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GEOGLYPHS
1999–2006 45:30 8
       
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After having composed Torso (which was an attempt to apply Depths of Field-like strategies to recorded sound material on a computer), I turned back to the voltage controlled studio. I wanted to see to what extent it would be possible to use the technique of so-called tendency masking while making use of analogue equipment. With a tendency mask one controls and vary the upper and lower limits of a random generator's output. It is a technique that is typically found in computer composition (for instance in Gottfried michael Koenig's Projekt 2). Jo Scherpenisse had to design and build special equipment to be able to apply this technique in the analogue studio.

Since the purpose of a tendency mask is to have control over a random signal, it seemed nonsense to define the mask shape itself by chance. Therefore I choose to design a small model that made it possible to systematically permutate the shape of the various masks. This led to 25 different mask shapes that each could occur in 5 different durations. This total of 125 masks was then used to control the sound synthesis for groups A to E in the matrix below. A-1 to E-1 are transformed sound groups, for which some of the transformation's parameters were again controlled by tendency masks (with different shapes). A-2 to E-2 are transformations of the transformed groups. The colours refer to the sections of the piece as presented in the next scheme. The density of the various sections is varied by a parameter that controls the amount of simultaneously sounding groups. The scheme does not show the overlaps between the sections.

When fully worked out this scheme results in a composition of around 45 minutes. In 1999, only 25 minutes were realised with stereo reductions of the 4-channel production material due to technical limitations.
In 2006, the full score was finally worked out in an 8 channel version based on the original 4-channel production tapes.

tendency mask design mask-controlled VoSim matrix with produced sounds sketch for large form
click to play excerpt