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1.
metastable 07:51
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3.
4.
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contexture 1 04:20
6.
contexture 2 02:11
7.
contexture 3 05:06
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about

"The machine milieu project consists of two autonomous dynamical systems, independently developed and designed to interact between them through the environment. In bio-cybernetic terms, the two are situated signal processing networks "structurally coupled" through the medium of sound only. Sound is the interface. By influencing (driving, supporting, inhibiting) each other’s behaviour, each system also acts back upon itself, but through the other and the local room acoustics. Accordingly, the project leaves aside a notion of networked computer music and simplistic views of “interaction” (based on purely symbolic representations, i.e. “data”) and rather creates a hybrid assemblage where both performers and machines lean on the shared sound environment as a medium of energetic and informational exchange (communication), thus as a source of real-time situated musical behaviour.
For some of the tracks included here, we took a rather common approach: each of us was frequently interfering in his own system setup’s operation, either via the computer screen-based interface or by manipulating analog and mechanical components of the complete setup (microphones, piezo-discs, studio speakers, small acoustic resonators, etc). However, sound events born of one system would become materials for – and context to – sound events emerging from the other. Given the inherent complex system dynamics, that actually resulted more in a kind of quartet than a duo: an ensemble with two human performers and two machines (the latter claiming their autonomy more often than not)...
We also explored two further approaches. In the first one, we limited ourselves to contrast the machines in their autonomous process, in an attempt to force them to reach a somewhat stable state, heard as a prolonged sonic texture of a kind (maybe internally articulated, and occasionally punctuated by unexpected events). This was like trying to introduce and manage a kind of negative feedback in the overall system setup: the artefacts and traces left behind by this very difficult (almost impossible) task are clearly audible in the actual unfolding of the performance.
Finally, we tried with minimal (if any) intervention on our side, letting the two systems proceed unsupervised for several minutes. Taken as a larger system unit, the two gave rise to sounding situations they would never achieve when operating as separate systems in separate contexts. We would set the initial working conditions (physical positions in space, specific sound signals routing, specific computing parameters) and let things go as long as satisfying sonic behaviours seemed to emerge; when the process’ inherent potential seemed to be exhausted, we changed minor details, thus actually setting new operating conditions, and allowing for new sound shapes and textures to emerge (we would keep going like that until we felt the process was providing interesting results).
Some of the tracks included here may be considered as extensions or variations of Agostino Di Scipio's Audible Ecosystemics works – particularly Background Noise Study and Feedback Study (2003-2005), beside recent works with modified musical instruments. Other tracks build more on Dario Sanfilippo’s Audible Icarus project (2012-2018) and the Single-Fader Versatility project (2013-2019). The opening track, Metastable, exposes the rather quiet background noise heard in the surroundings of Agostino's place (with windows open wide): the local ambience is let feed the complete system setup in the simplest self-regulating feedback configuration. Ideally, it “situates” and grounds the listening to the rest of the tracks." --Agostino Di Scipio & Dario Sanfilippo

credits

releases July 2, 2021

agostino di scipio
audio programming, DSP, microphones, miniature microphones, piezo discs, speakers, mixer, carton pipes, mouth, and glottis.
dario sanfilippo
audio programming, DSP, microphones, speakers, mixer, and carton pipes.

Recorded in June 2014 and November 2015 in L'Aquila. Minor sound editing in December 2015 in Edinburgh and April 2016 in L'Aquila.

Graphics: Alessia Sferrazza.

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Toxo Records Naples, Italy

Toxo Records is an independent tag team based in Naples, Italy. It's one of the hypostatisations of Neapolitan music life, and hosts works by musicians who feed it through sounds, thoughts, energies and collaborations.

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