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Bitplicity (ART 3012, 2021)

by John Bischoff

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    In a gatefold card case, with package design by Michael Sumner

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about

John Bischoff (b. 1949) is an early practitioner of live computer music. He is known for his solo constructions in real-time synthesis as well as the development of computer network music. His recent performances combine hands-on analog circuitry and digital synthesis in open dialog. Sonic attributes in one domain inform music unfolding in the other. The ebb and flow of discontinuity spontaneously generates form.

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The starting point for the composition of these pieces begins with pulse-wave oscillators sounding in audio and sub-audio realms that are animated by performer actions—-primarily the momentary shorting of conductive points in each circuit. To accomplish this, the circuits are fabricated with critical trace points brought to the top of the circuit box in the form of brass rails. The rails run parallel to each other where they can be "shorted" with coins wielded by the performer. In some cases the coins are packaged into a variable resistance "sandwich" using anti-static foam as a filler. Compression of the foam varies the pitch of oscillation, an additional human-to-circuit control. (many thanks to Nicolas Collins for his inspiring book, “Handmade Electronic Music")

The solos share common structures throughout:

- as pulsed tones come to life, they sound at the loudspeakers and often trigger digital sound at the same time

- the pulsed tones are also analyzed by the laptop for pitch content and elapsed time between events
- the pitch and timing of subsequent digital synthesis generated by the laptop is driven by this performance-acquired data—-no pre-performance event data is employed

- as the laptop generates sound it is open to interruption and re-animation by ongoing circuit actions

The very ground of each event in this music is a physical interruption—-a disturbance in a continuous tone or silence. The usual electronic music preferencing of an acoustic-style envelope—-the shaping of an attack followed by subsequent sustain and then release—-is replaced by an ever-present potential for either sudden sound or sudden silence. The artifacts accompanying these transitions provide a site for sonic ornamentation—-unpredictable edges of sound that balance the overly formal interior of electronic tone production.
- John Bischoff


credits

released December 4, 2021

Recording Engineer: Philip Perkins
Additional recording: Brendan Glasson
Mastering: Xopher Davidson
Graphic Design: Michael Sumner
Recorded on August 10, 2020 and April 24, 2021 in Littlefield Concert Hall, Mills College. All tracks recorded live with no overdubbing.

Special thanks to Molly Holm, Phil Perkins, Xopher Davidson, James Fei, Brendan Glasson, and the Music Department at Mills College.

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Artifact Recordings San Francisco, California

ARTIFACT RECORDINGS is a project of Ubu, Incorporated, an artist-run, non-profit organization supporting experimental and electronic music based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our download and compact disk series is dedicated to representing a living experimental music tradition that continues to thrive in the cracks between the commercial, academic and classical music establishments. ... more

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