SYNOPSIS - All compositions on this release have their origin in improvisations performed on nylon-string guitars.
In the work from 1975 through 1984, modification of the pure timbre of the guitar is achieved through the use of amplifiers, analog effects boxes, and objects used to 'prepare' the instrument. These objects included a paper clip interleaved through the strings at the bridge, an 1887 silver dollar used in striking the strings, and in one case, an A440 tuning fork moved across the guitar top. Digital delay and 'tape loop' effects are also used in two pieces from 1984. Compositions dating from 1988 to 1997 are created with a nylon-string MIDI guitar as an instrumental basis, and make extensive use of computer-based electronic MIDI sequencing.
The most recent piece is produced by software which works with a knowledge-base of musical experience derived from its analysis of several guitar improvisations. The actual sounds are created by MIDI tone generators 'programmed' by the software itself.
* electric nylon-string guitars
* amplified sitar
* realtime powerbook based MIDI and sound synthesis algorithms
* original computer software, written in HMSL/HForth
ROBERT SPALDING NEWCOMB - An artist people consistently find difficult to categorize, especially in a music scene as diverse and challenging as the one in his hometown, Ann Arbor, MI. A composer, multi-instrumentalist, computer programmer, theorist, writer, and poet, who combines elements of numerous musical disciplines and cultural domains into a performance style that is truly a unique matrix of energies. Creative explorations focus on the study of musical and linguistic structure, complex systems, cognition, transcendent states, and improvisational performance.
Aesthetic niches, adjectives, labels and comments from audiences describing the solo concerts: ...a riveting performance, intense, profound, challenging, minimal, magical, just amazing, avant garde, free improvisation, experimental, spontaneous composition, technical but not techno, computer music, raga-like, mystical, a meditation, an original paradigm, computer algorithms, new forms, razor edge guitar solos, meditative sitar improvisations, compelling poetry/spoken word, and most often, 'unlike anything else.'
Newcomb has immersed himself in a wide range of musical exploration including traditional folk and blues traditions of the British Isles and the US, classical guitar technique, jazz theory, improvisation, composition, digital audio, computer music programming, advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, and Indian Classical Music.
He has toured India (2005) as a guest of the US Embassy. He has published his compositional theories and described his unique music software in the Cambridge University Press (UK) journal, 'Organised Sound' (1998). He has produced six self-published albums of original music (1986, 1991, 2000, 2004, 2007, 2008) . He has designed and implemented complex computer systems for the New York Stock Exchange, Chemical Bank, and Manufacturers Hanover Trust/Prodigy in New York City (1983-1989). His computer music has been featured in electronic music festivals and conferences worldwide (1993-1999). He has been commissioned to compose music for dance, yoga and carillon. From 1995-1998, Newcomb was Computer Systems Consultant for the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance; from 1998-2007, Director of Information Technology; and is currently Program Manager for Business Information and Network Security.