Life Study #4 (1996)

Duration – 11’05”

Life Study #4 for computer-realized sound is one of a series of pieces which might be described as “aural cinema”. Much of what is heard was derived from “ready-made” recordings, although some of what is heard is not what it seems to be. To go further with the metaphor of the cinema, while I am presenting sounds in these works which are at times directly recognizable, therefore having “meaning” on their own, they are presented through a “lens” which puts these sound images into a context of my own making. There are no “stories” or programs in these works, but there is a sense of the narrative which in Life Study #4 is colored by a sense of the solitary or of separateness. There are juxtapositions of a horse galloping, crows cawing, waves of white noise, human and other non-human sounds, haunted by a synthetic “electronic” drone-like sound which appears and disappears several times. Later in the work a simple flute-like sound is interrupted by a burst of noise followed by footsteps which “walk in place” (getting neither closer to nor farther from the listeners’ perspective). I used a wide array of signal processing techniques in this work: filtering, time-stretching, phase vocoder analysis/synthesis, distortion, and so on….and there are synthetic sound sources as well. The piece was composed primarily with Csound anc Common Music. Life Study #4 was commissioned by Swedish Radio, Malmo and was composed in 1996.