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The Rosenberg Algorithmic Music Generator: Selected Works, Vol. 2

by Mick Sussman

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about

The Rosenberg Algorithmic Music Generator, software that creates a unique composition with the push of a button, is an evolving, long-term project. In this second volume of its work, Rosenberg shows off new and improved techniques. Its distinctive oddball personality remains.

Listen for refinements to its tuning system, based roughly on Harry Partch’s, and pitch selection, now weighted toward consonance. The tonalities suggest a cheerful major key (“Dumbbell Congregation (Rb. 876)”), or the blues (“Galvanic Carpetbagger (Rb. 827)”), or a vaguely non-Western source (“Wretch Mime (Rb. 864)”).


Rosenberg has new rhythmic tricks: the beats don’t line up perfectly in “Compartmentalized Merrymaker (Rb. 824),” giving it a ragged groove. Irregular tempo shifts in “Nothingness Gesture (Rb. 868)” lend it a meandering fantasia quality.


Volume 2 includes tracks that use a splicing method: Rosenberg creates a draft composition, then cuts and pastes it in a pattern, often with the seams showing. It’s noticeable in the stutter effect in “Slangiest Colonialist (Rb. 815)”.


There are experiments here that treat melodies as points on a grid, with time on the x-axis and pitch on the y-axis, and then apply geometrical operations to them. In “Ethnological Vignette (Rb. 893)”, the melody is flipped symmetrically, alternately horizontally or vertically, at regular intervals.


All that may sound off-puttingly abstract. But Rosenberg’s mission is to translate the cold logic of its code into rollicking, agitated, weird, human music. Enjoy it!

credits

released May 17, 2019

All music: Mick Sussman
Mastered by: Philip White

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