Edge of Chaos

an experiment of

There is a mystery at the confluence of science and mind, at the intersection where matter is both a wave and a particle. A place where reality depends on how we observe it — where the structure of the world “out there” may be only an allegory of the strange loops, recursions and self-mirroring that underly it all.

The edge of chaos is an aspect of this quantum potentiality, a point at which physical systems display their greatest complexity — and their greatest capacity for emergence. This project aims to explore that delicate, dynamic realm found at the margins of chaos and order, entropy and expansion, the material and the imagined.

Poised in that narrow band between the repetitive and the unpredictable is music — that peculiar ordering of sound in time — something we experience as different from random noise.

Down there, at the level of quantum strings, it can be said everything is completely sound. Perhaps music is an analogue, an ontological wormhole, a portal into the liminal space between the duality of structure and waves — reaching through the mirror of our consciousness itself and expressing the non-verbal, non-local possibilities of the uniquely human mind.

From strings above, to strings below.

I shall call to mind how music was always celebrated and held sacred among the ancients, and how very sage philosophers were of the opinion that the world is composed of music, that the heavens make harmony in their moving, and that the soul, being ordered in like fashion, awakes and as it were revives its powers through music. — Ludovico da Canossa (1475-1532) in Baldassare Castiglione’s The Courtier, 1528


II. Departure
This is the first composition where my goal of creating emergence is explicit rather than inferred. There are sounds “heard” in the piece that are not programmed or played by an instrument. They are instead created by the interference of the waves, in the mind of the listener, an aural illusion much in the same way the color magenta is visual illusion. The effect is most pronounced in the second half, as the weaving sine waves interact with the “trance choir.” I admit that finding the sweet spot creating the effect was a bit of an accident: I was trying to overcome a timing issue where too much quantization was creating digital artifacts, and too little diluted the “tranciness” of the repeating waveforms. posted January 06, 2023


Forked Samples

In the parlance of computer programming, a fork is a derivation of source code, often taking the original in new directions, and sometimes altering the source in unrecognizable ways. The following artists generously offered their immense talents for some of the source instrumentation and voice used in these works, and I hope I’ve retained the spirit of their artistry. Lara Ausensi, vocalist
Farida Rustamova, violin
Aleksey Igudesman, violin
Alejandro Regueira, viola
Vasily Bystoff, cello
Charlie Clouser, percussion

Physical Modeling

Most of the sounds created in these works are original waveforms constructed on the computer with mathematical models. Building complex waveforms can be difficult and time-consuming. I would like to thank the following artists and sound designers who have created inspirational and foundational constructions from which I was able to fork my own versions. Peter Vorländer (Peter V)
Richard Devine
Laurence Rapaccioli (Arksun)
Alessandro Cardinale
Thiago Pinheiro
Gustavo Brevetti
Joerg Huettner
Marco Iodice
Boxed Ear
Miles Deep

Edge of Chaos

emergence from sound Compositions and performances
© 2022 Drew Harkey

the Luminous Aether

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