Album Notes


The Intermediary

(1981, procedural score)

In this self-generating composition, a live "shadowing" electronic network records, processes and returns the sounds of an improvising performer on an acoustic instrument or voice, creating sounds that can seem to be both "messages" for the performer(s) to act upon and/or reflective "shadows" for the listener(s) of what the performer has already played.

In a truly spontaneous performance, the performer is continually in an intermediate state or situation, where he or she discovers themselves playing things he or she never conceived of before, where something other than conscious intention seems to have taken over. The performer is spontaneously playing and listening and "calculating" (following kinetic impulses, the movement of brief inevitabilities of gesture and phrase, etc.) at the same time.

The live electronic setup amplifies this active music-making for an audience for whom this internalized task of the performer would normally remain completely hidden. The electronics remember (record and sample) the performer's sounds, change them (through a specified network of pitch and amplitude followers and other processors given in the score), and re-introduce the changed sound back into the performance situation - a constant, "intermediate", full feedback state of changing conditions, with the performer both as sender and receiver (as in a dream, waking or sleeping).

For the initial recording, the piece was firstly separated into its component parts rather than recorded in the full setup. A spontaneous improvisation of was recorded in a studio in Geneva, Switzerland, at 4 o'clock in the morning (a time of day guaranteed to find this particular performer especially susceptible to musical and other influences) in the winter of 1980. The shadowing electronics part was realized with an Apple II computer program created by composer Joel Ryan - a series of oscillators created delicate shimmerings and dramatic bass tones. The two parts were then interlaced in the final production studio to create the concert effect mentioned above.
—BGT, March 6, 2002

“Blue” Gene Tyranny: prose, music, piano improvisation and sample-burst electronics.
Joel Ryan: computer afterimages and pre-conditions.

Bösendorfer piano recorded at Aquarius Studios, Geneva, Switzerland.
Jean Ristori, engineer.

Computer and sampling electronics recorded at Inside Track, Oakland , CA.
Joel Ryan and Bob Sheff, engineers.

Mixed at 1750 Arch Studios, Berkeley, CA.
Bob Shumaker, engineer.

An Eric Franck, Peter Gordon, Robert Sheff Production.

Produced by Peter Gordon.

Special Thanks to Philip Perkins.

Design: Patrick Vitacco.

Masters cut by Bill Kipper, Masterdisk Corporation.

© P 1982 “Blue” Gene Tyranny (BMI)
© 1982 Vital Records, Inc.
© 2008 Lovely Music, Ltd.

LCD 1063