Research Blog – V

Greetings! The last months have been dedicated mostly to solitary work on the EIDOLON project, though I should mention that a during a week in February, I went to Tbilisi, Georgia with two of my classmates at NMH. During the week, we held workshops on improvisation, mixing techniques, multichannel audio, and SuperCollider with bachelor and master’s students at the academy. We also had one concert of fixed media pieces and another concert with improvised/live electronic performances.

The week was undoubtedly a huge success: the students expressed a very strong desire to learn and explore more, and our performances were very well received. The whole trip was organized by Mako Gviniashvili, and we are in the early stages of planning a long-term continuation of this project that will take place over the next few years. I think it’s very important for us to maintain a connection with the students in Tbilisi, and I think it’s also a great opportunity for us to see how well we understand the concepts we work with on a regular basis!

While in Tbilisi, I gave a short solo performance with my improvising program EIDOLON. I began working on the first iteration of the EIDOLON during the December holiday and managed to finish a functioning version within a few weeks. After a several sessions of testing the EIDOLON with various instrumentalists, a few public performances, and discussions with various improvisers and teachers, I’ve collected a long list of changes I’d like to implement. Here are a few:

-use expandable Lists instead of Arrays for memory; short term memory reads {~list[0..79].median} (10 seconds), medium memory reads {~list[0..2399].median} (5 minutes), long term reads {~list.median}

-find a way to track trends in memory -> can try Slope.kr, ~list.differentiate, or write something in SClang

-all threshold values need to be adjustable for each instrument/microphone setup – build a tool that allows for quick discovery of upper/lower limits (could become a general soundcheck tool with an EQ, basic mixer, possibility of saving presets, etc.)

-in addition to analysing microphone input, all transformed sounds, synthesized sounds, etc. should pass through a \globalAnalyser that can also influence transformations of the composite

-the global/universal memory keeps track of all synth ~startStop activity, and can prevent certain sounds being used too often/frequently

-possible additional analysis: spectral entropy? spectral flux?

In light of these considerations (and many others not listed here), I’m now working on a new version of the EIDOLON (2.0!!) which will address these points. The core of the program will be slightly different so as to accommodate multiple instrumental inputs and so that I can integrate a bit more information feedback to produce more informed decisions, especially with regards to repetition, phrasing and musical form. I also plan on building a layer of “interrupt modules,” to borrow a term from Sam Pluta. These will be a set of processes triggered by the EIDOLON to prevent repetition without development and to occasionally introduce chaotic behaviour in performance.

As expected, the first iteration of the EIDOLON has presented several challenges, and the next weeks will be spent trying to address them. I’ve intentionally kept my spring relatively free so that I can dedicate time for this project and others; I plan to test the EIDOLON 2.0 at the end of this month, after which I’m sure I will have other challenges to address…I still have plans to further develop my live performance setup by mapping processes to a Monome controller. This project has been put on hold slightly over the last year, but I’m looking forward to revisit it again over the next months.

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