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  Only Takes a Second

Here are the first tracks for my next CD:

A composition for round 2 of the "Dare to Fail" project. I documented (with screen dumps and a step-by-step description) the compositional process I used when composing it. The process involved a lot of algorithmic manipulation.
Leap of Fate
A composition for round 3 of the "Dare to Fail" project. It starts out with a fairly straightforward use of the basic track provided by the DTF3 project, and then moves into algorithmic territory.
Widespread Optimism
A composition for round 4 of the "Dare to Fail" project. I took the starting phrase, fed its notes into a new "techno" tool (basically a drum pattern editor on steroids) that I wrote using KeyKit, and came up with the pattern you hear at the beginning (and restated in the middle) of this piece. After the first statement of the pattern, I used a "spread echo" technique (echoes in both directions) to come up with the next section. After the restatement of the initial pattern, I repeated it and transposed it to form the underlying pattern for the rest of the piece, using my usual algorithmic improvisation techniques on top. Everything was based on the original pattern, except for the melodic lead toward the end of the piece, which I added manually. Here's a picture of the techno tool that I wrote in KeyKit while composing this piece, and here are two screen dumps ( screen #1 and screen #2 ) that show what my screen looked like while I was composing.
Power Flower
A composition for the Rock Garden 1 project, part of the Composer's Quarry. It started with some of the snippets posted to the Composer's Quarry site, and the Expresso tool was used to produce some of the melodies. Except for the drums, all of the sounds are produced with the Nord Modular synthesizer.
23 Shots of Expresso
This piece premiered at the "Algorithmic Shorts" concert, April 25, 2001, at the University of California, Santa Cruz. They sent out a call on the Internet for short algorithmic pieces, under 3 minutes in length. I used my Expresso tool, and composed a piece that was about 1.5 minutes long. The program notes described it thusly: "Expresso is an L-systems algorithm that transforms expressions. The initial expression is literally X, and 12 very simple transformations are repeatedly applied to produce expressions of extreme length and complexity. Subtituting a single note or chord for the value of X produces music with surprising variety. 23 Shots of Expresso was created by taking the first measure (or two) from 23 selected instances of using Expresso on a single chord."

DNA #1
This piece is based on the output of some genetic algorithms that I'm playing with. The genetic algorithm represents little "musical programs" as sequences of instructions (a single instruction might increment the pitch, time, or volume, or might trigger a note). Such programs, when "executed", produce small phrases. The algorithm can "mate" such programs (for example, taking half of one program and half of another), producing other programs. I have a GUI tool in KeyKit which lets me manipulate and mate these programs - it's called "Gene Pool". It generates lots of candidate programs, and I kill the programs that produce phrases that I don't like, and mate the remaining programs to produce new phrases.

Tourists on Avenue M
This piece is a collaboration between Tim Thompson and Tim Conrardy. It started with some music generated by a program called M (running on an Atari ST). Both Tims then added layers of improvisation on top.

Irrational Thoughts
I did this piece for the microsound mailing list's pi project, where everyone was supposed to use pi (the number - 3.14159...) in some way to compose a piece. I used the digits of pi as input to an algorithm written in Keykit - here's the source code. The piece is completely algorithmic - I didn't modify the notes, but I played a lot with the algorithm, of course. The sounds are all from an Access Virus, and recorded/mixed with Sonar.

Irrational Too
A second piece I did for the microsound mailing list's pi project, using the digits of pi. This one used the same algorithm as "Irrational Thoughts", but also used the digits of pi to control patches on my Access Virus synth, generating a wide variety of sounds.

Melted Crayons
An algorithmic piece I did using the sounds of the Access Virus. I did it with keykit, interactively, primarily using the mouse.