Difference Patterns [2023]

Difference Patterns is the first in a series of compositional studies that explore the creative use and misuse of a circuit-bent portable CD player when paired with viola. Difference Patterns #1 features a musical fragment, first played by the viola, which forms the structure and musical material for the work. Whilst the viola is played live with reverb the CD contains a recording of this same musical fragment without reverb. The data and address pins of the CD player’s RAM chip, which is associated with the electronic shock/skip protection, have been wired to headers allowing short circuits to be created by patching them directly to each other or to momentary switches. During the performance the CD player is ‘played’ by way of foot switches or tactile switches and, by activating a series of patches, the ordinarily linear playback of recorded audio is subverted resulting in the discman stuttering, producing rhythmic superimpositions, clicks, pops, and glitches. These usually undesirable sonic artefacts are celebrated, influencing the performance and forming a recursive process that shapes the structure and direction of the performance.