In avant garde music of the late 20th century, there is extensive exploration of alternate methods for playing traditional instruments. Although electronic instruments were established and used regularly for performance during the time, the effect and tonality of an existing instrument remains a unique and novel experience, especially when used in the context of a performance.
My recent set of ten compositions titled Voce Gyre uses existing recordings to build constantly shifting fragmented patterns, which are then layered into strongly syncopated rhythm tracks. By creating a sound cluster using several copies of a basic sampler, recorded material can be imported and cut up using a randomized sample start setting controlled by a low frequency oscillator.
Here we are at part two of the Stranger Themes contest, where the contestant listens to themes from strangers, chooses themes to orchestrate, and creates compositions based on the themes. Needless to say, the themes were strange and endless. It doesn’t seem like there was any filtering out of screeching feedback or garbage trucks backing up.
Contests are fun to enter. They tend to push an artist into areas that would usually not be considered, and by entering a contest there is always the very slight possibility of winning a prize of some value. By very slight, I mean being able to predict ahead of time what a panel of judges might be looking for. Putting on a turban and gazing into a crystal ball to glean what other people are going to be thinking weeks from now is very similar.
The music production software company Native Instruments will celebrate their 20th anniversary in October of this year. Isn’t that exciting? Most people have no idea this company even exists, but it is well known among composers for their sampling software Kontakt, which has become the de facto standard for the recording and performance of professional orchestral virtual instruments.