We wanted to write a piece that used lots of electronics (to make it suitable for the “Electronics Showcase” night, of course), and drew on several strains of contemporary music: contemporary classical, contemporary jazz, and contemporary beats.
We started with some piano chords Aaron had been working with, and made everything else in the piece evolve from that initial material. The fuzzy synth tones re-imagine the piano’s motive, sometimes via new voicings, sometimes by playing the original chord tones aleatorically to make unpredictable combinations.
The piano was recorded live at the performance. However, the electronics were almost inaudible on the live recording. To get a good mix, I brought the live piano recording into the Ableton set I performed from and “re-performed” the piece to get all the computer-generated material right from the source. That left me with a muddy piano recording and flawless synth-and-beat accompaniment. So I tried to make the roomy piano sound an asset, running it through a vinyl-record emulator and a phaser. To quote Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, “Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify.”