[ISEA94] Artists Statement: Zack Settel & Cort Lippe (The Convolution Brothers) – Gandy Bridge

Artists Statement

Gandy Bridge is an electronic music-theater piece featuring two performers and computer-coordinated signal processing and synthesis. The title of the piece was chosen by the authors, who visited the Gandy Bridge separately, as a focal point for the piece, combining their independent experiences and impressions of their visits. In this piece, the role of the electronics is to enhance and/or augment the text material spoken/sung by the performers, allowing for a wide range of expresssion on both dramatic and sonic levels. The electronics depend entirely on the performer’s live input (real-time interactive performance), which can be combined in the computer to form one or more “sonic” objects, blending characteristics of the input signals (each performer’s input). Technics such as musical feature extraction and “audio-morphing” allow the performers to enter into a multi-level dialog with each other and/or the electronics, incorporating text material and timbre. For example, in one section of the piece, a new reading of the text material rendered by combining both performers’ readings of the text, where one performer’s voice inflection is projected onto the other performer’s articulation of the text.

The dramatic setting of the piece is minimalist and emphasizes gesture and sound: each performer is dressed in black and equipped with only a chair, microphone and a foot-pedal; the lighting is singular (one focal point and low ambient lighting) and invariant. The text for the  piece is a compilation of various texts chosen for their semantic and phonetic qualities. On a technical level, the electronics for the piece provide signal processing and synthesis, including FFT/IFFT analysis/resynthesis, audio-morphing, harmonizers, livesampling, delay lines and FM (Frequency Modulation) synthesis – all of which are dynamically controlled by the performers.
Effort has been made to integrate the control of the electronics in a way that takes advantage of the player’s audio input (spoken/sung text material). Using musical feature extraction, the performers are able to control the electronics with the use of their voices. The duration of the work ranges from eight to twelve minutes.

  • The Convolution Brothers is a new performing duo, started in 1993. Their first performance of their original work Gandy Bridge was featured in an event sponsored by JWAVE radio at the Session House – September 10th 1993, Tokyo Japan. The members of
    215the duo are described below.
  • Zack Settel studied composition at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) with Leonard Stein, Morton Stubotnick, and Mel Powell. Since the fall of 1986 he has been living in Paris. He received a Fullbright to pursue musical studies at IRCAM, where he continued the following year with a grant for Music Composition from the French Ministry of Education. His compositions include chamber works, electronic music studio works, film scores and live electro-acoustic pieces (chamber works with live electronics). His work is mainly focused on the latter. His pieces are performed in North America and in Europe and Asia. His music has been recorded by Diffusion Média.
  • Cort Lippe studied composition with Larry Austin. He spent three years in Utrecht, The Netherlands, at the Instituut voor Sonologie working with G.M. Koenig in the fields of computer and formalized music. Presently he lives in Paris, where he spent three years at
    CEMAMu, while following Xenakis’ course on formalized music at the University of Paris. For the past seven years he has been employed at IRCAM, where he develops real-time musical applications and gives courses on new technology in composition.