Both Brazelton and Naphtali have spent time in the world
of computer music composition. Naphtali is a computer systems designer
as well as an audio engineer while Brazelton has worked in rock recording
studios all her life and enjoys a relaxed relationship with music-making
When she approached Naphtali to start BAT?, Brazelton had been searching
for several years for a way to bring the intimacy and detail of the computer
music creation process to life for live audiences.
In WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A BAT? Brazelton collaborated with Naphtali on
what they decided to call "movable tectonic plates" of pre-existing sound.
In other words, soundtracks on DAT and CD start and stop determined by
the motion and phrasing of the live performance---they never govern, but
are governed by, events. You can hear this best, perhaps, in the Trance
section of "...Sermonette..." excerpts of which you can find on the sonar
end] . Or to see it conceptually, please go to the score of "..Sermonette..."
starting at [Trance
p. 1] and moving onward.
Meanwhile, Dafna Naphtali had been developing the real-time application
of the computer and in the mid-90s wrote a Masters thesis for New York
University on the subject. Her focus was on the potential for stand-alone
musical expression by an ambience-processing unit called the Eventide
through complex micro-programming with Max/MSP software. Naphtali continues
her Eventide-Max/MSP work with many musicians around New York City including
the pianist Kathleen Supové and her husband, endangered-guitarist
Hans Tammen, as well as with her own improv ensemble CoLLiSioN.
BAT? she took on the challenge of composing specifically for her combined
"axe" (Max/MSP and the Eventide)---creating reproducible, repeatable events
that could participate in the expressive specificity of a composed work.
An impressive example is the "ha!" which you can hear alone in excerpt:
; or entering with drums in the last few seconds of [Batch
7-8]. You may see how it has evolved into a compositional element
in the score [Batch 4].
Above you may click to see six screens of a sample Max/MSP patch by Naphtali.
You can also look into some of the behind-the-scenes preparations made
by Brazelton for her soundtracks in the CSound score for a section of
"5 dreams; marriage" (click on the link above).
The last and simplest use of computer technology in WHAT IS IT LIKE TO
BE A BAT? is the Akai sampler which Brazelton uses to incorporated short
pre-recorded sounds. The sampler is triggered by a keyboard which Kitty
Brazelton and Danny Tunick share. Tunick plays the sampled voices (of
the group itself) which combine with Dafna and Kitty's live sopranos to
create an eight-part madrigal in Batch 3 of "...Sermonette...".
3 as sound] [Batch
3 in score]. Add to this the granular-synthesized background hum
which comes up beneath the madrigal triggered by Tunick and spreads the
context in which you're hearing the singing, and you get---what?--- polyphony?--noise?---broad
For the answer to that question, please read John Cage's ideas on the
subject in [why.html],
if you haven't already... (Did he predict WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A BAT?)