Alex White is an Australian sound artist from Sydney. He announced the release of a new album of modular controlled acoustic piano. Transductions is out on June 5th via ROOM40. “Cheekbone Against Window Of Car” is the first excerpt. He explains: “Transductions is an attempt to reduce some of my approaches to electronic music down to a simpler form, retaining the structures and systems but swapping the limitless tone colours of a synthesiser for the timbre range of an acoustic piano.
The album was recorded using a Diskclavier, an acoustic piano that can be controlled by an external MIDI source. In this case a modular synthesiser is producing the MIDI data through an improvised performance of a generative patch design.
My own interest in electronic music has often focused upon dynamic, complex and often noisy sounds made possible through synthesis, more recently focusing upon analog modular synthesisers as the source of these emissions. Through my use of modular synthesisers I have become more aware of my interest in systems that generate musical structure, especially when the line between timbre and composition structure becomes difficult to identify.
The compositions for Transductions were produced using simple analog components such as low-frequency oscillators (LFO), wavefolders, clock dividers and sample and hold circuits, interconnected to create complex dependencies and feedback loops, resulting in precarious systems that respond erratically to subtle interventions. Perhaps echoing Joel Chadabe’s description of performing with his own electronic music systems as being akin to ‘sailing a boat on a windy day and through stormy seas’. (The Cambridge Companion to Electronic Music).
The title Transductions and the various track names refer to a shift in energetic form, from electric to kinetic through the Diskclaviers solenoid, from kinetic to sound vibration, from a vibrating car to vibrating body as I dose with my cheekbone against the passenger window during a long road trip. I have worked almost exclusively with electronic sound for so long; hearing and seeing the piano’s physical body shake made me appreciate anew the complexity of the real world. ”