the transparent
tape music festival

Breath and the Machine (1999) 13'27"
Breath and the Machine is a meditation on the ritual of musical sound making, in particular, the performer's sublimated struggle between body and instrument. The piece represents the struggle by focusing on its two most archetypical, counterpoised elements: the gesture of the mortal, breathing, animate body working to initiate sound, against the machine-like constraints of instrumental practice. Through computer manipulations of sound that embody this struggle as well as represent it, the work explores the performerÕs experience of channeling bodily force and air into sublimates of timbre and expression. With the workÕs immersion in technology and simulation, however, the struggle for sound, timbre, and expression takes on a different character -- one that, through its extended domain of sound, marks the virtual performer's alternate path through the timbral real, proposing new readings of this age-old dynamic between body and instrument, breath and the machine. - PK

Paul Koonce (USA, 1956)
studied composition at the University of Illinois, and the University of California, San Diego where he received the PhD in Music. His music focuses upon issues of representation and perception in electroacoustic sound. A software developer as well as a composer, he has explored the invention of computer technologies for the manipulation of sound and timbre, with a particular emphasis on the synthesis of tools for exploring the parallels between musical and environmental sound phenomena. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and McKnight Foundations, and has received awards and commissions from the Luigi Russolo International Competition for Composers of Electronic Music, Prix Ars Electronica Electronic Arts Competition, the Electroacoustic Music Contest of Lao Paulo, the Bourges International Competition, and the International Computer Music Association.

back to program