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Drawn Out Sounds


DRAWN OUT SOUNDS is a frankly experimental composition, exploring what kinds of sound spectrum filling sounds can be made with graphics to sound conversion programs. The software used was Rasmus Ekman's freeware "Coagula 1 Lite," which treats computer graphics as sound spectra according to very specific rules. Red = sine waves in the left channel; Green = sounds in the right channel; Yellow = sounds in the middle. Black = silence. Bottom pixel = lowest specified frequency; Top pixel = highest specified frequency. Left most row of pixels = start time; Right most row of pixels = finish time. Time and frequency are then divided equally among the pixels.

So, for example, is an 8 octave frequency span is specified (40hz - 10,240 hz), and the image is 97 pixels high, the frequencies will be on the pitches of the 12 tone scale. Further, if the image was 100 pixels wide, and the length the user specified was 10 seconds, there would be 10 pixels per second. In this piece, most images used were 1920 x 1920 pixels, meaning a frequency division of approx. 1 harmonic every 5 cents, and all sorts of durations from 97 seconds to 5 seconds were used to get different rhythms of spectral progression in the sounds.

Spectra were drawn in two ways - by hand - filling the spectra with intricately drawn images, , and drawn algorithmically, using a program I wrote in John Dunn's shareware algorithmic program "Kinetic Art Machine." Since Coagula could also allow black and white images to filter spectral diagrams, I drew filters both by hand, and also generated them algorithmically using "Kinetic Art Machine" again. Both filtered and unfiltered versions of the spectra were used in the final piece.

The aim was to make sounds which filled the sonic space in an interesting way. The filtering gave the sounds an additional sense of gestural shape within the density. Unlike most of my music, I want this piece played LOUDLY, in order for the listener to experience 13 minutes of sonic fullness.

The piece was made on a Toshiba Pentium Laptop using the following programs: Coagula Lite 1; Kinetic Art Machine, Cool Edit Pro; and Photoshop.

Warren Burt attended the State University of New York, Albany (BA, 1971) and the University of California, San Diego (MA, 1975) before moving to Australia in 1975.
In Australia he has worked in academia (La Trobe University, NSW Conservatorium, Victorian College of the Arts, Australian National University), education, and radio (freelance and commissioned productions for ABC and PBAA), and as a composer, film maker, video artist, and community arts organizer. His works have been performed and shown in the USA, Australia, Europe and Japan and he has had grants from the Australia Council, the Victorian Ministry for the Arts and the McKnight Foundation (USA), and has been artist in residence with a number of organizations, such as the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization, the Los Angeles based art- science think-tank International Synergy, the Broadcast Music Department of ABC Radio, the Monash University Music Department, the RMIT Department of Fine Arts, and the American Composers Forum.

His work with electronic and computer music is recognized internationally, including 1989 performances at Ars Electronica, Linz; and Steirischer Herbst, Graz; and 1994-95 performances and installations in New Zealand, Australia, the USA, and Germany. His book, "Writings from a Scarlet Aardvark, 15 Articles on Music and Art, 1981-93," was published in 1993 by Frog Peak Music, USA. A second book, "Critical Vices: The Myths of Post-Modern Theory", written in collaboration with Nicholas Zurbrugg, was published in 1999 by Gordon and Breach, New York. Recent CD releases of his work include "39 Dissonant Etudes" (Tall Poppies, Sydney, 1996), and "Recitative-Tracing: On Guns and Cock-Fighting" (on "Winded", Innova, St. Paul, 1998). His electronic composition "La Strega Bianca della Luna II" was selected for inclusion in the 1999 Sonic Circuits International Electronic Music Festival. In 1998 he was an artist-in-residence at the Djerassi Artists Program, California, and he was awarded a 1998-2000 Australia Council Composer's Fellowship.

Currently, he is a freelance composer, and has recently founded the Centre for Studies in Experimental Music and Performance, a Melbourne-based non-academic institution organizing classes, lectures and performances. From January - May 2001 and Jan-May 2002, he was Visiting Professor of Composition at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA.

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