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Surface (ART 3015, 2022)

by John Bischoff

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    CD in gatefold card case, designed by MIchael Sumner

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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. His focus continues to be on material properties elicited from the electronic instrumentation, highlighting mechanisms either built-in or fabricated by the composer through play and investigation.

Imagine a rolling landscape divided into areas of differing surface texture. A vehicle speeds over the landscape, the wheels generating continuous noise in contact with each surface. At area boundaries the noise quality shifts suddenly. The vehicle is silent, the surface sound all encompassing.

This music was created in the mid-1990s and is related to my album “The Glass Hand” from the same period. The pieces are the result of extensive experimentation using real-time MIDI System-Exclusive codes to drive synthesizers into noise states of varying qualities. As MIDI note-on messages pummel the synthesizer 10 times a second, Sys-Ex messages sent in tandem alter the synthesizer’s voice definition—picture a bell continuously struck while imagining its shape is deformed in any dimension. The pieces were composed for live performance and therefore recorded in studio in real-time in one pass. Only a few minor edits were made.


released October 4, 2022

Recording: John Bischoff
Mastering: Xopher Davidson
Graphic Design: Michael Sumner
Cover image: A spectrogram of “Surface 11” audio made by composer Mark Trayle in the 1990s.

Recordings were made direct to DAT in my home studio in Berkeley in 1994 and 1995, except for "Silent Theater" which was recorded in concert in Berlin on May 28, 1993.

All tracks recorded live with no overdubbing.
Special thanks to Xopher Davidson.


all rights reserved



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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