for live computer music systems

David Dunn
1999- 2000

to the memory of David Tudor

Pleroma 1-3 are a series of extended realtime multi-channel electroacoustic performances and installations for live computer. They explore the global behavior of hyper-chaotic analog circuits modeled in the digital domain (Reaktor software program). These circuits exhibit an immense range of sonic behavior, all generated from the equivalent of three sine-wave oscillators linked together in a feedback path that exhibits two of the essential traits of a chaotic system, nonlinearity and high sensitivity to initial conditions. The emergent complexity results from the dynamical attributes of cross-coupled chaotic states interacting in a multi-dimensional phase space. My role as composer/performer of this "chaos" instrument is to explore various regions of these behaviors in a manner analogous to the exploration of a physical terrain. While I can influence the complex sonic behaviors, I cannot control them beyond a certain level of mere perturbation, the amount of which is constantly changing. The experience is often tantamount to surfing the edge of a tide of sound that has its own intrinsic momentum.

The compositions are to be regarded as improvisatory in structure but based upon a prescribed set of zones where particular chaotic behaviors reside. The opening and closing of virtual switches determines various combinations of structural coupling between distinct chaotic circuits, allowing different self-organizing behaviors to arise. The composition is a charting of transitions between these different zones of behavior that arise from a fundamental generative structure and its behavioral diversity, much like a genetic code.

Pleroma 1 (live computer and four channel audio playback system)

Pleroma 2 (live computer and four channel audio playback system)

Pleroma 3 (live computer and 12 channel audio playback system)

The performance versions can be any duration between a minimum of 20 minutes and a maximum of 40 minutes. Installation versions are for extended time periods.

My fascination for these sounds has less to do with the underlying mathematics, or the current fashion of applying complexity science to music, than with the similarity these sounds have to natural sound environments where the same dynamical properties might be operating. These sounds excite me because they are so physically reminiscent of the global sound behaviors that emerge from natural habitats such as swamps, forests and oceans.


Pleroma 3 Installation View

Pleroma 3 Screen Shot of Primary Circuit

Pleroma 3 Screen Shot of Software Control Interface


The following mp3 sound samples are binaural recordings intended to be auditioned with stereo headphones:

Pleroma 3 (sample 1)

Pleroma 3 (sample 2)

Pleroma 3 (sample 3)

Pleroma 3 (sample 4)

Pleroma 3 (sample 5)

Pleroma 3 (sample 6)

Pleroma 3 (sample 7)

Pleroma 3 (sample 8)