Electrons (1994)


During the mid-nineties I was out of school, having taken an extra year and a half to study computer science while I figured out what to do with my life, and into teaching people how to use their computers along with fixing the occasional problem. One of the questions I asked during this time was “How much can I make this synthesizer do at one time?” Unlike a computer, which from the user’s point of view slows to a crawl while from it’s own point of view is doing as much as it can as fast as it can without waiting for slow people, a synthesizer never slows down — it just drops notes that have been hanging around too long when asked to play one more note than it can play. Electrons was my first foray into playing with the limits of a single synthesizer, and to cope with the limitations I designed a set of instruments each of which was monophonic (a single note playing at a time) layered into one performance package. As a consequence, the music came out rather classically-oriented when looked at a particular way. The most classically-oriented group languished for some time before becoming “Electrons II.” The cover art is the product of one of my early attempts to catch a lightning bolt on camera, which is far easier in digital than on film due to the number of frames required to catch what is essentially a random event.

“Prelude” follows no particular form, but listen for the initial theme as it appears in the different instruments in different registers.

“Interlude” also follows no particular form. Listen for the rising four note theme throughout.

“NoDance” is distinctly not in one of the baroque dance forms, and in addition switches between several odd meters, in an attempt to keep anyone from actually dancing to the music. Listen for the trills and tremolos taking advantage of the sliding nature of the monophonic synthesizer.

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