Frog Peak Music & the Main Street Museum


Tim Kreger

January 19, 1999 7:30 p.m.

Hartford Village, Vermont


Crystal Sea

110th Street

Agents in Time

Sky Men Returneth

Assault II

Owen Grace & Mike Frengel, percussion

All compositions by Tim Kreger.

Crystal Sea is an exploration of my relationship with the ocean and water. Spectral features bubble and swirl in and out of consciousness as the waves ebb and flow through space. The tide is the only cycle. This work is produced via the spectral manipulation of a cymbal sample, all sounds in the piece are produced from this sample.

110th Street gets it name from the sample used to create the work, it is the opening two bars of the Bobby Womack song, "Across 110th Street." Apart from that, the name has no real significance to the piece itself. Four versions of the original sample are played back at constantly changing speeds and lengths simultaneously. The output of this process is fed into a time varying spectral filter which is controlled by an artificial life algorithm known as a "cellular automata." The performer only has control over the parameter set of the automata, meaning that all gestures are a result of the interaction of the filter algorithm and the playback score. This enables the composer to write an incomprehensible descriptive paragraph containing many computer music buzz-words.

Agents in Time is a work inspired by the Greg Egan novel "Permutation City" in which humans transfer their mind-body experience into a computer and run it as a simulation in order to cheat death. The "copies" evolve along their own time path in parallel with their human original although at a much slower rate. Four delay lines are used to take real-time "copies" of the guitar player, each repeats at slightly different rates. The resultant loops are constantly changing their relationship to one another, creating new and slowly evolving musical patterns that the player can respond to. The player’s output is always being fed back into the process so his actions also contribute the musical evolution. The future patterns rely on the current actions of the player, which are a consequence of past decisions. This means mistakes must also become part of the musical landscape and play a part in the evolution of the work.

Sky Men Returneth is dedicated to Larry Polansky who I believe truly does believe!!!! Don’t ask and you won’t be disappointed. Any narrative is purely coincidence. All connections exist only in your head. There is one underlying theme but it’s inconsequential. I have very little control over this work, the samples are constantly moving and I have to try to find them and very rarely do. No two works will ever be the same. The machine spews forth data which we use to establish our own patterns, meanings, subtext, narrative, fear, hate, love, etc.

Assault II is a new composition using an idea from an older piece of mine using same instrumentation. It uses the same cellular automaton from 110th Street but in a slightly different fashion. Filtering white noise with the algorithm makes the tape part. The drum parts are made using the algorithm to decide on whether a pulse in a 16 note pattern should be played or not. The players alternate between playing the seed pattern and the evolving pattern. It’s that simple!

About the artist

Tim Kreger was born in Sydney, Australia in 1967. He studied composition with Larry Sitsky and David Worrall at the Canberra School of Music, Australian National University and received a Bachelor of Music (composition) degree in 1990. He works as Lecturer in Computer Music at the Australian Centre for the Arts and Technology, Australian National University. He is currently visiting artist at the Bregman Electronic Music Studios, Dartmouth College.