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from Retrospectacles by Chris Brown

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Shuffle, Chris Brown (2004)

Shuffle is an interactive electronic environment for improvisation in which sounds from the piano are electronically transformed using random choices influenced by data recorded from the pianist’s performance. Eight software recorders turn on and off automatically, and their changing contents are played back by three types of generators, each capable of playing up to 8 voices at a time at different pitches, speeds, and timbres. The piece has twelve sections played in an order chosen randomly by the computer. In each section performance data including pitches, durations, and density is differently mapped to control parameters of the sound playback and transformation. The performer is both the source of all the sounds and an influence on the processes that randomly change them, but has no direct manual controls except for the overall volume. Nothing is determined by the composition except for the processes of sonic transformation, and the indirect influence the performer has on them. The keyboard performance is directly and accurately reported to the computer using the Moog PianoBar, a sensor designed by electronic instrument inventor Don Buchla that uses infrared light to track the timing and velocity of activation of the keys.


from Retrospectacles, track released October 7, 2018
Recorded in a live performance at Roulette, New York City in December 2005 by Jim Staley


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