Medusa - Programme Note

Medusa was commissioned by the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe to be premiered on the EXPO 2000 in Hannover. The software Genesis, created by ACROE in Grenoble was used for the sound synthesis as well as Common Music by Rick Taube and Common Lisp Music and SND by William Schottstaedt.

The work Medusa uses the software Genesis to create audiovisual physical models. Since Genesis creates its models in the context of the Newton Laws, all its output is in the physical domain. Every sound creates a clear contextual impression: the sounds seem to be without any doubt made with a metal, glass or wooden objectw, the vibrating substance seems to be clearly out of a real existing physical context. Some of the sounds could probably not be distinguished from the sounds recorded from a real object. This makes it easy to put some of these modeled sounds into the context of percussionists with real instruments.
The potential to work with physical models goes beyond the development of timbres. It is possible to add slow vibrating structures to the sound generating structures. The slow vibrating structures performs a musical phrase like a player hitting the sounding vibrating structure while creating an event. With this kind of synthesis the score as well as the timbre is created by the same type of objects. The result is a musical structure with phase modifications of the sounding object giving it a more natural acoustic behavior. But even more this way to create musical material may lead to different phrases and even to a new aesthetic.
In addition to the gestures developed with Genesis, musical phrasing was generatet with algorithmic procedures on the parameter level as well as in signal processing. The same procedures used to create the parameter for signal processing were used to create the score for the percussionist. The percussionists perform a highly virtuous task inside a different expressive domain.
Another stream of sensation was added on top of the performers, the live produced sounds and the tape.The task of the video source is to reflect another virtual imaginative sphere. It is connected to the sounds in the way that it uses simple physical models as well as real footage as a source for further processing. One could see the original visual objects similar to the audio objects as samples which where than modified, with filtering and mixing. To some extend the video is treated in the same way the audio is treated. Finaly it is the score and the players connecting all the different layers to one solid impression.