Saturday, July 8, 2023

New music: "Equations of Motion"

I released a new album of music! Get "Equations of Motion" on Bandcamp here. Also available on SpotifyApple Music and other music services.


Ilam Stone reaches kinetic integration with Wizard Peter in a journey from computer security through consciousness and meaningness to the absurd. Glitchy beats, twangy guitar lines and expansive synthesizer parts fill this instrumental album. 

(Who is Wizard Peter? Find out more at wizardpeter.com.)

Divide by Zero-Day 

The album opens with this rock song that connects distorted guitars with an almost-normal drum sequence that occasionally drops into glitch territory. The dread Zero-Day bug is one where developers have had no time to fix a computer security bug. Dividing by zero is mathematically not possible, so what should a computer (or human!) do when exactly that is requested? A whole universe might become of a divide-by-zero singularity!

Stranger Loops 

This piece started as a simple loop synthesized by the Make Noise DPO eurorack module. Then I added polychords on top of that. Douglas Hofstadter wrote a book called I Am a Strange Loop which has the thesis that consciousness (the "I") is the result of a loop between different levels of representation: 
In the end, we self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages are little miracles of self-reference. (p. 363)
If I am a strange loop, then what of the person who I do not know, the stranger? Perhaps they are a "stranger" loop. And what of the "I" who reaches the conclusion "I am weird," the person who is themselves stranger than most. Also, perhaps, a "stranger loop."

Equations of Motion

The initial conditions and the equations of motion are enough to determine any future state in a billiard-ball universe. The Classical-Modernist-Reductionist view assumes this kind of determinacy for the world. Glitchy drums meet glitchy guitar and insane electronic percussion, trying to find the escape hatch into the flow of one of the possible wonderful Post-Modernities. 

Over 16 year ago, when I first heard Year Zero, I hardened my resolve to learn digital signal processing. "Equations of Motion" is not the only song on this album that draws inspiration from the final section of "The Great Destroyer."

80s Future

This piece is set in a deliberately misremembered past where we dream of an impossible mashup of unreal futures. Some neon dream that paradoxically includes a digeridoo that, in actuality, I found cracked at a Fair Trade blowout sale. What is this nostalgia that makes us imagine our desires for the future as if they were true conditions of the past? We are so Ć¼ber spun-around that time has become two dimensional. After the track itself, a secret track, too small to have a real name: a modular synthesizer solo. Perhaps another yet-to-be disguised as old. The working title of the coda was "...", the symbol of ellipsis.

Infinite Plane of Existence

Imagine the Platonic idea of an infinite 2D plane, where physics textbook examples can safely assume a frictionless surface: this is a type of nihilism where the fractal nature of reality is deleted for sheer convenience. This piece features twangy guitar reminiscent of Western movie soundtracks. Image a man with no name, but on the desert of an infinite plane.

Shadowork

This song began on the Octatrack, and partially for that reason, it came to be a part of Wizard Peter's live set at the New England Synth Fest in 2022. The song is about eating the shadow: the difficult and unpleasant work of finding better integrations for "problematic" aspects of oneself.

Gigglecore

This is another song that started on the Octatrack. It has samples of laughter and birdsong plus the industrial music bass and drums.

Venus Moons

Venus Moons started as a Pure Data reverb patch that grew out of Miller Puckette's example patch based on the part of the Ursa Major Space Station algorithm. A chain of free word association went something like this:

The reverb in this song is an instrument and the piece ends with a continuously droning reverb tail. This reverb tail crossfades into the final track, Visions. 

Visions

Visions is another piece composed on the modular that ignores several of the usual aspects of musical composition (like, pulse). It's absurd.  

But "absurd" no longer holds the force it once used to. When people were possessed by a grand unified system of meaning, a work of art could lie outside that system -- rendering that work meaningless, absurd. But today, society comprises of ever growing constellations of meaning systems, such that "outside the system" is actually merely "inside a different system." Therefore, the word "absurd" is now a puny reverberation of what it once was. "Absurd" has been reduced to "mirthful." 

Visions is a psychological journey, closer to a Charismatic spiritual vision than a Native American vision quest. It has no hard beginning. It's a dream; we appear in the middle with a beginning only implied by the hard assumption of causation. The ending comes with a big transient, the jolt awake. Then only echos of the dream remain, and then only briefly before all is forgotten.

As the final song, so the album. After the musically induced trance, silence returns, or the next track on the streaming service plays, or... 

The journey is complete. 

CREDITS

Composition, production & mixing by Peter Raffensperger aka Wizard Peter

Mastered by Bob Familiar at Sound Familiar Studios

The album art is a remix of a figure from "PhilosophiƦ Naturalis Principia Mathematica" by Isaac Newton.