CoincidentScott L. Miller & Zeitgeist

, composer

About

Composer Scott L. Miller releases Coincident, a collection of works exploring the potential of telematic collaboration (musicians playing together via remote technology) and graphic score notation. Featuring performances by Twin Cities based Zeitgeist ensemble and Miller himself on electronics, Coincident is a continuation of Miller's restless creativity in mining the possibilities afforded by innovations in technology in music.

Audio

Coincident (the work) is a telematic, multi-episode, audio visual collaboration with new music ensemble Zeitgeist (Heather Barringer, Patti Cudd, Pat O’Keefe, Nikki Melville), video/installation artist Carole Kim, spoken word artist Joseph Horton, and Cara Tweed and Nicholas Diodore from the ensemble No Exit. Coincident was commissioned by Zeitgeist in May 2020, the first work produced as part of Zeitgeist’s DECADE FIVE commissioning series. Coincident was developed, recorded, and released episodically over the course of 2021. The development process led down different paths, forks along a trail of artistic inquiry informed by the central themes of communication, isolation, and distance, themes that guided the exploration of different technical and aesthetic strategies for telematic collaborative creation.

Each artist participating in the creation of Coincident (both the composition and the album) performed from their home studio, connected by software that preserves audio quality while reducing latency (time lag due to the internet connection and distances the sound must travel). Because latency is reduced, but not eliminated, the music on this album embraces asynchronicity; individual events can occur at different relative times without compromising the musical idea.

Read More

Miller was first inspired in his approach by the sci-fi genre of space opera; epic, galaxy or universe spanning stories that necessarily involve long periods of isolation, unfathomably long distances, asynchronous communication and latency, all impacted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The fact that there’s a universal speed limit—the speed of light—means that at best we merely have the perception of instantaneous, synchronous communication. At a certain point it is largely coincidental. Introduce enough latency by inserting enough distance between transmitter and receiver and the perception of synchronicity collapses. The connection to our situation in 2020 was obvious with collaborating members across 21 time zones in California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, and New Zealand.

A key part of the creative process in Coincident was finding strategies addressing the technical challenges of latency and potentially glitchy audio. Miller employs musical processes allowing individual performers to produce music based on local information, free from typical synchronous expectations, and coordinates performances with shared events that can’t be synchronously experienced. These strategies use ancient approaches to process music; by seeking inspiration from imitative and contrapuntal traditions, Miller creates a polyphony of truly independent voices mediated by a latent/asynchronous communication system.

He works with timbral material that masks or is sonically-adjacent to the glitches and distortions inherent in audio signals transmitted over the internet, and programs synthesis and digital signal processing designed to fail over time through use. And his scores are realized in graphic notation and as animated music, incorporating collective improvisation to varying degrees, from tightly controlled to structurally free.

Several of the compositions on the album are not part of the Coincident project, but were developed alongside and in artistic conversation with it. These coincidental works include pieces from two graphic score collections, Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 (tracks 3, 5, & 7). hARvest is notated as an animated graphic score visible via augmented reality, geolocated on the Barringer Family Farm in Wisconsin for its premiere. A corresponding smartphone app allows users to view the animated score while listening to the recording of Zeitgeist’s performance. MKHP is from a collaboration with Pat O’Keefe begun in 2018 but only fully realized in 2021. MKHP also has a corresponding smartphone app, but one that generates an audio-reactive AR sculpture.

More details about the works and artists on this album, the Coincident project, and related AR apps can be found at scottlmiller.net/projects/coincident, zeitgeistnewmusic.org, and noexitnewmusic.com.

– Scott L. Miller

This album was made possible in part with support from a St. Cloud State University Mid-Career Grant. MKHP supported in part by the American Composers Forum through the 2018 McKnight Composer Fellowship Program. hARvest was created with support from a St. Cloud State University Research Grant

Tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 © Scott L. Miller (BMI)

Track 1 © Scott L. Miller and Joseph Horton (BMI)

Track 6 © Pat O’Keefe and Scott L. Miller

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Scott L. Miller

Art and design by Scott L. Miller

hARvest ios App: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/harvest-for-barringer-farm/id1636144492

MKHP iOs app: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/mkhp/id1573457307

hARvest app Google Play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.scottlmiller.zscore

 

Zeitgeist

Lauded for providing “a once-in-a-lifetime experience for adventurous concertgoers”, ZEITGEIST is a new music chamber ensemble comprised of two percussion, piano and woodwinds. Always eager to explore new artistic frontiers, Zeitgeist collaborates with composers of all types to create imaginative new work that challenges the boundaries of traditional chamber music. The members of Zeitgeist are: Heather Barringer, percussion; Patti Cudd, percussion; Pat O’Keefe, woodwinds; Nicola Melville, piano.

Scott L. Miller

Scott L. Miller (1966) is an American composer, best known for his electroacoustic chamber music and ecosystemic performance pieces. Inspired by the inner-workings of sound and the microscopic in the natural and mechanical worlds, his music is the product of hands-on experimentation and collaboration with musicians and performers from across the spectrum of styles. Three time McKnight Composer Fellow, recordings of his music are available on New Focus Recordings, Innova, and other labels, many featuring his long-time collaborators, the new music ensemble Zeitgeist (whose albums he produces). His music is published by the American Composers Alliance, Tetractys, and Jeanné. He is a Professor of Music at St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, where he teaches composition, electroacoustic music and theory. He is Past-President (2014-18) of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the U.S. (SEAMUS) and presently Director of SEAMUS Records.

http://www.scottlmiller.net/

Related Albums