I am Dying

hardware:   SGI Indy/IRIX [updated for an Mac OSX]
software:   RTcmix, Mix [updated using max/msp ([rtcmix~])]

This was one of the first "interactive" performance pieces I wrote using RTcmix on an SGI IRIX machine. Terry played it marvelously, even though I did write it in an extremely mandolin-unfriendly key. The piece was premiered at our 1999 Interactive Arts Festival to a sold-out concert in Miller Theater. A subsequent performance at Doug Geer's SPARK Festival of Electronic Music and Art prompted me to port the original interactive code to my OSX laptop. I used Max/MSP and the [rtcmix~] object; it was very easy to do. The code/patch for this piece can be found here.

Sometimes my hour-long commute up the New Jersey Turnpike gives me a chance to think, to listen, to re-center. Sometimes, however, it feels like slow death, especially when Columbia and music academia have been particularly depressing. Such was the case when I wrote I am Dying. My children were at home. I'm not really a New York kinda guy. The rain sounds were recorded outside my house, I think during one of those warm early-October rainstorms we occasionally get in New Jersey. The wind also. Good mood capture. The water was from a fountain my mom gave us for (I think) our anniversary. My then-12-year-old daughter Lian did the vocalizing mixed way in the back towards the end of the piece. The other sounds were recorded during my commute up to Columbia (our old Saturn station-wagon -- I can still recognize the blower and window sounds). Anyone who spent any time at Prentis during the late 1990's will recognize the door sound, and of course the subway. I love the guys who were working on the road under the trestle who started whooping when they saw my microphones.

The version with the 'fake' mandolin doesn't have all of the mandolin part -- some of the muted-string filtering that occurs at the beginning and the ending of the piece aren't there. We have a live recording of Terry playing the piece somewhere, I'll have to find it and put it on-line.