Evan X. Merz
Evan Merz (b. 1981) is a teacher, composer, and programmer based in San Jose. His music has been performed at SoundWalk Long Beach 2013, Physics and Music Trauenkirchen, Currents Santa Fe 2012, University of South Dakota 60/60 2012, Phono Photo No. 6, Silence, Beauty and Horror 2009, and New Music Hartford 2009. Evan is the author of Sonifying Processing: The Beads Tutorial, which introduces sound art to Processing programmers. He also works as a freelance composer, scoring for videogames and television productions. He is the SEAMUS Webmaster and the blogger at computermusicblog.com. Currently, Evan teaches computer science at San Jose State University.
Sonifying Processing: The Beads Tutorial
Composing with All Sound Using the FreeSound and Wordnik APIs
Abstract: In order to create algorithmic art using the wealth of documents available on the internet, artists must discover strategies for organizing those documents. In this paper I demonstrate techniques for organizing and collaging sounds from the user-contributed database at freesound.org. Sounds can be organized in a graph structure by exploiting aural similarity relationships provided by freesound.org, and lexical relationships provided by wordnik.com. Music can then be generated from these graphs in a variety of ways. In
the final section, I elaborate on three pieces I’ve generated from sound graphs using cellular automata, and swarm intelligence.
Mailbox is an algorithmic piece generated by using the freesound.org API to search for and download sounds uploaded by freesound users. To begin the piece, the software downloaded the first sound by searching FreeSound for the word mailbox. Then the program continued by recursively searching for sounds that were similar to the previous sounds and appending them to the output. In its final form, the piece can be heard as a many-layered collaboration. The freesound users contributed sounds to the public database, the freesound API granted access to those sounds, the software searched for, downloaded and assembled the source material, and the final edits were made by a human being.
Letting It Go To Voicemail
The live generative version of this piece can be viewed as an applet at http://www.computermusicblog.com/Letting_It_Go_To_Voicemail/
To the Towers and the Satellites
Becoming (Swarm Intelligence Music Software)
Pittsburgh is one of the pieces generated with Becoming.
Swarm Score uses the same swarm intelligence concepts as Becoming, but generates printed scores using fragments of music notation written in the notation programming language lilypond. The Tides Remain, composed for a french horn quartet, was assembled by Swarm Score.
Currently I am teaching computer science at San Jose State University. I teach Java and web programming.
In the winter quarter of 2013 I taught MUSC80L: AI and Music at UC Santa Cruz. At UCSC I received a Porter Teaching Fellowship to teach PRTR 28: Introduction to Sound Art. At NIU, I received a scholarship to teach MUSC 211: Introduction to Electronic and Computer Music. This is a lecture on Futurist Music that I gave at UCSC on October 4, 2011. Here are the slides from my lecture on Futurist Music.
Since 2006, I have written and recorded the scores for a number of videogames and web shows, including:
Office Problems by Brandon Buzcek
Sci-Fighters by The Super Flash Brothers
Dad’s Got Ninjas
Exploit by Gregory Weir
Arrow of Time by the Super Flash Brothers
Creekwood Forest by the Super Flash Brothers
The Mold Fairy by Gregory Weir
James the Super Zebra by the Super Flash Brothers
In 2007, I wrote a suite of music for the million-selling game AudioSurf. Since AudioSurf generates race tracks based on music files, I was able to write five pieces of music that generate specific courses. The music was written up in PC Gamer magazine.