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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chemical Oscillator to be featured on CEMEC @ UCSD & Mills

My latest work with cellular automata, Chemical Oscillator (CA Study No. 4ish) will be featured on a CEMEC (California Electronic Music Exchange Concerts) events at UCSD and Mills College. Below is blurb on my CA work and an improvisation with the Chemical Oscillator system. The other images in this post are what a physical realization of the CA system would look like, as an instrument similar to a pipe organ.

"My work with cellular automata (CA) started with an implementation of John Conway's Game of Life, unfolding upon a pitch torus designed after Roger Shepard's "Melodic Map." Cutting and unraveling this pitch torus allowed for a 2 dimensional model of the psychological distance between pitches in the equal tempered system, and the result was essentially an experiment in voice-leading arising as emergent behavior from the local rules of the CA. Since that time I have primarily been inspired by CA as a form of timbre generation by physical modeling, using the same map as background structure, but with many different types of CA rule sets. Instead of treating each node of the map as a "note," I chose to view them as "open pipes" with fundamentals tuned to that pitch. Furthermore, instead of a confined 7x12 grid, with one cell per pitch, my current version uses 20x20 cells per "pipe," with 7x12 pipes. As the number of cells alive in each 20x20 grid space (assigned to a node/pipe) increases or decreases, I use a two-cosine carrier signal to cross-fade upward or downward in the harmonics of that pitch, thus "overblowing the pipe." The artificial physics, the CA birth and death rules and the neighborhoods on which they operate, can be altered on the fly, creating a synesthetic improvisation system."

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