Conduit (Draft Version)

by Douglas McCausland

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"Conduit" is an intermedia work for augmented double-bass and fifth-order ambisonic electronics which serves as a companion piece to a greater body of work being developed for double-bass and electronics.

In "Conduit", the double-bass serves as source, mediator, space, and anomaly. Conceptually, the installation is constructed through a cross-section of electroacoustic composition, ambisonics sound design, and sculpture. The bass is suspended as a monolith in the center of a high-density speaker array in a darkened space; attached to it are a pair of transducers, and four lengths of thin steel cable which extend out to various points in the space. Sound is passed into the bass via the transducers, which is then transmitted through the tensioned cables to ultimately be picked up by contact microphones at their termination points.

This system ultimately causes the bass itself to serve as a sound source, as a mediator of sound, and as a resonant conduit which extends out into the space via the cables. Meanwhile, all of the sound is then processed and spatialized with Max/MSP into fifth-order ambisonics, which is played through the speaker array. Ultimately, this is then paired compositionally with a layer of fixed-media sound, which was recorded with eight microphones and the assistance of bassist Aleksander Gabryś.

Compositionally, "Conduit" draws on concepts and questions such as embodiment, sound objects from Michel Chion’s "Guide to Sound Objects", and perception / source-bonding from Denis Smalley’s "Defining Timbre - Refining Timbre".


released January 26, 2020


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Douglas McCausland Palo Alto, California

Douglas McCausland is a composer / performer currently based out of the Bay Area in California, USA while pursuing a DMA in Composition at Stanford University.

Fascinated with new aesthetic and technological domains, his chaotic and dense works explore the extremes of sound and the digital medium.
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