IS, Vital, no. 20, June 1, 1991

The Scheidt CD presents us works composed for instruments and interactive computer. The first composition is percussive. Here the computer produces sounds that are related to the ‘pads’ that the percussionist hits. The work is lively, and brilllantly played. The 2nd and the 5th work feature computer and bass-clarinet. The computer closely follows the pitch-directions that the clarinet points out. Third is a composition for soprano voice and computer. An unintelligible computer-developed language is spoken, the computer here reacts to the way the words are pronounced. There are five sectlons, each with a different sound that is produced by the computer. Number 4 features George Lewis on trombone, and computer. The computer, NORM, follows the fast melodic lines of the trombone, and Scheidt coordinates voice-changes.

So far the very brief description of what happens on Action/Réaction. It made me thlnk more about interactlve systems. I know people who think that this is the future of computer music. I hear a lot of good things on this cd; the computer generated language of #3 really ‘works’ and the sounds that the computer produces in the first, percussive work are very interesting. But I have not heard many impressive, firm moves coming from the computer itself. For the most part it’s a follower, reacting according to no doubt very intrlcate schemes. Still, the human performer does so this much more subtle and intelligent than this software brain. I don’t hear an equal relationship, but man playing the major role and the computer as a dumb follower.