In the stream

Sound alone, fixed, 1990.

The sounds used as sources are very short fragments of singing, from a recording of a male Scottish folk singer, and recordings of streams. There are no synthetic sounds, but these sources are processed a great deal, and virtually always intertwined or presented simultaneously. The piece opens with a long sequence of loud ‘thuds’ – made from a cross-synthesized mix of vocal syllables and water – that gradually dissipate and make way for a less aggressive and more flowing texture, in which the sounds of water, often tuned to clear pitches, predominate. The piece ends with an extended passage in which the patterns of water are integrated with longer vowel sounds, tuned – for much of the time – to an ‘ecstatic’ major triad.

This was the first digital ‘tape’ piece I made – by means of Cmix software on a friendly but decaying Vax computer at Princeton University. Structurally, I¬†was trying to translate Fibonnaci principles, an enthusiasm that I’d used in a previous piano piece about a British waterfall, High Force, to an electronic medium.

Composed in 1990, a high quality recording of In the stream is recorded on the CD, Transparent things (Metier).