I compose music for both human and mechatronic performers in varied musical disciplines including but not limited to; rock, alternative rock, punk, classical, post-tonal, rocktronica, EDM, soundscape, ambient, drone, jazz, and experimental.
Compositions for Robots
This section presents a small sampling of compositions that have been written primarily for mechatronic performers.
Beetles is a seven minute composition written for Marimbot and Lydia – mechatronic instruments that live in the Machine Lab at the California Institute of the Arts. The piece was inspired by the extra-musical sounds mechatronic instruments make when they actuate The solenoids, beaters, and actuators of the two robots make many subtle mechanical sounds that are not directly related to their instrument, but instead open up a new lexicon of possible sounds. Beetles strives to tap the potential of these sounds. The piece sends sub-velocity messages to the robots that cause mechanical action, but no actual note onsets. The piece slowly crescendos to a point where some notes are actually being sounded and eventually concludes once the velocities reach normal levels. Each performance of Beetles sounds different as the thresholds for sub and normal velocities change on a weekly basis.
Robot whispers is a continuation of my work with robot sub-velocities and expands those ideas into a larger group composition. Written in collaboration with Eric Heep and Danny Clark, Robot Whispers is composed for Marimbot, Lydia, SnapperBots, ClapperBots and one Human. The human reads text generated from a sorting algorithm that jumbles a starting sentence slowly into gibberish. The human performer whispers the text into a microphone. The audio is then analyzed in the frequency domain according as twenty-four Mel bands. Each Mel Band is mapped to a specific group of notes on a robot. The five Mel bands containing the most energy send triggers to the corresponding robot or group of notes. Halfway through the piece the mapping switches from a rough tonal relationship to a more chaotic and less perceivable mapping. Robot Whispers was performed in the Machine Lab for the 2015 Composing For Robots Concert at CalArts.
BiTDEPH is my artist name for any projects that fall within the realm of electronic music. Most of my electronic music uses simple repetitive chord progressions or follow simple ideas of PC Sets to organize the music. I tend to de-emphasize percussion and melody with a tendency to strive for sonic experiences in lull of hummable melodies. Exceptions can be observed.Rainspiration Rainspiration is a far variation from my preferred genera of Rocktronica, but still a song that falls into my aesthetic umbrella. After an extended intro of ambiant guitar finger noise, wide pads and a crackling fire, the song enters into the main section in 5/8. It features my usual orchestration of guitars and synthesizers, but the new addition of several Strumstick tracks and some african percussion.
These Are Our Children This song borrows a sample from Star Trek Voyager.
She Suspected All the vocal chops are taken from a Hunter S Thompson Novel.
Thank You On the boarder between “Classical” and electronic, Thank You features nearly a dozen minimally processed guitar tracks exploring all corners of the songs two chords.
Guitars and Robots (Episode 2) My second full fledged Rocktronica composition combining synthesis and processed guitar into epic instrumental swells.
Guitars and Robots The original Rocktronica composition.
Unstable is coded in the Pure Data music synthesis programming language and was it written to be performed by 6 musicians with Nano Kontrols and wireless Raspberry Pi speakers. The score is semi generative and is presented to the players in the form of terminal print statements. The piece is about 12-13 minutes long and was performed in April 2015 with the CalArts Networked Computer Music Ensemble. A live recording of the performance can be viewed below.
When composing on staff paper, I tend to gravitate towards tonality. I love working with the Piano, woodwinds as well as strings. Some of my works are listed below with some background info and scores.
Wallflower A composition that takes data from party interaction such as location, level of engagement, and the people you are interacting with. Wallflower then presents a structure for building a 12 tone composition based off the data. This specific realization stems from two hours worth of party data.
Beautiful Dedicated to my beautiful wife Kimby, this song was composed in the summer of 2014 for our wedding. Beautiful was written on the electric guitar before being orchestrated into the version heard in the recording.
Ode to Childhood Dedicated to my parents as thank you for my wonderful childhood dedicated on their anniversary in 2013.
Newly Weds Dedicated to the relationship my wife and I share composed for our wedding in 2014.
Woodwind Quartet Dedicated to the faculty at CalArts for their inspiration and guidance; composed in the fall of 2013.
12-Tone Cannon Dedicated to Schoenberg and Stockhausen; is my first real attempt at writing a 12-tone piece.
Amorphism Amorphism is an exception on this list as the song is not notated. The composition consists of 5 motifs, all in the key of A minor, that are transposed into different octaves and placed into five different piano emulators. The loops are played in a improvisational manner for as long as the player desires with whatever controller (if any) they want. An example performance is embedded above.
On occasion I work as a sound designer. Here is an example of my work adding audio to the classic (silent) 1906 version of Alice in Wonderland.
- The Machetes : A surf rock band, we wrote and played around two dozen songs in clubs, bars and parties throughout the Bay Area. You can find some videos of us performing live here. Or listen to some really shitty recordings on our old myspace page here.
- The Molestations : I am a founder member and was the bass player for the rock/punk band The Molestations for about four years.
- The Talented : My first musical project and an absurdly ridiculous band. The Talented, for lack of better words, could be described as an experimental psychedelic parody band.
I have also performed in several scholastic ensembles/performances including.
- Laney College Jazz Band : Electronic Bass
- CalArts Kecak Ensemble : Chanter
- CalArts Javanese Gamelan : Saron
- CalArts AV-Ensemble : Performer/Composer, Code
- CalArts Robot Ensemble : Composer, Feedback, Code
- CalArts Human-Robot Ensemble : Composer, Code
- Chorizo : Performer/Composer
- Threes Company: Mouse, Code