fracking, #sustainable, among others), the year before the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) formed a “Charter for Sound” to emphasize sound as a critical signifier in environmental health. Mapping characteristics of these tweets to sonic parameters, users from around the world sound out a call for our climate. Here, an array of audio processing submerges these sonic voices under a technological deluge that suggests an Atlantian future should we choose to ignore the calls to action.
The competition awarded nine prizes in the areas of field recording, live performance, and sonification, and the competition “aims to discover and recognize new music and sound art focused on the theme of coastal futures.” Sunken Shoreline was one of two awarded in the Sonification category. Winners of the competition were from Norway/UK, Australia, Canada, Portugal, South Korea, and the US.
The sonic impact of radio on the Americana landscape is profound. Fireside chats, Radio theatre, Payola, DJs, drive-ins, elevator Musak, waiting room noise––the vast consumerism and reach of radio continues to this day. Yet, what happens when we smash two artists (Kenny G and Nickelback) together into one spectral stretched fantasy using the transmission medium that gave life to their careers? Are we doomed to phase out our history with background noise? Or are we undulating with the beat of cultural reclamation and signification? Sending us adrift inside the electrical coils of the radio, Lying in Fireflies Besides Brown Curls and other original compositions attempt to recount a personal connection to memory, lust, and the power of radio to receive a new transmission.
Relay of Memory was exhibited at the Edith Langley Barrett Art Gallery, Utica, NY. The exhibition was supported by funds from the Oregon Arts Commission.
Speed of Sound celebrates both the Centennial of the McIntire Department of Music at the University of Virginia (UVA) and the Bicentennial of the entire institution. I-Jen Fang, the Director of the UVA Percussion Ensemble, curated this album, showcasing UVA composers and performers. These include faculty, as well as alumni, graduate and undergraduate students, with all of the music created between 2014 and 2017.
Currents investigates the overlaps and gaps between noise and pattern; acoustic and electronic timbre; and live and fixed elements. Currents sounds out the intersections of our current electronic state while referencing its history. The piece was written for Tesla: Light, Sound, Color, a full stage production exploring the life and work of Serbian-American inventor, Nikola Tesla. Currents references Thomas Edison’s inefficient and noisy direct current (DC) electric motor and imagines the brilliant showmanship of Tesla and his revolutionary alternating current (AC) technology.
Distance-X is a digital musical instrument that consists of a hacked Gametrak, Nintendo Wiimote, and customized Kyma software. Music on Distance-X is all human-powered computer music. No tapes. No spacebar playback. Just body movements turned musical mutants.
Tesla: Light, Sound, Color is a 90-minute stage production with live physics demonstrations, digital animation, an original string and electronic musical score, and contemporary choreography. The project is the culmination of a 2016 Oregon Community Foundation Creative Heights award.
Hailed as a genius of the industrial age, Serbian immigrant Nikola Tesla continues to captivate the public with his electrical inventions that includes alternating current, contributions to radio transmission, the Tesla coil, as well as 280 other additional patents. The production brings Tesla’s enigmatic story to the stage by combining the science of his inventions with mixed media representations of his complex and tumultuous life. Harmonic Laboratory brings original artwork and broad collaborations together with content by Brad Garner, Jeremy Schropp, Jon Bellona, and John Park. Collaborators include: University of Oregon Physicist Stan Micklavzina, Delgani String Quartet, Eugene Ballet Company dancers, and visual artist Julia Oldham.
I composed six new original works for string octet (four violins, two violas, two cellos) and fixed electronics. One of the works, Currents, includes live Tesla Coils driven by MIDI messages. A second work, Broadcasting, uses FM transmitters to send audio to handheld radios carried by the eight dancers on stage.