Saturday – March 16, 2024 – Demonstrations: 2:30-3:30 (Utt 008, directly below Hart Recital Hall)

  • Ryan Gaston: Introducing the map02/21 Delta Scan Mapping Interface, An Instrument for the Exploration of Chaos & Emergent Nonlinear Control Mapping Structures
  • John Gibson: An Easy Introduction to Max using Auzzie

Ryan Gaston – Introducing the map02/21 Delta Scan Mapping Interface, An Instrument for the Exploration of Chaos & Emergent Nonlinear Control Mapping Structures

This demonstration introduces map02/21 (2021–ongoing), an electronic instrument that explores the emergent properties of chaotic audio structures and arbitrarily re-mappable user input controls. map02/21 comprises two devices: the map02 Delta Scan Mapping Interface and map21 Multiple Vector Source + Translation Matrix.

map02, a sound-generating structure, derives inspiration from instruments by Don Buchla and Rob Hordijk—namely, the Buchla 400 and Hordijk Blippoo Box. It borrows techniques from 1970s/1980s computer music (e.g. lookup table-based wave shaping, phase modulation, and Karplus-Strong-esque techniques) and arranges them in a complex feedback network.

By inducing feedback within map02’s synthesis structure, the user may discover that its apparent parameterization—that is, the mapping of a hardware element such as a knob or slider—seems to change; and that, depending on the relationship between the many accessible parameters, said parameters’ influence on the resulting sonic behavior continuously changes. A knob that once seemed to affect pitch, for instance, may suddenly shift to affect many aspects of a sound simultaneously.

By exploring these nonlinear, evolving mapping structures, the user may discover a unique flavor of sound and interaction: one that favors unpredictability, surprise, the sounds of early computer music, and an embrace of DSP “failures” (stuttering, aliasing, noise, and all manner of peculiar digital audio phenomena).

map21 accompanies map02, and provides additional arbitrarily re-mappable user control. By combining a pair of joysticks and sixteen unique random number generators with an instantaneously randomize-able data routing matrix, map21 offers a way to interact with map02’s emergent sonic behaviors through additional layers of abstraction and obfuscation.

This demonstration will walk through map02/21’s user workflow, demonstrating some of its peculiar and idiosyncratic possibilities with the hope of inspiring others to more fully embrace uncertainty and chaos.

Ryan Gaston (b. 1990) is a performer/composer, instrument designer, and writer who makes devices and music that combine sonic elements of noise, free improvisation, and experimental electroacoustic music.

Gaston’s creative work explores temporal perception—memory, preconception, time travel, and the concept of the “present”—by using chaotic, unpredictable electronic structures as the conceptual basis for both electronic instruments and musical compositions. His writing focuses on the history and techniques of experimental electronic music and electronic musical instrument design, with a special focus on American west coast trends in the second half of the 20th century.

Gaston holds an MFA in Music Composition and Experimental Sound Practices from the California Institute of the Arts (2016) as well as a BA in Music Composition from Hendrix College (2012). His writing and instruments have been featured at the New Interfaces for Musical Expression conference, the Canadian Electroacoustic Community’s eContact!, the Southern California Institute of Architecture’s Offramp, the CalArts Digital Arts Expo, and elsewhere. He is the editor of and frequent contributor to Signal, an online publication managed by California-based electronic musical instrument retailer Perfect Circuit.

John Gibson – An Easy Introduction to Max using Auzzie

Anyone teaching Max knows the challenges: some students struggle with programming concepts, some are frustrated that the sounds they’re able to make do not seem worth the pain of learning the objects and patching ideas. Ten years ago, Cycling ’74 recognized this difficulty for Jitter, their video-processing subsystem for Max, and introduced Vizzie, a set of video objects that beginners can learn to combine productively within a half hour. For audio, they offer Berklee’s BEAP, a set of objects designed around a monophonic analog synthesis paradigm. While useful, BEAP’s analog synth orientation presents challenges for some students.

Auzzie, based on the model of Vizzie, lets students produce engaging sound before they know very much about Max patching. A user simply drops modules into their canvas and connects them with audio cables. As with Vizzie, most parameters in Auzzie accept a normalized 0-1 range of values, allowing the use of Vizzie data generators as inputs to Auzzie modules.

Auzzie currently has a limited number of modules, but they cover some of the techniques that are important for students of electroacoustic music to learn, and which are not well represented in most DAWs: pitch-tunable filter banks and resonator banks — for imposing pitch on noisy sounds — as well as granulation and spectral delay. Auzzie also provides several simple polyphonic synthesizers that make up for the lack of implicit polyphony in Max.

I will give a demonstration of Auzzie, discuss the prerequisites for introducing it to an electronic music class, and show my ideas for using Auzzie as a springboard for learning the intricacies of Max. I will also discuss the pros and cons of an opinionated software approach, which Auzzie represents, as compared with the blank slate that Max aspires to be.

John Gibson composes electronic music, which he often combines with instrumental soloists or ensembles. He also creates fixed-media audio and audiovisual works that focus on environmental soundscape. His portrait CD, Traces, is available on the Innova label, along with other recordings on the Centaur, Everglade, Innova, and SEAMUS labels. Audiences across the world have heard his music, in venues including the D-22 punk rock club in Beijing, the Palazzo Pisani in Venice, and the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. Presentations of his electroacoustic music include concerts at the Seoul International Computer Music Festival, the Bourges Synthèse Festival in France, the Brazilian Symposium on Computer Music, the Australasian Computer Music Conference, and many ICMC and SEAMUS conferences. Significant awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Paul Jacobs Memorial Fund Commission from the Tanglewood Music Center, and a residency in the south of France from the Camargo Foundation. He was a Mentoring Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in May 2017. Gibson is associate professor of music and director of the Center for Electronic and Computer Music ( at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

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