THE BIFURCATORS: GANG OF 2
Live recordings of ensemble works for instruments, computers, and other electronics by PHILIP PERKINS and SCOTT FRASER, with guest artists Doug Carroll, Tim Perkis, and Bonnie Barnett
the bifurcators generally use a mix of traditional and electronic instruments, digital signal processors, and computer timing and performance controls to find new links between pre-conceived ideas and serendipitous intuition in their live ensemble works.
Like the soundtrack to a very memorable dream. - OPTION Magazine
THE ROSE WINDOW (12 min.) LIGHT ON A WALL 1. LIGHT (8 min.) 2. DARK (8 min.) A NEW WORK (12:28 min. ) WHITE EAGLES (15:12 min. )
THE ROSE WINDOW (1992, 12 min.)
* Philip Perkins: Computer-controlled synths and sampler, pre-recorded materials, MIDI performance controls, signal processing, electronic noise-makers, radios. * Scott Fraser: Electric and electronic guitars.
The concept for this work arose during several days spent watching the north Rose Window at the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. Inspired by an idea of the window as a vast visual chord, our thought in this work was to take a linear work of art, like a piece of music, and "turn the staff sideways" 90 degrees, thus allowing all the sounds in the work to be available all the time and the composers proceeding by finding new affinities among these materials within an equality of means.
Here more than 30 note-rows are available to the players as triggerable MIDI sequences sent to various electronic instruments, which are also "listening" (via computer software) to both Fraser's guitar and various reflections and refractions of that guitar, and then making complimentary pitches to accompany it. Recorded live to 2 track at Scott Fraser's studio, Los Angeles.
LIGHT ON A WALL (1994, 16 min.) Part 1: LIGHT (8 min.) Part 2: DARK (8 min.)
* Scott Fraser: Electric guitar. * Philip Perkins: Computer-controlled synths and signal processing, MIDI performance controls. * Doug Carroll: Electronic cello. * Tim Perkis: Computer-driven synthesizer.
In LIGHT ON A WALL players try to incorporate ideas of slowness (just this side of motionlessness), inexorability, inevitability, and "sun-time" into their playing. Mental images include the angularity of light hitting the wall, various wall textures as the light plays and cascades over them; shadows and shapes created by the sun on the wall; interruptions in the sunlight (clouds, trees etc.); all of the above but with the ability to speed up and slow down the sun's movement, as in a time-lapse film shot; and the reverie that observing all these phenomena often produces.
Each player has a "shadow instrument", an electronic instrument that listens to his or her note output and responds in a very specific way. The MIDI note stream is first examined by a piece of computer software which has been programmed with a sequence of scales that follow the time line of the work. These scales form "legal" note sets that the shadow instrument will play in that time period. When a player plays one of these notes, the shadow instrument will sound that note also. Notes outside of the current note-set are ignored by the shadow instrument, thus the player decides how much he or she wishes to "go along" with the direction of the work at any given moment.
The note sets change approximately every minute or so, moving from a group of 3 to 9 available notes by the end of each of the two sections. The note groupings are the same for each player, and follow the same progression. In addition, a fourth player (Perkins) plays a software instrument on which the player can choose when to play a note (or chord) but the computer decides which notes of the current "legal" set will be sounded. This version of the piece was recorded live at Paul Dresher's studio in Berkeley, and mixed at Scott Fraser's studio in Los Angeles.
A NEW WORK (1992, 12:28 min.)
* Philip Perkins: Computer-controlled synths and sampler, pre- recorded materials, MIDI performance controls, signal processing, electronic noise-makers, radios, mix, script. * Scott Fraser: Electronic noise-makers, signal processing, electronic guitar, edit. * Bonnie Barnett: Voice (pre-recorded).
