REFRACTION:
Foundation in Bellows & Electronics

2009–2014

Optical calcite

coppice

An area of woodland in which the trees or shrubs are periodically cut back to ground level to stimulate growth and provide firewood or timber.

nexus

Coppice emerged from recording sessions of duo interactions between a prepared shurti box (a reed instrument activated by a hand-pumped system of bellows) and a modified dual-cassette tape processor (called Modified Boombox) – both dated, portable, modified mechanical objects approached as musical instrumentation to form a blend of acoustic and electronic signals. 

bellows & electronics

Shruti boxes and pump organs were customized or “prepared” by removing, replacing and displacing reeds, and fixing small interfering objects against them. Effects include foregrounded air leaks from the bellows, filtered air coloration from reedless holes and reed disturbances.

The Modified Boombox used interconnected cassettes whose tape travels from the first deck which records, to the second deck that plays back, a classic tape delay technique that takes on unique characteristics based on the specific boombox being used. Effects include cross-responsive tape processes of concurrent delay, echo, pitch bending, equalization and gentle feedback.

equal interchange and simultaneous reaction

As a duo system, bellows and electronics recall the effects between exciter-resonator of musical instrument construction – sound from action and response. Bellows and tape processes formed a unit of superimposed live and reproduced signals running in parallel, creating a self-reproducing music that interacts and fuses in “real time.”

surrounding air

The conditions surrounding the bellows and electronics were an essential component of the duo setup in space and in recording. Internal and external behavior was recorded by internal and external microphones in the Modified Boombox, while manual acoustic filtering gestures were performed around its speakers, as well as between the prepared shruti box and the microphones–to balance tactile techniques with those of no contact. 

hard stereo

The music was captured from multiple microphonic perspectives collapsed into a stereo image. The left-right signals of the Modified Boombox and the back-front of the shruti box were placed in stereo as left-right respectively. This stereo image became the frame on which dynamic pumping techniques on the bellows translated into a stereo effect.

music that only works together

The first compositions resulted from formalist constraints dealing with iteration, variation, arrivals and plateaus. Holes/Tract (Consumer Waste, 2012) presents Coppice’s opening musical values. 

Vinculum

Non-duo isolated recordings from the Whisper Room sessions were indexed and collected to form Vinculum, Coppice’s archive of sonic artifacts. This catalogue of air and edges comprises recorded perspectives of prepared shruti box, accordion, metal tubing, sphygmomanometer, flue pipes, fire bellows, and funnels. 

specimens

Each Vinculum recording was subjectively reduced to highlight some aspects at the expense of others, extending new dimensions of sonic identity from audio editing techniques. 

The recordings or “specimens” functioned as samples in compositions that expand on their instrumentation-in-common: The Pleasance & The Purchase (2010), Bramble (2012), Soft Crown (2014), and Bluing/Blueing (2014). Others became the basis for a compositional series of performed installations that study the relationships between audio and audience in spaces Copse (2010), Vinculum (Coincidence) (2011). 

Elaborations of the indexical recording process itself were presented in the performed installations Vinculum (Courses) (2011), Vinculum (Courses) [Version Baschet] (2011), and A Vinculum Variation (2013).

excited materials

A series of sound sculptures transfigured the timbral qualities of the Vinculum archive in the installations Vinculum (Passes) (2012) and Vinculum re: Screens for Mutual Attractions to Related Objects (Some Impossible) (2015). Vinculum “specimens” were transduced into sheets of galvanized steel, foam, glass, copper, aluminum, cork, and acrylic whose material properties produced further sonic and spatial effects.

index transfers

Index transfers are artifacts on tape pulled from cassettes used in the Modified Boombox. 

Epoxy (Pilgrim Talk, 2013) includes two arrangements captured solely from the perspective of the Modified Boombox. 

footing

The first two of three movements of Copse (2010) focused on the creation and designation of spaces as distributed across a set of installation speakers. Their arrangement for 7” record The Pleasance & The Purchase (Senufo Editions, 2012) presents a fixed perspective. The listener is repositioned as a point existing within a stereo projection that they share responsibility for creating (the listener turns the recording on, sets the volume, places the speakers, selects a point from which to listen, etc.) Fixed and flattened, The Pleasance & The Purchase invites a private question of where a listener finds their footing.

coincidence

It may be incidental, manufactured (ideally observed), undifferentiated, captured, reproduced but not repeated. 

amplification

Developments for the amplification of Coppice’s music occurred in two compositions for bellows and electronic processes, (The Flavor of Missing) Mortar (2011) and Snow (2011). These compositions extended the interactions between bellows and electronics to include those between the amplifying loudspeakers and the acoustic identity of the performance spaces.

live repertoire for amplified prepared pump organ and tape processes

Intertwined instrumental interaction with electromagnetic interference through structuralist constraints to form complex timbral horizons that engorge, tip and hemorrhage.

Coppice’s live repertoire between 2012–2014 consisted of staged stereo recitals of Seam (2010/2012), While Like Teem or Bloom Comes (Tipping) (2012), Compound Form (2012), Snuck Keel (2013), Impulses for Elaborated Turbulence (Excised) (2013), Sop (2013), and Bypass (2014). 

navigation

With interest in conveying the multiplicity of perspectives towards instruments and their recordings, Coppice devised Soft Crown Transparencies (self-released, 2014), a ‘navigable composition for software’ which repositions the listener in a new type of active listening. It provides coordinates for engaging shifts of vantage point (as all sound layers develop in time) through a navigable vertical axis on the screen. 

Soft Crown Transparencies isn’t a game or a tool. It invites the listener to figure a porous journey through a listening format that they can intersect as the music unfolds – to obtain finer details of the music’s materialities and to localize additional audio not found in the stereo mix of Soft Crown (Vantage/Cordoned (caduc., 2014))

generations and transparencies

Soft Crown Transparencies provides access for close listening of different points of the interior of the prepared pump organ and of the multiple generations of tape processes in a navigable software.

Pied (Notice Recordings, 2013) probes into multiple generations of the same original content on tape, revealing shifting depths of incidental sounds, utterances, and transparencies in the tape gone un-erased.

opposition

Bypass (2013) was conceived as a heavily amplified performance of Modified Boombox and prepared pump organ. Its sounds were set against each other at the exclusion of signal processing. For its publication on tape as Bypass Ideal (Hideous Replica, 2015), each part was placed in isolation on each side of a cassette tape to evade the original simultaneous listening, offering instead a retrospective listening that proposes an “idealized experience of parts.”

Matches

The better you can see yourself happily reflected the happier you become (equals biofeedback.)

Blueberry

An object induced by manipulated magnetic fields.

Reed block

Basket hole

Box with duct tape, copper mesh and clear tape

Scroll with red paint

Glass jar

Blued metal