A few months ago I started dabbling in procedural music. Recently I gave it another shot and created the first piece/sketch that I’m happy to share here. I called it “Random encounters” because of euclidean polyrhythms (how fancy) that form its foundation. These rhythms are loops of different lengths, therefore when any one of them repeats, it meets the others at different points.
I like the layers of contrast that are at play here:
On one hand, it’s hard to imagine a more digital way of making music — everything is done on a computer and represented as code in a programming language that looks like it’s taken from The Matrix. On the other hand, this piece is played on a piano, an instrument with a classic, warm, analog sound.
Even though I’m writing and executing code, this is not the traditional slow and disconnected process that culminates in the press of a button, which runs the full program, generates the entire audio file and saves it to disk. To the contrary. The video above is actually a recording of a live performance with no post-processing: I’m changing the code as I’m hearing the music it makes, in sync with the beat. I’m also tweaking the volume of different tracks using knobs on a MIDI controller. Doing all of this in the moment, with immediate feedback, and having the tactile sensation of adjusting knobs… All of this creates an experience that sits somewhere between playing an instrument and playing a video game of one’s own design.