Scott L. Miller
Ecosystemic Music for Kyma
June 28, 2019
Studio Z: 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200, St. Paul
6 p.m. free demonstration
7:30 p.m. concert
$15 / $10 students & seniors
Composer Scott L. Miller will create new ecosystemic music for Kyma sound design environment and electromagnetically prepared piano with pianist Taavi Kerikmäe during a week-long residency at Studio Z in St. Paul this June.
Miller and Kerikmäe will present a hands-on demonstration of the Kyma and piano system including a Q&A for the public on Friday, June 28 at 6 pm followed by a concert of the music they create while in residence at 7:30 pm. The concert will be filmed and recorded for distribution.
Kyma is a visual programming language for sound design that Miller will be using to create environmental sound art at Studio Z. His approach to programming is informed by ecology with the ultimate goal of creating a transcendent musical experience.
“In ecosystemic works, I model the behavior of objects from the environment in electronic sound,” Miller explains. “This creates interactive sonic ecosystems that may resemble more of a sound art installation. I create a sonic environment for my collaborators to play in. This approach to making music enables me to bring together my interests in electronic sound, improvisation, and collaboration—with other musicians, artists from different disciplines, and even with the performance space itself.”
Miller uses Kyma to compose a structure of feedback loops of data and sounds. Data are reacted to and manipulated by the electromagnetically prepared piano, sounds are captured by microphones, recaptured by the Kyma program, and fed back out into the space. The composition is unique to the space as a sonic ecosystem—every object contributes to the created sound, with a benefit of serendipity.
For Taavi Kerikmäe, the electromagnetically prepared piano functions as percussion, transducer, signal processor, filter, and piano. The feedback process transforms the piano into a self-contained sonic ecosystem, producing all sounds that are introduced by the Kyma sound design program.
The magnets vibrate strings, speaker drivers amplify sounds, and other objects respond to signals sent by the program. These ecosystemic sounds are wrangled and prodded by Kerikmäe’s adjustments to the piano preparations, the signal processing, and the piano itself. Miller constantly adjusts the parameters or live-codes in Kyma, balancing and disrupting in equal measure the ecosystem of sound.
“The many different ways of engaging with and playing with sound is, for me, a fundamentally social enterprise,” Miller says. “I love playing with and hanging out with other people who are as excited as I am to play with sound. This really gets at what kind of art I enjoy making and how I go about it. I have focused on collaborative and improvisatory music-making that is firmly situated in the place of its creation. I generally employ electronic and computer processed sound in my work. Pursuing my interests has produced a body of work that results from hands-on experimentation and collaboration—in a word, play.”
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