Rarefactions – 2008


Rarefactions was composed between July of 2007 and February of 2008. Since the point at which the composition of a piece of music begins has become blurred in Rhoades’ work, collaborative credit is due three people with regard to the production of this CD. Kevin (mad scientist/inventor) Loughin, Tom Castonzo (infamous jazz guitarist/composer) and Jeffrey Green (genius in the making, cellist/composer) were all instrumental in the composition of Rarefactions.In more traditionally created music, a composer creates a score in one form or another and then instrumentalists render an interpretation of it. In Rhoades’ compositional process, the basic creation of the sounds (or instruments) to be used is begun at an ìquantumî level. The structure of a sound on a micro level dictates the form of the piece on a macro level. This could be compared to the way the initial shape of a fractal image dictates the shapes of the image on both larger (macro) and smaller (micro) levels.

In Track 2, Tunnel Maze, samples collected by Loughin were utilized. Loughin was inspired/obsessed with the notion of designing and building a pair of in-ear microphones so he could record captivating sounds he continuously runs across in the same way that his ears experience them. In addition to several other amazing recordings he has made in natural settings, Kevin recorded three samples that were utilized for this composition. In Ouabache State Park, near Bluffton Indiana, there is a large overflow culvert that drains the lake. Inspired by the unusual way that sounds act inside the culvert, he recorded three samples used for Tunnel Maze. They were of Loughin hitting two large rocks together, scraping his hand among the smaller rocks that had collected on the floor of the culvert and of him humming a mantra-like tone. The resultant tones were startling in their uniqueness and formed a solid basis for Tunnel Maze.

Tracks 8, 9 and 10, Rarefactions, includes sounds recorded by Loughin of a hard drive platter he had extracted from a bad hard drive, spinning on a surface and being hit by several objects and that of a ball bearing being bounced on a surface. In addition, three jazz guitar chords, with effects, played and recorded by the amazing Tom Castonzo, were utilized.

In tracks 4, 5, 6 and 7, The Washing, incredible cello improvisations by Jeffrey Green were used as the basis for the composition. Green, Rhoades and a portion of cheap Kentucky Bourbon combined to create the work. Initially Rhoades suggested a set of very general constraints for Green to improvise within playing his acoustic cello. Green is highly developed in the area of playing microtonal and overtone specific works. So it is important for the listener to understand that what might normally be considered errors in intonation and harmonicity are very deliberately being presented by Green. His manipulation of these elements was masterful in the initial set of 6 improvisations. After recording them, Rhoades took the improvisations to his studio, The Perception Factory, and over a 30 hour mastering marathon, cast them into a viable form. Rhoades early on in the process decided to leave the compositions as true to the raw original performance as possible so the computer generated aspects are subtle. Indeed, in retrospect, neither the composer nor the instrumentalist can comprehend where playing ends and computer begins. Just the way it should be.

In addition to the contributions made by his collaborators, Rhoades created many original samples for this CD utilizing Metasynth, AbSynth and Csound. After extreme editing, all the samples were brought into his process of score synthesis, ìScore Based Samplingî. (To find out more about Score Based Sampling, click on the Azimuth Paper link above. There you will find an interactive tutorial on the subject.) Csound and Cmask, a stochastic event generator for Csound scores, were used to create the final compositions.

Track One:
The Multiplicity Purge     
Track Two:
Tunnel Maze     
Track Three:
Track Four:
The Washing - 1st Mvmt     
Track Five:
The Washing - 2nd Mvmt     
Track Six:
The Washing - 3rd Mvmt     
Track Seven:
The Washing - 4th Mvmt     
Track Eight:
Rarefactions - 1st Mvmt     
Track Nine:
Rarefactions - 2nd Mvmt     
Track Ten:
Rarefactions - 3rd Mvmt     

Comments are closed.