Daniel McKemie: Mass

A work loosely based on the form of the Catholic Mass, though not at all non-secular in nature. The piece is intended to be listened to as one movement, though it can be split into as many as nine. The work explores several sampling and synthesis techniques that I developed from 2019-2022. Some of which include:

- Recorded audio sample manipulation, taking excerpts from the classical canon and reorganizing them to fit a musical form.

- Encoding the audio data on a waveform itself by algorithmically constructing multi-dimensional arrays and writing those values as samples of a wave file itself. Something that I opted to call "sample synthesis". This is most inspired by the work of Iannis Xenakis with programs and pieces such as GENDY3 and S.709.

- Taking recorded audio samples and algorithmically rearranging the sample points (as in waveform sample points) to create a new timbre. For example, taking every 3rd sample of a voice loop and randomly reassigning it a new on the waveform of the audio file, then reencoding the wave file itself.

- Generating control voltage and trigger signals for a modular synthesizer using the same algorithms as described above, but instead of an audible waveform, they are constructed at control rate levels to give more steady signals for modulation.

- Generative MIDI processes written in JavaScript, using the Web MIDI API and sending MIDI data to digital hardware synthesizers. This includes taking the MIDI data of score data from Palestrina's choral works, reorganizing them, and recording the output of the synthesizer.

- Building and programming several formant filters in both software and hardware.

The primary sound characteristics can be attached to much of what is described above. The intent of this work was to bind together several musical ideas and skills that I have been exploring since around 2015. The specific technology ranges from using out of the box music software, coded solutions in Python, JavaScript, and C++, Max/MSP, and handmade circuitry. I call it my second major piece after Pneuma for 1-12 Musicians, Tape, Operating Voice in Two Parts [for radio broadcast], completed in 2014.

Daniel McKemie
Brooklyn, NY
August 2022