music by Gustavo Matamoros & David Dunn
list of selections:
1 In Gated Memory of Gentle Giant | GM
2 Inscape 3 | DD
3 FFFFF | GM
4 Canon | DD
5 Coincidence | GM
6 Cocktail Hour in Little Havana | GM
7 Thresholds and Fragile States | DD
8 String Solo | GM
9 Blue Moon | DD
10 Swept Away GM
11 Ultrasonic Walk | DD
12 Hextet | GM
13 Variations | DD
14 Truly Yours | GM
In Gated Memory of Gentle Giant
GM | 2020
featuring Davey Williams on electric guitar
Gentle Giant was one of the few English bands I discovered as a teen in Venezuela in the early 70s that got me interested in audio recording and electronics. In general these bands approached the recording studio creatively as an integral aspect of the music. Even today I continue to discover how deeply engrained the recordings of Gentle Giant and most importantly, Egg,—like some kind of spirit possession—are etched into my unconscious sound mind. Created in 1995, In Gated Memory of Gentle Giant my second attempt at a tribute to the band. It is the daughter of In Memory of Gentle Giant for percussion and tape, which was performed widely by Jan Williams in the early 90s and was included in the band’s tribute CD Giant Tracks. As a member of the gated tape community of pieces that followed, IGMGG contains a richer pallet of very short snippets of source material from GG recordings. And as typical of this series, its realization is as unpredictable for the performer as it is for the audience. Electric guitarist Davey Williams became my chosen target for its first performance and premiered it in 1996 as a member of my Fishtank Ensemble in a duet version along with the marvelous Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello at Merkin Hall in NYC. The century turned and during one of his many visits to Miami I suggested we record a new improvisation of the piece using a revised tape part. That proved to be one in a series of steps needed. Unfortunately for Davey, he passed before I was able to get back to it. So during the 2020 lockdown I was able to recompose the recorded track and apply the implied gating suggested by Davey’s performance to create the version included here. The recording was first presented as a tribute to Davey during the Subtropics 25 Festival at the Deering Estate in September of 2021.
Inscape 3 (for violin and electronic sounds)
DD | 2009
Violin: David Dunn
INSCAPE 3 is an arrangement for solo violin and electronic sounds of INSCAPE 2 (1995) for solo voice and electronic sounds. In both cases the works are a setting of the same poem (Pied Beauty) by Gerard Manley Hopkins. The electronic sounds for both works are the same. The fully notated violin part mostly doubles the electronic sounds, matching as close as possible the precise just intonation of the electronic tones. The electronic sounds are computer generated sinewaves whose durations and envelopes were determined by extracting the envelope shapes of phonemes and mapping them onto the appropriate sinewave frequencies. These frequencies, as indicated in the score, were derived from a phonetic analysis of the Hopkins text from which specific structural attributes could be translated into a musical structure. The numeric value of the frequency of occurrence for each phoneme has been mapped into an inverse hierarchy of natural number values, corresponding to harmonics in the harmonic series.
Further digital signal processing techniques, as varying rates of delay and echo, were subsequently applied to the edited sequence of sinewaves in order to articulate other embedded structural relationships in the original text.
FFF For Floor Flute
GM | 2007
excerpt from the mini 5.1 surround sound installation
Floor Flute is the name of a suggested sound sculpture by Miami-based artist Robert Chambers. It features recorders, ancient ocarinas, whistles and a melodica, all activated at once by air from a Renaissance organ below traveling through automobile rubber housing. My task was to create a surround sound installation to be contained inside the sculpture that would produce the sounds of each of the attached instruments through its own designated tinny speaker. The surround area of this piece ended up being about a foot and a half square.
(commissioned by Cifo)
Canon (Study for Synclavier 1)
DD | 1984
Canon uses all 12 pitches of the equal-tempered scale distributed over five octaves. Each pitch group loops at different time durations related to prime number values. The piece begins with synchronous ascending, then descending, chromatic clusters before the looping process begins. As the pitches splay apart due to the differing cycle points, a variety of complex pitch and rhythmic patterns continue to emerge.
GM | 2010
excerpt from the site-specific sound installation
Coincidence was created for the elevator bay area of the first floor exhibition space at Miami Art Museum (now PAMM) in Downtown Miami’s Flagler Street. The installation populated the elevator bay with recordings of Biscayne Bay featuring the uncanny snapping sounds shrimp make underwater while hunting for food juxtaposed with the coincidentally similar sounds shrimp make while frying in a pan. These sounds were projected hypersonically onto the elevator doors inside the waiting bay area that contained the piece. Like oil and water, the shrimp sounds floated acoustically over a bed of ever-changing sonorities emanating from surround sound speakers and finely tuned to the space’s natural acoustics.
(commissioned by MAM)
Cocktail Hour in Little Havana
GM | 2021
for tape with MIDI piano accompaniment
The voices in this audio portrait were captured at gatherings in homes and public spaces in Miami ’s Little Havana neighborhood. The MIDI piano part (an octave lower) is a faithful transcription of tonal qualities and the rhythmic character of the digital tape collage, itself composed primarily of laughter and casual conversation.
