Hardware-based analog modular synthesizer music.
Composer: Mike Olson
Breathing Voltages is a purely electronic piece of music, which was created in 2014. It uses as it’s source material, sound which has been generated on a combination of old and new analogue modular synthesizer components. I chose this title, because there is a kind of “breathing” character to the music, which is generated through the application of continually varying control voltages articulating long amplitude and filter envelopes. It is also somewhat evocative of wave action.
The piece employs my fragment-based compositional process, wherein discrete musical gestures and textures are recorded and then used as source material for the creation of the finished work in the computer, through the use of extensive audio editing and signal processing. One can hear shades of minimalism in the piece, and it also makes fairly extensive use of chance operations and what one could call controlled randomness, though always refined in the crucible of my own relentless drive to create aesthetically satisfying musical experiences. It is structured in three clear sections, which segue into one another.
This is a piece which celebrates it’s electronic character, and in particular the sound of analog (as opposed to digital) synthesizer timbres. It never tries to evoke the timbres of traditional acoustic instruments. In addition, I would consider this piece to be more on the beautiful side, though my aesthetic dark side does make it’s presence felt from time to time. I was striving to remain somewhat more tonal, at least with most of the primary musical elements. For example, there is a decidedly tonal pentatonic pitch set that is presented as randomly generated melodic material at the heart of the second section.