A NEW WORK was presented as a live improvised performance transmitted over telephone lines from Philip Perkins' studio in Albany, CA to The Electronic Cafe International in Santa Monica, CA on January 11th, 1992. The audio was designed to accompany a slow-scan video/computer graphic work performed live by Tim Perkis and transmitted to Santa Monica at the same time. A script was read and recorded by Bonnie Barnett, and this recording became the audio that drove a system of synths, samplers, and other electronic devices under computer control in a highly interactive and fairly unpredictable manner. This version of A NEW WORK is an edit of the original 45 minute live broadcast. The original performance was co-produced by Kit Galloway.
WHITE EAGLES (1993, 15:12 min)
* Scott Fraser: Electric and electronic guitars. * Philip Perkins: MIDI performance controls, synths and sampler, pre-recorded materials, bowed electric bass.
WHITE EAGLES is as simple and direct a memorial to the Bosnian War dead as we could muster. The work is intended to be dark and elegiac, with perhaps a trace of hope within the bitterness. We wanted the piece to be a lamentation for the work and victims of "irregular" bands the world over, but in the end we were overwhelmed by the images of the destruction of Sarajevo and her sister cities-these were the pictures that were in our minds as we performed. The title of the piece is the name of one particularly brutal Serbian "ethnic cleansing" unit. Recorded live to 2 track at Scott Fraser's studio, Los Angeles. The work is in three sections, separated by short silences. _________________________________________________________________
Composed, realized, produced and engineered by The Bifurcators. Architecture BMI & PhilipPerkinsMusic BMI. Philip Perkins & Scott Fraser 1995
Extreme thanks to Doug Carroll and Tim Perkis for their contributions to LIGHT ON A WALL and to Bonnie Barnett for her contributions to A NEW WORK.
Lots o' thanks also to Nancy, Liz, Zach, Roxie and Edison.
Most of the works on this CD would have been impossible to realize without the computer program MAX by Miller Puckette and David Zicarelli, and the Bifurcators thank them for it.
Numerous other albums by Scott Fraser and Philip Perkins are available from:
Fun Music 735 Spokane Avenue Albany, California 94706 USA
PHILIP PERKINS has been involved in experimental music since the mid-1960's and has performed or collaborated with all manner of musicians, filmmakers, bands, ensembles and dance companies including "Blue" Gene Tyranny, The Residents, The Hub, Rotodoti, Bonnie Barnett, Carl Stone, John Bischoff, Doug Carroll and Tim Perkis. He has released 12 albums of his own work on the FUN MUSIC label, and is currently working with Scott Fraser as The Bifurctors, with a new CD just out on the Artifact label: GANG OF TWO.
In the 1970's Perkins made several award-winning short films and collaborated with Scott Fraser on several more. His own works tread the line between music and "sound art" and often explore relationships between the pre-determined and the serendipitous in computer-driven electronic music. Perkins works as a motion-picture sound designer/sound supervisor (member, Cinema Audio Society) and was nominated for an Emmy twice for the sound track of the WONDERS OF NATURE series on the Disney Channel. He has worked on numerous feature and documentary productions mixing both production and post-production sound as well as designing sound effects. At present he and Scott Fraser (The Bifurcators) are preparing a solo piano-plus-interactive computer-driven accompaniment work for piano virtuoso/composer "Blue" Gene Tyranny.
SCOTT FRASER has played amplified and electronic instruments since 1966 and began composing on audio tape in 1972. His pieces utilize 'musique concrete' techniques combined with acoustic instruments and analog and digital synthesis, while recent work concentrates on extending the tonal vocabulary of the electric guitar. He has released three solo albums on the Fun Music label and performed numerous concerts in addition to composing for theatre, dance, poetry and film. As a free-lance sound designer/producer/mixer he has recorded over one hundred albums of classical, folk, jazz and avant-garde music and has mixed over a thousand concerts during extensive national and international touring. He is currently touring as audio engineer with the Kronos Quartet. ScotFraser@aol.com
[jim horton, editor of these history files, disagrees with the early 90s anti-serb propaganda media campaign run by the cia and its allies in the balkans.]