My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Synthetic String MP3

Treehouses is the name under which San Francisco area musician Mike Rotondo posts his compositions at soundcloud.com. A track several months ago titled “Goodbye Mission Dub” attracted attention thanks to its mix of composed and real-world sounds (disquiet.com), which seemed to set in opposition notions of interiority and exteriority, and recontextualized the idea of “dub,” which all would have been fine on its lonesome but the track had the additional benefit of being a tuneful pleasure as well.

This time around, it’s an experiment for a class — Rotonto recently started in the CCRMA program (“Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics,” which such luminaries as John Chowning and Max Mathews call home) at Stanford, and already one of his assignments has provided something he’s decided worth sharing, a synthesized string piece titled “Dawny Thoughts”:

 
Writes Rotondo of the piece:

I made a software instrument for class, based on a physical model of a plucked string, wrote a few effects I could control with the pitch & mod wheels on a midi keyboard, and played this with it. I think it nicely describes my state of mind at the time (8AM after coding all night). I’ll practice some more with the instrument and try and record something tighter, but I like this enough to put it up here anyway :)

To some extent, it can be heard as a melding of “Mission Dub” themes. If “Mission Dub” balanced an automated beat with acoustic instrumentation, “Dawny Thoughts” is a mechanical vision of an acoustic instrument, plucked and strummed, and occasionally tweaked in a manner that exposes its computer-code underbelly.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/treehouses. More on Rotondo at mikerotondo.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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