Live Processed Audio
Joel Matthys

The music we make is intimately tied to our bodies. Rhythm is an expression of our heartbeat; melody comes from our voices; phrases are born of our breath. But a computer has neither heart nor lungs. Left to it’s own devices, what kind of music would the computer make?

All of the sounds in this piece are generated live by the computer, without input or control from a human operator. There are no predetermined rhythms, or pitches, or timbres. The computer listens to its own body, through contact microphones on its case. The input sound is analyzed, filtered, and arranged into gestures according to timbral and dynamic similarities.

The computer is placed in a plexiglass box to shield it from the sounds of its environment. It has only its own “body” to listen to, though if you tap on the box, you’ll certainly discover that it hears you.

Will intelligent computers make music that sounds like this?