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ART 1010 Etudes and Bagatelles by Mark Trayle Interactive computer music compositions.

(c) (p) 1994 Mark Trayle (BMI) all rights reserved


Etudes and Bagatelles, by composer Mark Trayle

"I have a great affection for found sound material: for the gritty distortion and electronic artifacts of radio and television broadcasts, the over-amplified flotsam of popular culture. And I prefer to focus my compositional attention on creating processes and defining interactions, letting the musical "details" emerge from the performers interaction with the musical process, rather than using the computer to more perfectly and rigidly realize a piece of music. I use a variety of interfaces (the mouse, electric guitar and pitch follower, a dataglove) as a means to reach in and take part in the musical processes I define in software.

All of the pieces on this CD were written (in the TCU programming language) between 1988 and 1992. They run on an Amiga computer, and make extensive use of that computers 8-bit internal audio hardware. Although admittedly lo-fi, it's been a very flexible and cheap sampler, allowing me to do some tricks that I couldn't do (until recently) with commercial samplers."


* cc: BTWT (6'47")

* BASIC HARMONY (16'3") total + Cant (for JB) (5'19") + Fulcrum (5'31") + Lachrima (5'13")

* SEVEN GATES (28'49") total + Kotobongo (3'54") + Watermusik (6'43") + Small Fractions (2'25") + Core Songs (3'47") + Untitled (1'40") + Requiem (Lacrimosa) (5'3") + Beach (4'27")


In cc:BTWT samples of sound effects from late-night TV kung fu movies are processed under the guidance of the performer (using a mouse) and an algorithm that simulates the growth and decline of animal populations.

Basic Harmony is a study of simple harmonic motion through the time, frequency, and amplitude domains. In the original version of this piece I used an electric guitar and pitch follower to trigger and control events, I modified the piece heard here in 1993 so I could perform it with a dataglove.

Seven Gates is an interactive computer music composition with a touch of virtual reality. I use a dataglove (the Mattel PowerGlove) to manipulate invisible "sonic souvenirs", audio samples from AM and FM radio (imagine driving around California with your car radio stuck on "scan" mode). The piece has seven sections ranging in length from two to five minutes: it's either a set of "bagatelles" or a sort of "theme and variations", depending on how rigorously you want to define the latter.

The stage is divided into two areas: a "sample space" with invisible "shelves" and a "play space" (see Gate Diagram). Separating the two areas is an invisible "fence". The performer, wearing the glove, reaches through a "gate" in the fence to grab a sample from a shelf, then brings it back through the gate to the play space where its sound can be modulated by moving the glove around.

Moving the glove left to right changes the pitch of the sample, up and down the amplitude, and back and forth the sample length. The gate is wired for sound; anytime it's opened or closed an audio sample (one of several gates and doors from around my house and neighborhood) is played.

The piece is mostly improvisational, with a few general rules about gestures to use in each section. These rules take the form of seven simple diagrams that define how my gloved hand moves within sample space and play space (see Sample Space Diagram).

The repertoire of gestures used in the piece is symmetrical: sections one and seven use the same or similar gestures, sections two and six the same, and so on. The central fourth section generally matches the first and seventh - I've been known to deviate from my "score" during this part. There's a contextual and timbral symmetry at work in Seven Gates as well. The first and seventh sections use samples of Nortena music, the second and sixth use 18th century European music, the third and fifth use speech sampled from radio and television, and the fourth section is comprised of a combination of the above.

Noise removal was done at Audio Images Corp., San Francisco (Scot Gresham-Lancaster, engineer), editing and assembly at SoundLAB and The Compound, San Francisco (Adrienne Gulyassy, Naut Humon, and Ed Osborn, engineers). cc:BTWT was recorded at CME, UCSD, La Jolla CA (Lee Ray, engineer), Basic Harmony and Seven Gates were recorded at 725 Pierce St., Albany, CA.

Design: Michael Sumner

Cover art by Kunst Brothers, Brooklyn, NY.

MARK TRAYLE was born in California in 1955. He attended the University of Oregon and Mills College, studying composition with Robert Ashley, David Behrman, and David Rosenboom.

Trayle has performed in a variety of venues in the U.S. and Europe, including New Langton Arts and The Lab in San Francisco, Experimental Intermedia Foundation and Roulette in New York City, Het Apollohuis in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and the Centro d'Arte in Padova, Italy. He was a featured performer at New Music America '89, New Music Across America 1992, the 'Cybersonics' series at The Kitchen (1993), Ars Electronica '94, WRO 95 (Wroclaw, Poland), and SoundArt 95 in Hannover (Germany). In 1988 he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of San Diego to compose a work for radio, "Large Room with Delay". He has been an artist-in-residence at Mills College, STEIM (Amsterdam), and most recently The Lab.

As a member of the computer network band, The Hub, he has collaborated with such artists as Alvin Curran and the Rova Saxophone Quartet. He created the soundtrack for "Menagerie", a virtual reality installation shown at the Centre Pompidou in 1993, and a recipient of a Distinction at the 1994 Prix Ars Electronica. Most recently he collaborated with Perry Hoberman on a virtual reality tour of the Sapporo Brewery in Tokyo.

Trayle's music is also available on the Inial label and on the Elektra/Nonesuch compilation Imaginary Landscapes. He has been the subject of interviews and articles in Strumenti Musicali, Virtual, Realta' Virtual (Italy), Pixelations and Keyboard (USA) magazines. A chapter on his work with computer music performance interfaces will appear in Cybercultures, due out in Fall of 1995 (Grove Press). His article, `Nature, Networks, Chamber Music', appears in the premiere issue of the Leonardo Music Journal.

"...a magician who commands unknown powers...elegant, even spellbinding gestures... a stimulating experience." - Hannover Neue Presse

"... with great sensitivity he reformed existing material into new, sometimes humorous sound-images, pictures for attentive ears." - Neues Volksblatt (Linz, Austria)

"... the results ranged from compelling to hilarious" - Computer Music Journal

"... redefines the art of noise" - LA Weekly

"What you see is Trayle creating what you hear out of `thin air'" - SF Bay Guardian

Contact: Mark Trayle POB 192014 San Francisco, CA 94119-2014 USA tel +1.510.527.9136 fax +1.510.527.7247