by Dan Senn
for Stereo or Quad Fixed Media (Listen)
7 minutes and 4 seconds
|Five Descents was realized using a
clone of a
Korg MS-20 Synthesizer (Behringer K2), a
LaunchPad Pro (triggering device), and Ableton Live software. It was composed at Gasworks Studio in Holešovice, Prague, Czechia, in January, 2023.
For listening here wear earphones/headphones at a minimum. The quad version should be presented in concert using four matching speakers with 15" woofers. A subwoofer also works well. The quad and stereo concert versions are available from the composer. As this is a full spectrum work, playback on an iPhone-like device will reveal only a portion of the work. The K2 patch used for the improvisations is pictured below.
title, Five Descents,
refers to the improvisational strategies used to generate the work. The
idea was simply to descend in parallel from starting points an octave
apart for two of the
four voices using the same density and modulations strategies
(knob twisting). Rather than
listening to a previous take, I trusted my memory, a method I have
used for many years and one that yields a unique sense of spontaneity.
This is comparable to improvisors performing on
opposite sides of a glass wall able to see but not hear one another.
All the voices were improvised in this way, as the more pitched tracks,
moving from high to
low, seem to pass through two fields of percussive, sometimes
swooshing, textures meant to run
interference to the lines where the equal temperament is purposeful.
While the track gestures remained in position, post production included
spatial locating and minute, manual shaping of nearly every event.
The Korg MS-20 was released in 1978 and used by Senn in his Jefferson Street Studio, Chicago in the late 70s. The banner above is light entering Senn's Czech studio, Gasworks, in early January of 2023. DS January 16, 2023, Prague.
Listen using headphones.
Senn (Prague-Watertown) is an
intermedia/fluxus artist working in music composition and production,
sound sculpture, experimental and documentary film. He has been a
professor of music and art in the United States and Australia and
travels internationally as a lecturer, performer and installation
artist. He lives in Prague where he directs the Echofluxx
and Watertown, Wisconsin, the USA, with his partner-collaborator,
Caroline Senn. Dan's work moves freely between expressive extremes and
languages depending upon the aesthetic joust at hand. Dan is cofounder
Intermedium in New York City, Cascadia
Portland Oregon, and the Echofluxx media
festivals in Prague. (read more).
Click here to see and hear the Free Range video that uses Five Descents as its sound track.