Sunday, October 9, 2016


Sam Wolk "Trop-plein" cdr


New stereo improvisations by Sam Wolk. Max/MSP, Acoustic objects and feedback, SP-404, Saxophone (Max Lesser), Voice (Charmaine Lee)
The trio of improvisations which follow are variations on a single idea. Running a Max/MSP patch and interacting with it is a method of transducing energy from one form to another. Electrical energy drawn from the grid is ultimately transformed into acoustic energy emerging from speakers along with the accompanying, over-flowing waste energy [entropic release]. The ephemeral, unstructured heat released in the process of generating structured acoustic energy [the composition] takes multiple forms: the discarded acoustic energy of computer keys pressed while manipulating the patch, the kinetic energy of hard drives whirring as data is read from disk into the patch, the thermal energy of CPUs radiating out and the acoustic energy of fans loudly attempting to reroute those heat flows. In this trio of variations the central theme is feedback. These ephemeral energy fluxes associated with keys, fans, disks, and CPUs are subjected to recycling [feedback] as the energy they produce is transduced by a contact microphone and the computer's internal microphone back into electrical audio flows which serve as the input to the Max patch itself. As such, manipulating the audio at the human-computer interface generates the very energy flows which are transduced into the audio to be manipulated in the first place... The computer processes its own unstructured flows of waste energy back into structured audio [the output of the patch]. The machine is not treated as an abstract, universal computational device whose digital nature renders its physical existence irrelevant. Instead, as it harvests its own unstructured heat and processes it into structured audio, its physical identity is embraced for what it is: a concrete, individual, material machine imbricated in a larger system of energy flows.
Recorded at the Harvard University Studio for Electro-acoustic Composition, 2016.
Special thanks to Jeff Witscher.
Play loud.




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