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For double bass and modular electronics.

This piece is part of a collection of “Studies for Instrument and Electronics” I’m making. These studies are made to perform live; all processing occurs in the moment.

This one begins with outlining the upper portion of the chord. Those pieces are then manipulated with electronics. It ends with a bowed drone on the lowest chord tone available. This work is still in progress and may change a little bit as I get feedback and tighten it up.

Compositionally, I’m working on a couple things here.

Logistics: each of the studies is made for live performance. The bass is a large instrument requiring two hands. I have some pedals but manipulation of a modular requires fingers for any live patching or knobs which don’t have a control voltage input. This places a constraint on blending the live instrument with the modular.

In this study I blur the boundary between captured sound and acoustic sound primarily with delay. Also, the opening phrase is created with space to ease the shift from real to synthetic. If I can get the volume sorted out it will make the transition a little more seamless.

Texture: I want the patch to contain residue of the electronic processing. I enjoy the contrast of the instrument sound against the electronics. When I’m successful, the end result is like having many thin layers of lacquer–an increase in dimension that rewards listening into the sound.

For gear nerds this piece makes use of several pieces of my Eurorack Effects box: Phonogene holds the loop and note slices, a pair of EONs provide some random for the “static” effect and also to randomize the Phonogene slices, Erbe-Verb provides resonant “static,” Dopplr gives some delay (which is inverse to the amount of reverb in the Erbe-Verb so we don’t pile up). There’s a bit more in the patch to handle attenuation etc, but these are the main parts.

The piece is performed live. Audio enters the Eurorack box via a Gage Realist Clip piezo pickup. My bow was made by my friend Eben Bodach-Turner.

If you enjoyed this piece, you might also like the selection of “Carpet” I made from the internal modular patch. “Carpet” tracks are long pieces of music that don’t really develop in a traditional sense, they just exist as background.

solo bass