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Category: New Music

Among Fireflies by Elainie Lillios

Among Fireflies (2010) for alto flute and live, interactive electroacoustics takes its inspiration from a haiku by poet Wally Swist, who generously granted permission to use it for the piece.

Dense with fireflies

The field flickers

Through the fog

Swist’s imagery inspired me to consider texture and perspective, which became two focal aspects of the piece. The piece’s opening gestures place the performer in a field surrounded by a multitude of fireflies – perhaps the performer is a person, or perhaps the performer is a firefly him/herself. The piece’s progression slowly separates the performer (and listeners) from the masses of fireflies, the increasing distance changing our perspective on their activity and brilliance. By the piece’s end, we view the fireflies through the fog from a great distance, where only the smallest, blurred flickers persist, but the memory of their presence remains. Among Fireflies was commissioned by the Lipa Festival of Contemporary Music at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Fieldwork by Christopher Burns

Fieldwork is a software environment for improvised performance with electronic sound and animation. Two musicians’ sounding performances are fed into the system, and analyzed for pitch, rhythm, and timbral change. When the software recognizes a sharp contrast in one performer’s textures or gestures, it reflects this change by transforming the sound of the other musician’s performance. As a result of this process, the musicians are not only responding to one another as in conventional improvisation, but they are also able to directly modify their duo partner’s sound by interacting with the software. Fieldwork emphasizes rapid, glitchy, and polyrhythmic distortions of the musician’s performances, and establishes unpredictable feedback processes that encourage unexpected improvisational relationships between the performers and computer.

Performed by Amanda Schoofs (voice) and Christopher Burns (guitar) on October 27, 2011, as part of the Unruly Music festival, a co-production of UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. [1]

Letting It Go To Voicemail by Evan X. Merz

Letting It Go To Voicemail is about communication anxiety. It’s about the stress that builds up when we think about our inbox or our voicemail. It’s about the overwhelming crush of communication that comes our way each week, and how it impacts us mentally.

Letting It Go To Voicemail is hyper-minimal in construction, consisting of only a single oscillator and an algorithm for generating a buffer. The algorithm was suggested to me by Larry Polansky. He calls it The Longest Melody in the World, and it generates noise that is something like a probabilistic drunkards walk. This piece simply sweeps the probability parameter from low to high, forwarding the resulting buffer to the oscillator, and drawing it on a polar coordinate system.

The live generative version of this piece can be viewed as an applet at

Frrriction, an Album of Music from an Electrically-Augmented Drum Kit

Frrriction is a live solo improvisation with the electronically augmented drum kit. The instrument consists of a traditional jazz drum kit mounted with sensors, contact microphones, speakers and bespoke software programmed in MaxMSP. The acoustic kit becomes the control interface of the electronics by using various machine listening techniques, resulting in a very direct interaction between the two sound worlds. [1]

You can buy Frrriction by Christos Michalakos at bandcamp.

IBNIZ – Multimedia Coding Environment

As demonstrated by the video, IBNIZ (Ideally Bare Numeric Impression giZmo) is a virtual machine and a programming language that generates video and audio from very short strings of code. Technically, it is a two-stack machine somewhat similar to Forth, but with the major execption that the stack is cyclical and also used at an output buffer. Also, as every IBNIZ program is implicitly inside a loop that pushes a set of loop variables on the stack on every cycle, even an empty program outputs something (i.e. a changing gradient as video and a constant sawtooth wave as audio). [1]

Download IBNIZ at

New EA Album from Thomas Bjørnseth


Music by Thomas Bjørnseth. Composed 2009.
1. Image for piano and electronics – 5:15
2. Reflection for piano – 6:05
3. Colours for piano, xylophone and electronics – 4:52
4. Motif for piano – 10:14
5. Collage for eleven timbres – 12:33