The pieces that make up this collection were composed with the GENDYN algorithm – GENerative DYNamics. This non-standard digital sound synthesis technique, invented by Iannis Xenakis, relies on the application of random walks guided by probability distribution functions for the direct generation of digital audio sample data, which in turn defines the character of complex timbres and musical form. These works were generated with a re-implementation of Xenakis’ algorithm, a program called the New GENDYN Program (developed by musicologist and computer scientist Peter Hoffmann), with additional components developed by the composer of this work.
Xenakis’ composition tools force me to create my own world and framework in which to work, to define the rules within the parameters of the given materials. In this case, the materials are geometry and mathematics: equations and relations that are abstract descriptions of natural physical phenomena in the form of probability distributions, points and lines. But further, these already abstract relationships are then encoded in binary logic in a computer program, that then generates the digital audio sample data. The composer defines the input parameters – the initial conditions – for the aggregation of these multiple and varied mathematical relationships, and then lets the system present the output as a completed living sonic organism. Hoffmann’s implementation of the GENDYN algorithm became a platform for a disciplined approach to a formal, structured and a generative craft/art of computer composition.
I work with a hybrid of Hoffmann’s implementation of GENDYN in conjunction with my own tools, which affords me many capabilities that weren’t available before this incarnation of the algorithm. I’ve evolved a method that allows me to layer sounds and events on a wide and massive scale, simultaneously in very broad strokes as well as fine detailed articulation. I call one aspect of this method dynamic stochastic granular synthesis: hundreds of thousands to millions of granular timbrel events for a given time frame. These events are dispersed over time horizontally (a few seconds to a few minutes), as well as vertically in as many as 500 or more voices or tracks. Each event is as unique as the DNA of a living organism.