(from materials originally created for Tilde Tilde, commissioned by Koubek Center and Miami-Dade Live Arts)
Thresholds and Fragile States
DD | 2010-2012
This recording of Thresholds and Fragile States is one of many live realizations made using a one-of-akind network of non-linear chaotic oscillators capable of generating an infinite variety of emergent “auditory behaviors.” As an autonomous electronic system, these circuits are more akin to living systems than information processing devices. The circuits produce a dazzling assortment of complex noises where the sounds produced emerge as a type of machine “conversation.” In this sense the circuits resemble the closed nervous systems of living unities that are under constant perturbation from other similar closed nervous systems. The intention is not to simulate the high-level functioning of biological organisms and their cognitive capacities but rather to take this question down to its most primary level of autonomous-closure machines where self-organization is more obviously inseparable from behavior.
Ultimately the emergent complexity of these systems results from the dynamical attributes of coupled chaotic attractors interacting in a high dimensional phase space that is similar to the kinds of interactions and feedback that might exist between diverse sound makers within a living ecological network. While the circuits herein described give rise to autonomous sound behaviors based upon mathematical pattern formation, they also explore the underlying mechanisms that may help weave sounds together in the natural world. In many ways this work is an attempt at understanding pattern formation where comparisons and interactions between natural and artificial systems might shed light on how similar dynamical properties might be operating at their generative levels.
String Solo (for Vito Acconci)
GM | 2018
documentary recording of the 8-channel installation part of Audiotheque 2.0
Amplified String: Gustavo Matamoros
String Solo is an attempt to produce on the listener a sensation of gentle intimacy in the presence of an otherwise small sound that has been amplified enormously to fill up the entire exhibition space. This recording documents the orchestration designed for eight of its 30-channels of audio available then at Audiotheque 2.0. The source material for this piece was created in one gesture. It was produced by the uninterrupted activation and manipulation of a single amplified string.
(Audiotheque 2.0 was commissioned by Knight Foundation)
Blue Moon (Study for Synclavier 2)
DD | 1985
Blue Moon was composed at the request of Australian composer/poet Chris Mann for his Blue Moon radio project of 1985. 100 versions of the Rodgers and Hart song were nationally broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Company, one at a time, on weekday mornings at 7:45. My version uses simultaneous realizations in multiple tunings and nested rhythmic patterns related to each tuning.
Swept Away with Pendulum
GM | 2002
Piano: Gustavo Matamoros
recorded at Schloss Honhard, Germany
The score for Swept Away is in two parts, one for the body and another for the mind. The performer is asked to place the forearms gently over the piano keyboard, while thinking about an object floating in a body of water. Then, while depressing the keys just shy of letting the hammers hit the strings, rock the body in response to the motion of imagined water and listen.
DD | 2009
Several years ago, I began to experiment with designs for building ultrasonic microphones that had an omni-directional response and with techniques for translating the resultant recordings into the audible spectrum of humans. Much later I designed and constructed a binaural version of these microphones capable of preserving the interaural phase and amplitude difference of human hearing after the ultrasonic sounds are slowed and stretched through sample rate conversion into the normal human hearing range. This piece represents a simple 6-minute walk in my backyard in Santa Fe, New Mexico, while wearing the binaural ultrasonic microphones. The sounds consisted of small metal and bamboo wind chimes blowing in the wind, wild birds, the sound of my footsteps on dried leaves, and other neighborhood noises. All of the normally audible sounds were subsequently filtered out. The remaining high frequency audio component (up to 96kHz) was sample rate converted and then arranged as simultaneous segments into the original source recording duration. No other signal processing was used. Only the original inaudible sound component remains but now heard in the new time and frequency domains.
GM | 2016
binaural documentation of the live six-channel digital audio performance
Performer: Gustavo Matamoros
Hextet was intended as a complement to an evening of film screenings honoring filmmaker Stan Brakhage at the Péres Art Museum of Miami. The six-channel audio performance featured gestural bass drum sounds created in collaboration with Rene Barge, over chordal sonorities constructed from tones recorded in 2006 during the tuning of Vizcaya Museum’s parlor organ. Another feature of the piece is the movement of sound in space.
(commissioned by Obsolete Media Miami and the Frost Museum of Science)
Variations on a Song from the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat (for Disklavier)
DD | 2016
Variations is the third movement of the Suite for Piano as realized on a Disklavier digital grand piano. The composition was created through the use of a rudimentary machine listening algorithm that could poorly transcribe a recording of a live performance of Mariam Matrem Virginem of the of 13th/14th centuries. The resultant mangled deconstruction and resultant transcription errors formed the basis for a continuous stream of variations.
Recording by David Dunn and Jon Myers
GM | 1987
version for digital FM synthesizer and tape
DX7: Gustavo Matamoros
Truly Yours consists of a melody composed for xylophone over a tape part that combines FM synthesized sound and drum samples triggered by a sequence programed into a drum machine.