The Third Collaborator: The Matter in the Music

   “What is this sound?” is what you may be thinking. Is it music? In my opinion, yes. Admittedly this is a very subjective thing to have to answer. Everyone has their own opinions on what music is, noise, and what is neither of those things. When I listen to “music” I like to experience new sounds; not necessarily a representation of a true human performance, although not sounds devoid of human performance on some level either (if that is even possible). While some recorded music is meant to represent a true carbon copy of what a human did at a certain time, this music is a constant stream of iterations based on a human’s input, or multiple human’s input.

 This sound is being generated by a eurorack format modular synthesizer: a collection of boutique voltage generators, manglers, and human control translators. This particular sound was sculpted over the course of days using a set of analog logic computing to decide certain outcomes in the signal path. That is to say, the sound you are hearing is the spirit of this electric animal mulling over what information I have given it. It is an exciting way for me to create music in part because of the way in which collaboration takes place between the creators and the created.

 Anyone who has played an instrument with any proficiency will likely say the same thing regarding beautiful instruments: They can inspire you to create. The eurorack modular takes that concept and allows you to run with it. Most other instruments have been fully realized by other creator(s); this cuts the performer out of the character of the instrument. Good instruments all have a third collaborator, or spirit to inspire you. I cannot think of any instrument, outside of modular synthesis, which allows this type of meta-collaboration between so many earthly and spiritual forces. How much you want to give a voice to this third collaborator is in the control of the performer. In this case, myself as the performer, took a back seat to the electric animal we have created and only gave some rules I wanted her to follow.

 Collaborator #1

 Each module within the instrument is designed and constructed by different engineers and artists. The original design has expected uses, but given the nature of these systems, it is not really known how they will be used within a whole eurorack system. Each module has the imprint of its designer’s creative energy.

 Collaborator #2

 The collector and performer. This is the person who designs the modular instrument as a whole and connects the separate modules and decides on the signal path between them. In this case, this person is me.

 Collaborator #3

This is the spirit that is created once the connections are made. It is a unique and individual spirit. The input from the collector and performer is reflected back through this spirit and alters the decisions of the performer.

 One could also say, there is a fourth collaborator in this sound, and that is the listener. My interpretation of your reaction to these sounds will impact the creation of the next sounds I create. Even science can show, matter itself behaves differently when observed. As AI becomes more omnipresent throughout the creative fields, this collaboration will also expand. All these humans, dancing around the creative fire with the electric animals we have birthed.

# eurorack #modular synthesis #AI music #the third collaborator #electric animals #the musical spirit # #synthesizer

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