Maps – Holland Hopson
An 18th Century Anglican hymn filtered through the 19th century Sacred Harp Songbook and a 20th century computer
- Keep the Changes
Riffing in real-time with a responsive computer program
“Music that is never exactly the same and never exactly something else.” – Paul Verlaine
- Yellow Mama
On April 22, 1988, John Evans was executed in the electric chair at Holman Prison in Atmore, Alabama. The botched execution took 3 jolts of power and lasted 14 minutes. Flames erupted from the electrodes attached to Evans’ leg; smoke and sparks came out of Evans’ hood. Prisoners on Alabama’s death row have nicknamed the garishly painted electric chair Yellow Mama.
- Gone to Tuscaloosa
The town of Tuscaloosa takes its name from Chief Tuscalossa of the Mobile trive, first encountered by DeSoto in 1540. This tribe was closely related to the Choctaw people of western Alabama and eastern Mississippi whose music was studied by Frances Densmore in 1933. Included in Gone to Tuscaloosa is “Rabbit in the Garden” as transcribed by Ms. Densmore who notes that the song is a version of a German folk song learned by the Choctaw from European settlers. I became fascinated by this schizophrenic song–wondering how it changed as it passed through various cultures and languages, how it may have been corrupted further by Densmore’s authoritative, but inevitably inacurrate, transcription. For many years Tuscaloosa was the site of Alabama’s largest mental health hospital, and the phrase “gone to Tuscaloosa” became a euphemism for insanity. This piece represents my first use of fuzzy logic for interactive computer music. Fuzzy logic ameliorates the computer’s deterministic, binary structure, making room for ambiguous concepts like ‘almost’ and ‘somewhat.’ With fuzzy logic we need not be either completely sane or insane–we may be ‘just a little touched.’
- Still Moving
A midnight visit by the ghost of Billie Holiday to a bamboo hut in Thailand.