Fluid Dynamics

Maggi Payne

  • Année de composition: 2002
  • Durée: 11:48
  • Instrumentation: support stéréo


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My original intent for this piece was to use two very rhythmical sounds which I had recorded — a raucous faulty faucet in the men’s washroom near a Concert Hall and a gently squeaking gas service regulator outside of Lisser Hall, both on the Mills College campus. As the piece developed, though, the rhythmic elements were set aside as the more subtle sound of gas traveling through the pipes and the softer purring sound that the faucet made on its way to the clacking rhythm took over. To these sources I added the sound of a large steel ball and a small brass ball bearing being propelled across a wooden floor, a spare MCI tape machine part rolling in a circular pattern on a linotype sheet, and a roll of very thin brass sheeting gently swaying. The other main sound is that of a large steel ball rolling down two strings of a miniature koto-like instrument I bought at Cost Plus many years ago. Paul Dresher’s use of a ball bearing rolling on his string instrument (quadrachord) in his work Sound Stage reminded me of this fascinating sound, and I could not resist using a highly processed version of it in the final section of the piece.

The sources are processed using phase vocoding, convolution, granular synthesis, equalization, and extensive layering, and although a residual attachment to the original sounds remain, their origins are at times rather obscured. The spatialization is natural. Static sources are convolved against naturally moving sources so that they take on the spatialization characteristics of the moving sources.

These sounds held such fascination for me in the intricacies of their timbres, the smallest perturbations being so audible in the loudest and in the softest sounds. The dynamic potential is almost visceral for me. It is as if the listener is inside of these entities, exploring every detail from the inside out rather than being an outsider looking/listening in.

[source: maggipayne.com]