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Recursion Constructors

by Richard Devine

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The piece “Recursion Constructors” was a commission for the University of Huddersfield. This particular work was an opportunity to discover how the FluCoMa tools and principles of fluid corpus manipulation can stretch beyond the confines of a creative coding environment, and be utilized in the DAW, and in a modular eurorack synthesizer system.

For this acousmatic piece, my goal ultimately was trying to put people in a space and tell a story using various sonic and textural gestures. The goal was to develop a sonic language, where I have a conversation between me and the instrument. I tried to make the piece feel alive and organic in its flowing movements. Deriving much of the inspiration from Morton Subotnicks earlier works like "Sidewinder" and "Touch" (1969). It’s like a sonic language. I loved Morton Subotnick’s idea of having gestures which are almost like sonic characters.

Recursion Constructors was premiered at the second FluCoMa concert at Dialogues Festival 2021. Due to travel restrictions in place at the time, Devine was unable to attend the event in person. He filmed himself performing his piece ahead of time, and the video was projected onto a large screen on the night. We are immediately enthralled within the complicated hive that is his modular synthesis patch, which is accompanied by a set of intriguing bespoke pieces of percussion. There is a great space within the piece: sounds reverberate around a tastefully constructed chasm. Material staggers from percussive, chaotic, noisy synths and impacts, to low, dirty drones and harmonic pads. The whole system oscillates gesturally from complex, buzzing activity to full suspension – all in a manner that is exceptionally controlled and fluid that seems to be unrestricted by the inherent temporal restrictions modular systems can be bound to.

Over the course of his career, Devine has made use of a wide range of different analogue and digital tools for making music. He was notably a user of Max, however when he came to the project he had begun to move away from the computer towards the world of modular synthesis. He explained that he was “tired of using a mouse all day – it lacked the physical interaction that I loved having with an instrument; [with the modular] you get this instant feedback […] you can get to things so much quicker […] to me, being able to fine tweak everything with your hands, just using your ears without looking at a screen – I’ve been able to find much more interesting sweet spots using this interfacing approach”.

Explore the making of the piece here, with a full video and free MAX/MSP patch examples/samples/Morphagene reels of the making of "Recursion Constructors".



released May 6, 2022


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Richard Devine Atlanta, Georgia

An award-winning sound designer and electronic composer whose sounds are applied to consumer products worldwide that range from smartphones to electric cars and touch on leading-edge areas such as AI and Virtual/Augmented reality environments. He has worked with the likes of Sony, Microsoft, Google, Jaguar, BMW, and Nike. ... more

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