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Pierre Proske - Synchronised Swamp

Program Notes

* Best played in a double-diamond speaker configuration.

Synchronisation is a phenomenon that is expressed throughout the natural world, occurring in the synchronisation of the cells of a body that generate the heart-beat, the periodic flashing of swarms of fire flies, the synchronised propagation of waves in the heart intestine and nervous system, and the synchronised chirping of certain frogs and insects.

Synchronised Swamp was developed using custom software written by the composer to simulate the dynamics of frog and insect choruses using a computer, multi-channel sound output and distributed speaker system. The software plays back 4-16 samples representing a chorusing swamp creature per audio channel. Each sample is then repeated periodically, but keeps in sync by listening to neighbouring channels.

A mathematical model is then used to bring the collectively sounding samples in and out of synchrony. As the sound is distributed through space, it is possible to move through the field of chirps and experience the synchronisation from different perspectives. Different frogs/insects (audio speakers) will tend to couple more strongly with their neighbours, which may produce pockets of synchrony as the population moves towards a common period of calling.

In Synchronised Swamp various configurations of the software program were recorded in multi-channel format and then edited together to form a cohesive piece that emphasised the dynamics of the system.

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