the Higgs whatever - Miller Puckette and Kerry Hagan
Long-time friends, Puckette and Hagan began focused collaborations on academic and musical projects in 2014. Together their duo has performed in North America and Europe. They have introduced novel synthesis algorithms through new performances. Their work explores timbre, spatialization, real-time computer processes, algorithms, interaction design, performance practice, and performance systems.
Miller Puckette
MSP photo credit: Daryl Feehely
Kerry Hagan
KLH photo credit: KLH
Hack Lumps
Hack Lumps, by Kerry Hagan and Miller Puckette, had its first performance at the Electroacoustic Improvisation Summit (EIS), New York City College of Technology, February 24, 2017. In this piece, Puckette is the sound source and Hagan is the real-time composer. Puckette's task is to generate as provocative a trail of sound as he can, which Hagan records and tries to recombine in real time to give it a meaningful musical form after the fact.
Puckette's instrument is a LEAP controller (a cheap off-the-shelf game controller that tracks hand movements) whose output modifies an unstable, largely unpredictable feedback network. Hagan uses an off-the-shelf MIDI controller to parametrize three stochastic granular synthesis processes whose grains are taken from Puckette's output.
Who Was That Timbre I Saw You With?
Using LEAP controllers, 57-tuples of joint locations to millimeter accuracy control synthesis. Considered as a set, this is an entirely inadequate dimensionality to span the complexity of timbre, but is nonetheless much richer than what could be traversed quickly using a Cartesian slider bank. Our approach is based on serendipity and surprise. To remove the possibility of planning and mastery, Puckette and Hagan swap a digit or two so that neither can completely control any one sound. A new synthesis method was designed to produce a wide variety of possible sounds with a certain capacity for chance within some boundaries.
After a conversation about Markov chains, Puckette proposed a new take on stochastic processes: maximally uniform sequences. After experimentation, Puckette and Hagan used the z12 algorithm generating these sequences for sound synthesis. Hagan utilized z12 in three works: Cubic Zirconia, s/d, and plangent/perdu.
Coupled Oscillators
Fascinated with the unpredictability of coupled feedback oscillators, Puckette gave Hagan a dual, coupled-oscillator synthesizer that can span a range of timbres by adjusting a few parameters. Hagan explored the timbral world of the oscillators. She created s/d using these oscillators. Using z12 as a trigger for impulses to activate the oscillators, s/d represents ongoing interchange between concepts and applications.
Lipsody, performed by Juliana Snapper and Miller Puckette, Fiske planetarium, University of Colorado at Boulder, August 6, 2015. An astronomer speculates about the night sky, which talks back to him through a pair of disembodied lips. The lips are chroma-keyed in real time from the face of a performer (who lies supine on the stage) and spatialized into the virtual night sky.
The immersive images were rendered using custom extensions of Pure Data for full-dome projection systems, as part of an ongoing effort to rethink the way audio and image processing are managed in real-time performance environments. This technology will next be shown in late fall 2018 as part of a telematic performance between Montreal and Paris, in which Snapper sings a piece by Philippe Manoury to a live visual accompaniment.
The Third Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Cochin, India
A tribute to Charles Dodge's Speech Songs, from Four Sound Portraits, shown at the third Kochi-Muziris Biennale, 2016-2017. Each Portrait (John Cage, Charles Dodge, Philippe Manoury, Iannis Xenakis) is shown in a separate space and uses both sound and sight to evoke something of the influence that each of the four has had on my own thinking and work.
Charles Dodge realized Speech Songs in 1971-72 at Bell Labs. At the time it was a revolutionary act of music-making in that the poetic language was not 'set to' the music, but was made into the music itself. In those 7 minutes of monaural, 11-kHz. sampled sound, Dodge blazed a trail later followed by artists as diverse as Laurie Anderson, Milton Babbitt, Pauline Oliveros, and Peter Ablinger.
The Dodge tribute speaks through the earpiece of a converted rotary telephone (of the sort that Bell Labs researchers would have been concerned about at the time.) The sound is faint and distorted. It is synthesized in real time on a Raspberry Pi computer, using additive synthesis guided by an analysis of a recorded voice. The spoken text is subjected to a similar repertory of modifications to the ones used in Dodge's original songs.
Publications on Collaborative Projects
Miller Puckette
Puckette, M. 2015. "Maximally uniform sequences from stochastic processes." Online Proceedings, Seamus Conference.
Puckette, M. 2015. "The Sampling Theorem and its Discontents." Keynote Presentation, ICMC 2015.
Puckette, M. 2017. "The Oscillator as a Dynamical System." Proceedings of Korean Electro-Acoustic Music Society's 2017 Annual Conference.
Kerry Hagan
Hagan and Puckette are co-editing a book called Between the Tracks: Analytical Investigations of Non-Canonical Electronic Music currently under review.
Puckette and Hagan at EIS 2017.
November 8-10, 2018: the Higgs whatever at the Electroacoustic Barn Dance, Jacksonville, Florida.
July 12-21, 2018: Residency at MISE-EN_PLACE, Brooklyn, NY.
July 16-22, 2018: Who Was That Timbre I Saw You With?: Performance at NYCEMF 2018.
July 6, 2018: Who Was That Timbre I Saw You With?: Lecture/recital at Timbre is a Many-Splendored Thing, the 2018 McGill Music conference.
June, 2018. NIME, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia: Who Was That Timbre I Saw You With?
December, 2017. Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Hamburg, Germany: s/d.
December, 2017. Hochschule für Musik Angewandte Wissenschaften, Hamburg, Germany: s/d.
October, 2017. Sonologie Discussie Concert, Koninklijk Conservatorium, The Hague, NL: s/d.
April 3, 2017. Ormston House, Limerick, Ireland: Hocket Pagan: A concert of music by Puckette and Hagan including Back Talk (Hagan), Ringbat (Puckette), Hack Lumps (the Higgs whatever), ...of pulses and times... (Hagan), Come at me you fascist loofa faced shitgibbon (Puckette), Tarts and Tripes for Afters (the Higgs whatever).
February 24, 2017. Voorhees Theater, NYC College of Technology, Brooklyn, NY: Hack Lumps.
February 23, 2017. EME, Doudna Fine Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL: s/d.
October, 2016. Electronic Music Midwest, Romeoville, IL: Cubic Zirconia.
September, 2016. ISSTC, Derry, Northern Ireland: s/d.
August, 2016. TIES, Toronto, Canada: Cubic Zirconia.
June, 2016. "peform | listen | compose" Dublin, Ireland: s/d.
September, 2015. ICMC2015. Denton, Texas: s/d.
July, 2015. SMC, Maynooth, Ireland: Cubic Zirconia.
June, 2015. Pd Mini-con. Dublin, Ireland: s/d.
March, 2015. SEAMUS, Blacksburg, VA: Cubic Zirconia.
Miller Puckette
Email: msp(at)ucsd(dot)edu
Kerry Hagan
Email: kerry(dot)hagan(at)ul(dot)ie