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'Emergent Forms' is composed entirely of recorded electronic signals, which were processed to varying degrees, edited and arranged. My work on this piece started when I bought a JrF induction coil pickup, which can record electronic signals. I had no idea what the electronic signals would sound like, so I started experimenting with recording the sounds of the electronic objects around me, such as computers, microwaves, fridges, lights, phones, and many others. I then began the process of composing with these humming, buzzing and hissing sounds as the sole source material. Some of the sounds in their original state were already musical; some devices would emit a pretty hum, or sing in a major chord beneath human hearing. Other sounds at first seemed unmusical, but in some cases had surprisingly musical properties hidden within them that could be coaxed out with signal processing. I was fascinated to find that by processing a particular segment of microscopic buzzy noise, for example, I found ranges of musical harmonics that formed perfect patterns when viewed on a frequency spectrum. An idea underlying this work is thus that of 'emergent forms': the complex musical properties that seemed to emerge from noisy, unmusical signals.
Recorded between August and September 2013 in Rosebud and Newport, Victoria, Australia.
Thanks to Francis Li for listening to previous versions of this piece and providing insightful feedback, and to Miguel Angel Tolosa for publishing this piece.
[ Timothy Allen ]