Steve Escoffery | Transcendental Object

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Avant Garde: Computer Music Classical: Contemporary Moods: Type: Experimental
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Transcendental Object

by Steve Escoffery

A computer music piece, heavily influenced by Xenakis, which uses generative systems and is written with object-oriented computer programming.
Genre: Avant Garde: Computer Music
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1. Transcendental Object
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Album Notes
Transcendental Object (2014) is a piece of computer music written while I was studying at the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) at University of Washington in Seattle.

The piece is written with object-oriented computer programming—the SuperCollider programming language/environment.

Here are some excerpts from the release's digital booklet:


Xenakis was my primary influence. I was moved by Xenakis’s article, “Determinacy and indeterminacy” (1996), in which he describes techniques at play in his piece, Jonchaies (1977). In that piece, Xenakis creates patterns too complex for the human brain to follow.

I combined this with an idea from Stockhausen’s article, “The Concept of Unity in Electronic Music” (1962), in which he describes a long-term goal: to have one element create every aspect of a piece of music.

I decided this combination of ideas was an interesting starting place (and that computer programming would be ideal for creating and applying these complex patterns).

Philosophical Foundation

The title, Transcendental Object, refers to an idea of Immanuel Kant that has moved me for about the past 10 years (and which, intriguingly, relates to Xenakis’s idea of creating patterns which are too complex for the human brain to follow). Kant’s idea (the transcendental object) is that of the fundamental nature of reality being beyond the ability of the brain, or the senses, to detect/understand—that everything our senses can detect is a simplified representation of what’s really there.

This level of thought and wonder/awe about the nature of reality and existence greatly interests me. Art seems to have a unique power to be descriptive of this level of nature/the world/living beings that’s beyond our ability to fully know.

Grappling with, and hopefully “tapping into,” this mystery is something I’m attempting to accomplish with this piece.

It seems like a bit of a looming elephant in the room (and hopefully not too clichéd) that we experience ourselves as being here, but none of us knows why or how; what here is, who we are, etc. So, I’m trying to represent that which is beyond our capacity to know—using computer programming to create patterns which are too complex for our brains to follow.


Transcendental Object
Steve Escoffery (ASCAP)

Produced and Mixed by Josh Parmenter, Hector Bravo Benard, and Steve Escoffery

Recorded in Seattle in 2013 and 2014

Artwork and Digital Booklet Design by Laurie Griffin

Special thanks to Ilya Levinson, Richard Karpen, Juan Pampin, Marcin Pączkowski, Stelios Manousakis, Scott McCaughey, Wesley Stace, Kurt Bloch, and my family

℗ & © 2014, 2015 Steve Escoffery. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.



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